Deploying a static website to Azure Storage from AppVeyor

How to deploy a static website to an Azure Storage container from AppVeyor CI.

30 June 2018 by Martin Costello |
30 June 2018 by Martin Costello

This week the Azure storage team finally announced that Azure Storage now support hosting static websites. This has been a long-standing request from users of Azure (for nearly 4 years), so it's great to see something now available for use, even if at the time of writing it's currently only in public preview.

I've been hosting this blog in AWS for almost a year now, so I thought I'd give the public preview a try and automate deployment with AppVeyor as well at the same time.

Part of the primary reason this blog is hosted in AWS is because it wasn't possible to host the static site in Azure, which is my preferred cloud hosting provider for most of my infrastructure. But as that wasn't possible I went with S3 for content and AWS Lambda@Edge to handle IIS-style folders and custom HTTP response headers. You can read more about that in this blog post:

I've used AppVeyor to deploy content to Azure storage before as it's used to host my CDN where I store images and other content that this blog and some of my other sites use to reduce duplication, so I thought I'd use that as a starting point for the implementation.

All-in it actually only took about 45 minutes to setup and configure, so it's surprisingly easy to start using. I just followed the Getting Started instructions in the announcement blog post and then opened a Pull Request on my blog repo in GitHub to test it out.

The approximate steps to enable Azure static website hosting for this blog were:

  1. Create a new Azure Storage General Purpose v2 storage account.
  2. Enable Static website to create the special $web container.
  3. Set the file names to use as the index and error pages.
  4. Enable the GitHub repo for AppVeyor CI.
  5. Add an appveyor.yml file to build the static site and upload the files to it.

Here's the first AppVeyor build from my deploy branch to upload the content from earlier today.

There's plenty of extra stuff I'd need to do to migrate back from AWS to Azure once this comes out of public preview if I choose to move, but it's nice to see that the mechanics of uploading content are easy to get moving with. These extras include:

With that all set up, here's this blog post served from Azure storage:

Relatively painless and quick to turn around, this looks like a feature that will be useful for those with a strong preference for Windows Azure to keep their different types of infrastructure co-located (and leverage their Azure MSDN credits too).

Happy coding!