How To Use Azure For Free

Azure for Free

Azure has been in the market for a long time. After Gartner placed Microsoft as a leader in the Magic Quadrant consecutively for three years, it's sure that Microsoft will lead the future market of Cloud. The services and features provided by Azure are consistently getting better and better. But, Azure is not free. All the services and features come at a cost. However, there are many programs which let you use Azure for free. There are multiple free offers from Azure, including trials, Azure passes, Azure for academic organizations, Azure for research and Azure for startups. If you submit the necessary documents and go through the proper process, you can learn developing and deploying on Azure for free. 

So, let’s look at some free offers from Azure.

Azure for Students

Students can get a certain feature from Azure if they have a DreamSpark Account. A DreamSpark account is given to the students who can verify themselves as student. You can verify yourself by fulfilling one of the below mentioned criteria.

  • Verify your school email address (domain)
  • Use your school network credentials
  • With a verification code  - You may have received an Activation Code from a Microsoft representative or from your institution's administrator. If so, please select "I have an Activation Code" during verification.
  • With an ISIC card (International Student ID Card) 
  • Send your scanned documents. 


A verification code can be received from a Microsoft Representative or from your school. The best option, that works for all, is submitting your scanned identity card as the proof of student.

DreamSpark is not just about Azure. From DreamSpark, you can get access to Visual Studio, SQL Server, R server, Plural Sight and Microsoft Virtual Academy, as well. And, not miss an Azure Subscription. This Azure Subscription has limited  features as compared to other subscriptions.

Since the offering from DreamSpark keeps changing, please refer to their website for more updated information. The link for DreamSpark is

Azure for Trial

If you just want to test run  Azure, then you can try Trial Azure Subscription. This subscription is free and offers $200 worth of credit in your account. You can use that in the following resources.

  • Provision up to 14 virtual machines, 40 SQL databases, or 8 TBs of storage for a month
  • Build web, mobile, and API apps that use Redis Cache, Search, or Content Delivery Network
  • Harness big data with Machine Learning, Streaming Analytics, and Hadoop
  • Create real-time Internet of Things (IoT) apps with monitoring and anomaly-detection


You will, however, need a credit card to verify your subscription. Your credit card will not be charged for anything unless you remove the credit limit.

But, not everyone can use a credit card for verification. They can use a free Azure pass. You can register for a trial account from the following URL:

Azure Pass

An Azure Pass is issued by Microsoft that holds a certain amount of credits  depending upon the issuer. The credits can be in various resources in Azure. To get an Azure Pass, you need to contact a Microsoft representative close to you.

After you get an Azure Pass, go to this URL to activate it.

Azure for Startups

Microsoft supports startup ecosystes. Microsoft offers credits worth $120,000 for startups that comply to the BizSpark criteria. Your startup qualifies only if it is less than 5 years old, is privately held, and earns less than $1 million annually. And, at the end of your three years, you keep all the software you've downloaded – at no cost. You can get up to $750 per month of FREE Azure Cloud Services for three years; that's $150 per month for up to 5 developers.


And again, BizSpark is not just about Azure. It also offers various software licenses that you can use in production environment. Please check their website for more updated and authenticated information.

You can apply for BizSpark using Your request has to be approved by Microsoft representative on the other end. So, make sure that your startup story is worth approving.

Azure from MSDN

MSDN subscription holds licenses, software, and keys of various applications from Microsoft. The level of access of software, licenses, and keys depends upon the level of subscription you hold. Normally, you are supposed to buy MSDN subscription but there are various programs like MSP, MVP, Microsoft Partner Network etc. from where you can get MSDN, from which you can access your free Azure Subscription. Just talk to a Microsoft representative close to you who will have more idea on this.

Azure for Researches

Microsoft offers free Azure subscriptions for researchers. They need to submit a research proposal to Microsoft which gets evaluated every two months. If approved, you can get access to the credit-less and unlimited access to Azure.

Faculty, researchers, and graduate students are qualified to submit proposals for Azure awards for research projects. Masters and undergraduate students require a faculty project supervisor to submit their proposal. The Azure for Education program provides free Cloud Computing for teaching classes of students.

Azure for Academia

The Educator Grant
is a program designed specifically for providing access to Microsoft Azure to college and university professors who are teaching advanced courses. As part of the program, faculty teaching Azure in their curricula are awarded subscriptions to support their course. From Azure for academia, faculty can generate Azure Subscriptions and distribut them to their classes. Faculties also get a year of subscription.


It looks like they are not accepting Azure for academia requests, currently. You need to watch this space regularly to be able to apply when they are accepting again.


The offers, mentioned here, are only for information. Please refer to the Microsoft websites for authorized information, as the offers keep changing, expiring, and new offers are being introduced.

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