Moving from Azure WordPress Website to Azure VM

After moving my SharePoint blog site to an Azure WordPress website, I realized that the MySQL database was also in the cloud with ClearDB and was limited to 20MB which doesn’t really give me much space to grow. I thought a good idea would be to just create my Azure VM with a WordPress install and MySQL instance on it and then migrate the site again.

Since my site was now in WordPress, I figured the migration would be easier.  I was able to find a nifty plug-in called “UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore“.  This enables you to just install the plug-in on both the source and target WordPress installs and then just restore everything (Including plug-ins and themes). With a plan in mind I decided to go for broke.

So the journey began and I did the following:

  1. Created an Azure VM (using the Server 2012 R2 template).
    • Added Application Server Role with IIS
    • Installed Web Platform Installer then added MySQL and WordPress
    • Put and entries to in the hosts file
    • Launched WordPress with the default install using my same URL as a host header
    • Installed UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore plug-in
  2. Backed up my original WordPress site running on Azure
    • Installed UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore plug-in
    • Ran a backup and downloaded all files (Database, Plugins, Themes, Uploads, Others)
    • Copied .zip and .gz backup files to the new Azure VM
  3. Restored back-up files on new Azure VM instance
    • Uploaded backup files within the UpdraftPlus plug-in by dragging and dropping them in.
    • Performed a ‘Restore’
    • Logged back-in with user credentials from the original WordPress site.
  4. Verified site functions locally
  5. Updated DNS with my ISP to point to the public IP address for my Azure VM

I realized that the cost of running the Azure Website was $.01/hr more than the cost of running the Azure VM (for a comparable size).  I know this new setup is going to be more of a maintenance overhead for me, but it will give me an excuse to keep up to date with everything and also be able to RDP into the server.

New Year -> New Blog -> From Office 365 to an Azure WordPress site

If the new year is meant to bring renewal in all things, then my blog will be first (or possibly third, considering I didn’t get to it until the 3rd of the month) on the list of renewed life and expectations.

I had been playing around with different aspects of Azure websites and ran across the Azure WordPress template.  Although I spun it up over a year ago, life (2nd child, moving residences and work responsibility) intervened and I was unable to get my blog kicked off as I had hoped. Enter 2015!

Although I have not been a prolific blogger by any stretch of the imagination, I had some posts within my SharePoint Office 365 website and didn’t want to just start over.  I came across a recent blog post by René Hézser where he posts about migrating a SharePoint blog to WordPress and provides an entire windows application and source code.  I had to try out the code and see if it could give me the shortcut I was hoping to find.

What I discovered was that his code uses the lists.asmx web service on the SharePoint side and was designed to use credentials for an on-premises SharePoint blog.  With a little bit of fiddling with the code using techniques found on Tomasz Rabiński’s blog, I was able to just swap out the authentication credentials and leave the rest of the code intact.

Steps Taken:

  1. Add reference to Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.RunTime
  2. Modify the Connect() method to use SharePoint online credentials

After this, I was able to just do the migration with the authentication working like a charm.  A nice beginning to a new year!

Making the most of your Migrated Office 365 P1 Public Website

I know this won’t apply to the newly provisioned O365 sites, but for anyone who was lucky enough to have an original O365 P1 site and was upgraded to Wave 15, you are now able to use the new built-in Themes for Anonymous Users!

I have just scratched the surface, but here are the steps required to give your P1 site some great out of the box branding with little effort.

Open your Site Settings

If you have tinkered with your O365 site in the past, you most likely have had to find the site settings page. It is as simple as appending /_layouts/settings.aspx to your site URL. If you want to get there from the UI try the following:

  1. Click on the little gear in the upper right corner of your page and select Site Contents


  2. Look for the ‘Settings’ gear in the middle of the screen next to the recycle bin and click it.

Enable your Publishing Features

  1. Under the ‘Site Collection Administration’ heading, click on Site Collection Features.


  2. Scroll down until you see the Publishing Features -> Activate it

Change the look

You should now be able to change the look of your site and have these changes appear to Anonymous Users

  1. Click on the gear and select ‘Change the look’


  2. Go through the steps to select and apply the look to your site

Navigation is key

So now you can see a sweet built-in theme right? Well what really makes this technique shine is that since you activated the Publishing site collection feature, you now have the enhanced navigation capability available to your theme and any sub-sites you may have.

  1. Get back to your site settings by clicking on the gear > clicking Site contents > clicking settings.
  2. Select ‘Navigation’ under the look and feel header


  3. Choose how you want your Navigation to appear (use some trial and error until you get it right)

All done with time to spare

This quick way to make enhancements to your public web site allows you to use the power of SharePoint in the cloud for a low cost. My site is a living example of a migrated O365 P1 experience. Whatever you do, don’t repoint your DNS to the new SharePoint-public site that you are given. It has greatly reduced functionality the most notable:

  1. No ability to create sub-sites with anonymous access.
  2. No sandbox solution gallery.
  3. No List templates gallery.
  4. The list goes on and on (see image comparison below)

Site Collection Administration features

Migrated O365 public site
New O365 Public site