Windows Azure Web Sites – Using WebDeploy without the New Tools

With the new Windows Azure Web Sites it is very easily to use your favorite deployment tool/technology to deploy the web solution to Windows Azure.  You can choose from continuous delivery with Git or TFS, or use tools like FTP or WebDeploy.

As long as you have at least the June 2012 Windows Azure tools update for Visual Studio 2010 (or 2012), using WebDeploy to deploy a Windows Azure Web Site is really easy.  Simply import the .publishsettings file, Visual Studio reads the pertinent data and populates the WebDeploy wizard.   If you’re not familiar with this process, please have a look at as the process is explained very well there, and even has nice pictures.

But what if you don’t have the latest tools update?  Or, what if you don’t have any Windows Azure tools installed?  After all, why should you have to install Windows Azure tools to use WebDeploy?

You can surely use WebDeploy to deploy a web app to Windows Azure Web Sites – you just have to do a little more manual configuration.  You do what Visual Studio does for you as part of the latest Windows Azure tools update.

How to Deploy via WebDeploy without the Windows Azure Tools

  1. Download the .publishsettings file for the target Windows Azure Web Site.
  2. Launch the WebDeploy wizard in Visual Studio.
  3. Open the .publishsettings file in Notepad or your favorite text editor.  You’ll need to copy a few settings out of this .publishsettings file and paste them into the WebDeploy wizard.
        1. publishUrl
        2. msdeploySite
        3. userName
        4. userPWD


  4. Back in WebDeploy, update the following settings:
WebDeploy .publishsettings file
Service URL publishUrl (append MsDeploy.axd to the URL)
Site/application msdeploySite
User name userName
Password userPWD

In the end, your WebDeploy wizard dialog should look like the following:


Hit the “Publish” button and WebDeploy should quickly publish to Windows Azure Web Sites.

To get started with Windows Azure Web Sites, if you don’t already have Windows Azure, sign up for a FREE Windows Azure 90-day trial account.  To start using Windows Azure Web Sites, request access on the ‘Preview Features’ page under the ‘account’ tab, after you log into your Windows Azure account.