I have used Azure for past year, mainly to manage VMs for my employer but I never set up my own account. This was mainly because I did not want to lose the $200 first month trial offer. However, I am now spending the time to learn new things and that began with opening an Azure account.
Starting an Azure account can be a very confusing experience. This can be said for many of Microsoft Cloud services and programs (I am glaring at you Microsoft Partner program! more on that in a different blog…). The confusion all begins with an account to login. In Microsoft’s world, there are 2 types of accounts: Personal and Work or School (think of it as organization account). If you have one of these you can begin to create an Azure account (yup another account but to login to this account, you use the associated Personal or Organization account). How are they completely separate you may ask? You see, my personal Microsoft account, which is well established as a long term O365 Home user, is based in US, but as you see below, MS Azure does not recognize your account history (even billing) and my Azure account ended up in Vietnam… for life….(so sad)
Before you begin the process, it should be known that you will be required to have a credit card as part of the registration process for Azure, even if you plan to only use their 200$ trial option. This is where I made the mistake and did not have it (think of storing your credit card in ice at home).
When you register a new Azure account (begin here) it will begin with asking what account you would like to login (here is MS fancy new sign-in experience)
If you are familiar with MS sign-in, after you enter the email, if more than one account relates to the email, it will ask which account you want to use (Personal or Work and School). After successful sign-in, and you have not signed up for an Azure account previously, your registration experience will differ based on the account used. This step is important because it will determine what country your account will be associated with and in turn what region your Azure subscription will run in. For example, if your account is registered in Vietnam, your Azure subscriptions will be hosted in likely India but if you associate your account with the United States, your subscriptions will be hosted in America. This is for life of your account and cannot be changed (appears no plans either per discussion with MS support).
Case 1: Work or School Account
A Work or School account is typically issued by organizations that have an Azure Active Directory Service subscription, the simplest case is organizations that use O365 for email management but there are many other cases as well which an AADS can be invoked within an organization. In this case, the location of the Azure Subscription which your work email is associated with defines what country you are in automatically. As a result, you cannot specify what country you want your subscription to reside.
In this case you jump right to step 2 (to be shared below)
Case 2: Personal Account
Unlike case above with Work or School account, with personal account you can enter your country as shown below. By default, country is set to the country you are in based on IP detection:
Here is where there is, what I feel, a bug. In my original sign-up for an Azure account, I did not have my Credit Card (on ice, remember?). I distinctly remember selecting US and clicked next but that was when I remember I did not have CC with me so I closed the window.
Coming back on a later date, I found out the system would no longer present me step 1, just jump to step 2 (verify identify by phone). I could no longer say I am in US. When I moved to verification by card, it would not let me enter a US address as my account is fixed to Vietnam and no option to change it (even though I did not finish the full registration process).
I then contacted support and after discussion with 2 support members (my case was escalated to account services) I was told the sad news… my long-held MS Personal account is now locked to Vietnam for life! Noooooo 😦
The only option is to create another personal account and make sure I select United States This I did (reluctantly) and set my contact email to my original personal email account for improved monitoring. i was then able to successfully create a Azure account.
This, however, was not the only hurdle I had. Right after successful created an account and attempted to create the free subscription, I got stopped again as my account was flagged for possible fraud. I had to send several details to MS to get my account reviewed and unlocked, which questions included:
- Full name:
- Your role with the company:
- Email address:
- phone number:
- Company or Individual:
- Company/Account name:
- Company website/URL:
- Detailed description of how Azure is being used:
- Name on Credit Card:
- Billing Address:
- Last 4 digits of Credit Card:
- Credit Card Bank Name:
Then wait 24 hours. Then got word my account was marked as active again… wohoo! I successfully created the subscription for a whole 2 days before, surprise surprise, my account was flagged again (I did not even get a chance to use my fancy 200$ subscription yet as I was too busy with work).
Again, I had to send answers to the questions above and wait 24 hours for my account to open again. MS could not tell me why I was so special with 2 account flags but it is what it is and I now have successful account and subscirption with Azure.
Have you experience similar behavior in your sign-up exprience?