Why can’t I publish my web site to Windows Azure Web Sites

There are numerous ways to publish your web sites to a Windows Azure Web App.  Click on one of your Windows Azure Web App and on the Quick Start page you see a link called ‘Set up deployment from source control’, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1, Set up deployment from source control in Windows Azure Web Site

Clicking on that link will provide a list of current possible source control repositories, as shown in Figure 2.  You can also use a tool like FileZilla to publish your web site directly using FTP.

Figure 2, Source code repository Windows Azure Web Sites options

The current deployment options are included in the following Tabel 1.

Deployment Location


Visual Studio Online

Visual Studio Online provides a complete solution for software management, source control, issue   tracking, build and test automation, and more.

Local Git Repository

Do you already have a Git repository on your local computer? Simply publish your local Git   repository to a remote repository in Windows Azure, an your site will go  live quickly and automatically.


GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.


Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, documents, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Use Windows Azure to quickly synchronize and deploy your code from your Dropbox folder.


Bitbucket is a hosting site for the Git and Mercurial distributed version control systems. Bitbucket includes an issue tracker, a wiki, and integration with popular  services such as Basecamp, Flowdock, and Twitter.


CodePlex is Microsoft’s open source project hosting web site. You can create public projects for free, sharing your code with the world.

External Repository

Type the URL of any public external repository to automatically deploy from that location. Both Git and Mercurial repositories are supported.

Table 1, Windows Azure Web Site Deployment Options

There are many options as you can see each of which have their own level of complexity and troubleshooting tools and techniques.  If you encounter errors while publishing from any of these, here are a few tips on what I look at when working with customer on deployment issues.

Using the Kudu Service

You can access some deployment details by entering https://standard.scm.azurewebsites.net (where standard is the name of your Windows Azure Web App).  Using your Deployment credentials to login, you can click on the Deployments links, as shown in Figure 3, to download a JSON file containing your deployment logs.  If the issue is happening on the Windows Azure Web Site side, then the error is likely logged here which might lead you to a solution.  If there is no logged error, then the issue may be happening before the request reaches the Windows Azure platform.  In this case you want to focus you effort on the deployment platform.

Figure 3, Viewing Windows Azure Web Site deployment logs using Kudu

Using WebDeploy to test connectivity and publishing

If the deployment option you chose is not working and you might want to try using WebDeploy just as a quick check to see if this method is working.  You will first need to download you publish profile from the DASHBOARD page, for the given web site within the Windows Azure Management console.  Click on the “Download the publish profile” link, as shown in Figure 4 and open the file.

NOTE: For this example, I installed Web Deploy 3.5 from the IIS Management Console using the Web Platform Installer.

Figure 4, Download the Windows Azure Web Site publish profile

When the file is opened you will see something similar to that in Figure 5.  The publishUrl, userName and userPWD are the attributes you need for the Web Deploy command.

Figure 4, Web Deploy values from the Windows Azure Web Site publish profile

Enter the Web Deploy command, shown below and in Figure 5, from an IIS Server where the website is hosted.

C:\>msdeploy –verb:dump –source:iisapp=standard,computername=https://publishUrl:443/msdeploy.axd?site=standard,username=userName,password=userPWD,authtype=basic –alloweuntrusted –debug -verbose

Figure 5, Web Deploy command for testing deployment functionality

If the command returns without an error you can be confident that a deployment using Web Deploy is available and working.  With this information you can refocus your investigation on the deployment platform and not the Windows Azure platform. For more
information about the Web Deploy dump verb, see here.

Using an FTP application

Make sure you can make a connection to your Windows Azure Web App using an FTP tool.  Navigate to the LogFiles directory as shown in Figure 6 and see if there are any deployment folders that contain some deployment logs.  Figure 6 is taken from FileZilla.


Figure 6, Using FileZilla to view any deployment log files

By using these tips you might be able to find some errors that lead you research further.

UPDATE: Here is another nice tool you can use to deploy and test deployments, it is called WSDeploy.



Comments (1)

  1. Mike says:

    As of 2016 this page still pops up first to many who are looking for direct client-to-server, file-based solutions. Yet the only solution it mentions is FTP, which is insecure by design. Are there alternatives, like FTPS or WebDAV/HTTPS?