Azure pricing structures

I'm trying to make sense of the Microsoft Azure pricing structures (from the https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/ website) which says that the App Service starts from $0.013/hour, the Virtual Machines from $0.011/hour, and SQL Database from $0.021/hour) (see the screenshot below).

What do these prices mean?

Also, what does "Free for the first 12 months" mean?

Azure pricing
IT GuyNetwork EngineerAsked:
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Ares KurkluSoftware EngineerCommented:
Hi,
In Azure you can just pay depending on the usage. For e.g. we have a virtual machine which we can deallocate the resource if we don't need it then re-allocate the resource and start using the virtual machine for a few hours and we just pay depending on usage.
They are all hourly pricing for all different resources.
It may be tricky to estimate the pricing depending on what you are exactly after.

They used to give free credits before I guess now they offer free usage for 12 months now?
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IT GuyNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Is there anyone who can give me a more detailed exclamation?
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
That is confusing!  

I use this page to help calculate reality https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/  Make sure to change the pricing from per hour to per month. In the case of a VM https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/#virtual-machines34 make sure to check the help files to learn about the difference in the types of instances.  

When you compare the monthly for something that you need to run continually as in the case of a web or mobile app, I think you will find it will be about the same as if you had a smaller dedicated server.  If your userbase is limited, there may be some advantages of using a dedicated box but if you are creating something that you need to scale or want all the potential features of Azure, then it does make sense. I do think this is where hosting will be going.
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IT GuyNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
What exactly does "Free for the first 12 months" mean?
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Ares KurkluSoftware EngineerCommented:
It means you don't have to pay as long as you are within the limits such as usage 200 hours etc. , as i mentioned before they give free credits that you can spend,  but again once you are over the limit they may start charging you. You can use that 200 hours within 12 months without getting charged. Again it depends on what you are using with disk space they may give you 1TB for 12 months as long as you don't fill up all the space for the first 12 months you may not have to pay anything.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/free-account-faq/
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IT GuyNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Does anyone else have any further explanations about how to decipher the Azure pricing structures?
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Did you try the calculator I pointed to?  That helped me immensely to get a handle on comparing to what I am already doing.  You may be used to paying a flat fee per month. What Azure does (as well as other cloud solutions) is allow you to spin up a virtual machine for part of a day, part of a month or full time for as long as you need.  If you are trying to compare to a dedicated service or traditional hosting vendor, it will be easier to use the per month pricing instead of the per hour.

Ares Kurklu did a good job pointing out what "free" is referring to.
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