Microsoft Azure Websites and ClearDB’s free MySQL database

A few weeks ago I used Microsoft Live Writer to create and post a blog article.  When I posted it to Catapult’s blog it worked.  When I posted it to my personal blog it failed.  I won’t discuss Catapult’s setup but my personal blog is WordPress running on Azure websites with ClearDB’s free MySQL database.  When I tried to post it to my personal blog I ended up getting some 500 error or something like that in Live Writer and it wouldn’t post.  When you’re in technology one question you always have to ask yourself is what changed between when something was working and when it stopped working.  That was pretty simple in this case.  My workstation crashed and I had to reload the operating system, software, and re-configure Live Writer on the new machine.  I was pretty sure that was the problem but I blew it off at the time since I had more important things to work on.  Today while trying to edit text in a WordPress tile it kept resorting back to what it originally was before I hit the update button.  That’s when I knew there was a problem bigger than an incorrect setting in Live Writer.  First I couldn’t post anything and now I can’t change a single word in a tile.  Now I was forced to troubleshoot my personal website.

I logged into my Azure account and clicked link to take me to my ClearDB account.  It turns out my free MySQL database was over the free 20MB limit.  Azure doesn’t tell you this but you’ll see it on your ClearDB page.  When you’re over your limit the database goes into a read only mode and nothing can write to it.  This explains the vague error when posting a new blog article and also why I couldn’t make any changes to the website from the WordPress admin site today.  It also explained why I couldn’t delete spam comments in the WordPress admin site today.  I’d hit delete and they’d come right back! 

Using guidance from the websites below I tried to clean it up through the MySQL workbench but it still didn’t take me below the 20MB limit.  I ended up having to upgrade my account from the free version to a paid version adding $10 a month to my budget for a 1GB database. 

I’m a little upset that I now have to spend more money on a DB for my website but overall the Azure website has been flawless.  I’ve never seen it offline unlike where I had my website hosted in the past.  Going from 20MB to 1GB hopefully I’ll never hit THAT database limit.

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