Introduction to FreeBSD on Azure

Applies to: ✔️ Linux VMs ✔️ Flexible scale sets

This article provides an overview of running a FreeBSD virtual machine in Azure.


FreeBSD for Microsoft Azure is an advanced computer operating system used to power modern servers, desktops, and embedded platforms.

Microsoft Corporation is making images of FreeBSD available on Azure with the Azure VM Guest Agent pre-configured. Currently, the following FreeBSD versions are offered as images by Microsoft:

  • FreeBSD 10.4 on the Azure Marketplace
  • FreeBSD 11.2 on the Azure Marketplace
  • FreeBSD 11.3 on the Azure Marketplace
  • FreeBSD 12.0 on the Azure Marketplace

The following FreeBSD versions also include the Azure VM Guest Agent, however, they are offered as images by the FreeBSD Foundation:

  • FreeBSD 11.4 on the Azure Marketplace
  • FreeBSD 12.2 on the Azure Marketplace
  • FreeBSD 13.0 on the Azure Marketplace

The agent is responsible for communication between the FreeBSD VM and the Azure fabric for operations such as provisioning the VM on first use (user name, password or SSH key, host name, etc.) and enabling functionality for selective VM extensions.

As for future versions of FreeBSD, the strategy is to stay current and make the latest releases available shortly after they are published by the FreeBSD release engineering team.

Create a FreeBSD VM through Azure CLI on FreeBSD

First you need to install Azure CLI though following command on a FreeBSD machine.

curl -L | bash

If bash is not installed on your FreeBSD machine, run following command before the installation. 

sudo pkg install bash

If Python is not installed on your FreeBSD machine, run following commands before the installation. 

sudo pkg install python38
cd /usr/local/bin 
sudo rm /usr/local/bin/python 
sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/python3.8 /usr/local/bin/python

During the installation, you are asked Modify profile to update your $PATH and enable shell/tab completion now? (Y/n). If you answer y and enter /etc/rc.conf as a path to an rc file to update, you may meet the problem ERROR: [Errno 13] Permission denied. To resolve this problem, you should grant the write right to current user against the file etc/rc.conf.

Now you can sign in to Azure and create your FreeBSD VM. Below is an example to create a FreeBSD 11.0 VM. You can also add the parameter --public-ip-address-dns-name with a globally unique DNS name for a newly created Public IP.

az login 
az group create --name myResourceGroup --location eastus
az vm create --name myFreeBSD11 \
    --resource-group myResourceGroup \
    --image MicrosoftOSTC:FreeBSD:11.0:latest \
    --admin-username azureuser \

Then you can sign in to your FreeBSD VM through the ip address that printed in the output of above deployment.

ssh azureuser@xx.xx.xx.xx -i /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key

VM extensions for FreeBSD

Following are supported VM extensions in FreeBSD.


The VMAccess extension can:

  • Reset the password of the original sudo user.
  • Create a new sudo user with the password specified.
  • Set the public host key with the key given.
  • Reset the public host key provided during VM provisioning if the host key is not provided.
  • Open the SSH port (22) and restore the sshd_config if reset_ssh is set to true.
  • Remove the existing user.
  • Check disks.
  • Repair an added disk.


The CustomScript extension can:

  • If provided, download the customized scripts from Azure Storage or external public storage (for example, GitHub).
  • Run the entry point script.
  • Support inline commands.
  • Convert Windows-style newline in shell and Python scripts automatically.
  • Remove BOM in shell and Python scripts automatically.
  • Protect sensitive data in CommandToExecute.


FreeBSD VM only supports CustomScript version 1.x by now.

Authentication: user names, passwords, and SSH keys

When you're creating a FreeBSD virtual machine by using the Azure portal, you must provide a user name, password, or SSH public key. User names for deploying a FreeBSD virtual machine on Azure must not match names of system accounts (UID <100) already present in the virtual machine ("root", for example). Currently, only the RSA SSH key is supported. A multiline SSH key must begin with ---- BEGIN SSH2 PUBLIC KEY ---- and end with ---- END SSH2 PUBLIC KEY ----.

Obtaining superuser privileges

The user account that is specified during virtual machine instance deployment on Azure is a privileged account. The package of sudo was installed in the published FreeBSD image. After you're logged in through this user account, you can run commands as root by using the command syntax.

$ sudo <COMMAND>

You can optionally obtain a root shell by using sudo -s.

Known issues

The Azure VM Guest Agent version 2.2.2 has a known issue that causes the provision failure for FreeBSD VM on Azure. The fix was captured by Azure VM Guest Agent version 2.2.3 and later releases.

Next steps