Quickstart: Create a Linux virtual machine with the Azure CLI

Applies to: ✔️ Linux VMs

This quickstart shows you how to use the Azure CLI to deploy a Linux virtual machine (VM) in Azure. The Azure CLI is used to create and manage Azure resources via either the command line or scripts.

In this tutorial, we will be installing the latest Debian image. To show the VM in action, you'll connect to it using SSH and install the NGINX web server.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

Launch Azure Cloud Shell

The Azure Cloud Shell is a free interactive shell that you can use to run the steps in this article. It has common Azure tools preinstalled and configured to use with your account.

To open the Cloud Shell, just select Try it from the upper right corner of a code block. You can also open Cloud Shell in a separate browser tab by going to https://shell.azure.com/bash. Select Copy to copy the blocks of code, paste it into the Cloud Shell, and select Enter to run it.

If you prefer to install and use the CLI locally, this quickstart requires Azure CLI version 2.0.30 or later. Run az --version to find the version. If you need to install or upgrade, see Install Azure CLI.

Create a resource group

Create a resource group with the az group create command. An Azure resource group is a logical container into which Azure resources are deployed and managed. The following example creates a resource group named myResourceGroup in the eastus location:

az group create --name myResourceGroup --location eastus

Create virtual machine

Create a VM with the az vm create command.

The following example creates a VM named myVM and adds a user account named azureuser. The --generate-ssh-keys parameter is used to automatically generate an SSH key, and put it in the default key location (~/.ssh). To use a specific set of keys instead, use the --ssh-key-values option.

az vm create \
  --resource-group myResourceGroup \
  --name myVM \
  --image Debian \
  --admin-username azureuser \

It takes a few minutes to create the VM and supporting resources. The following example output shows the VM create operation was successful.

  "fqdns": "",
  "id": "/subscriptions/<guid>/resourceGroups/myResourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/myVM",
  "location": "eastus",
  "macAddress": "00-0D-3A-23-9A-49",
  "powerState": "VM running",
  "privateIpAddress": "",
  "publicIpAddress": "",
  "resourceGroup": "myResourceGroup"

Make a note of the publicIpAddress to use later.

Install web server

To see your VM in action, install the NGINX web server. Update your package sources and then install the latest NGINX package.

az vm run-command invoke \
   -g myResourceGroup \
   -n myVM \
   --command-id RunShellScript \
   --scripts "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y nginx"

Open port 80 for web traffic

By default, only SSH connections are opened when you create a Linux VM in Azure. Use az vm open-port to open TCP port 80 for use with the NGINX web server:

az vm open-port --port 80 --resource-group myResourceGroup --name myVM

View the web server in action

Use a web browser of your choice to view the default NGINX welcome page. Use the public IP address of your VM as the web address. The following example shows the default NGINX web site:

Screenshot showing the N G I N X default web page.

Clean up resources

When no longer needed, you can use the az group delete command to remove the resource group, VM, and all related resources.

az group delete --name myResourceGroup

Next steps

In this quickstart, you deployed a simple virtual machine, opened a network port for web traffic, and installed a basic web server. To learn more about Azure virtual machines, continue to the tutorial for Linux VMs.