React is an open source JavaScript library known for its simplicity and incredible performance when creating an interactive user interface. React has gained wide adoption from web developers and reputable companies. While there are other frameworks in the JavaScript ecosystem, React is often the first choice when it comes to user interface and frontend business logic.

In this tutorial, I will guide you on how to automate the deployment of your React web application to an Azure Web App service by setting up a continuous deployment (CD) pipeline on CircleCI. To help facilitate this process, you will use the Azure CLI orb for authentication and to directly deploy your application.

Microsoft Azure Web Apps is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that lets you publish web apps running on multiple frameworks and written in different programming languages. You can then use a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) tool to build, test, and deploy web applications for a faster release cycle, more efficient development, and higher-quality code.


You will need these to get the most from this tutorial:

  • Node.js version 16 or higher installed on your computer
  • A GitHub account
  • A CircleCI account
  • An Azure (pay-as-you-go) account
  • Basic knowledge of building applications with React

Getting started

This tutorial uses a simple React application that will retrieve the list of posts from JSONPlaceholder, a free fake API for testing and prototyping. To begin, you will use Create React App to scaffold a new React application. Issue the command below to do that.

npx create-react-app azure-react-tutorial

When prompted with:

Need to install the following packages:
Ok to proceed? (y)

press Enter.

Once the installation process is completed, move into the new application folder and run the application:

cd azure-react-tutorial

npm run start

Open http://localhost:3000/ in your browser (if it hasn’t opened already) to review your app.

React app homepage

Installing other dependencies

Now, install other dependencies for the application:

  • Axios: This is a promise-based HTTP tool used for sending HTTP Requests to a backend or third-party API.
  • Bootstrap: An open-source CSS framework for building a responsive user interface.

Stop the application from running by pressing Ctrl + C. Run this command:

npm install axios bootstrap

Next, open index.js at the src folder of the application and import Bootstrap:

import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom/client';
import './index.css';
import App from './App';
import reportWebVitals from './reportWebVitals';

import "bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css"; // add this

const root = ReactDOM.createRoot(document.getElementById('root'));
    <App />

// If you want to start measuring performance in your app, pass a function
// to log results (for example: reportWebVitals(console.log))
// or send to an analytics endpoint. Learn more:

Retrieving the posts from JSONPlaceholder

Here you will use Axios to fetch posts from the JSONPlaceHolder API once the application is rendered.

Open App.js and replace its content with:

import axios from "axios";
import React, { useEffect, useState } from "react";
import "./App.css";

function App() {
  const [posts, setPosts] = useState(null);

  useEffect(() => {
      .then((response) => setPosts(;
  }, []);

  return (
    <div className="container">
      <div className="row">
        <div className="col-md-12 text-center" style={{ margin: "50px 0" }}>
            {" "}
            Fake <i>100</i> Posts from JSON Placeholder
      <div className="row">
        {posts &&
 => (
            <div className="card col-md-4">
              <div className="card-body">
                <h5 className="card-title">{post.title}</h5>
                <p className="card-text">{post.body}</p>
export default App;

This snippet sends a GET HTTP request to the API to retrieve the list of posts and render it within the view.

Also, replace App.css content to add some custom styling. Use this code snippet:

.card-title {
  text-transform: capitalize;

.card {
  margin: 10px 0px;

At this point, you can use npm run start to run the application again.

View JSON posts

Creating an Azure web app

In this section, you will create an Azure web app to display your React application. If you do not have one already, create an account. Then go to your Azure portal dashboard.

You’ll need to create a subscription before you can create the app.

Click Subscriptions.

Select Subscriptions

On the next screen, click + Add to select a subscription offer. Then, click Select offer on the card labelled Pay-As-You-Go. This tutorial uses Pay-As-You-Go as the selected subscription offer. The results may vary if another offer is selected. 2022-02-16-subscription-offers

Note: Later on in this tutorial, you will use a FREE pricing plan when creating the resource. You should not incur any costs.

When you click Select Offer, you are redirected to a new browser tab. Agree to the terms and click Next. The second checkbox is optional.


Enter your payment details, click Next, and complete the process,

Create payment method

Or, select an existing payment method.

Select payment method

Click Sign up.

Azure confirms your information and sets up your account. On the next screen, click Microsoft Azure (on the top left) to go back to the home page. There, click Create a resource to create a new service instance.

Create web resource

Next, click Create under Web App from the Popular list.

Select web app You will be redirected to the Create Web App page. Select an Azure subscription and a resource group. Create a new resource group if you have not done that.

Now, enter a friendly, unique name for your web app. For this tutorial, I have used azure-react-tutorial. Fill out the other fields.

Create web app 1/2

Project Details:

  • Subscription: Pay-As-You-Go. Select the subscription you just created.
  • Resource Group: demo. Create a new one, if necessary. You’ll need this Resource Group name value later.

Instance Details:

  • Name: azure-react-tutorial. Choose a unique name for this. You’ll need this Instance name later.
  • Publish: code
  • Runtime stack: Node 18 LTS. Optionally, select Node 16 LTS, if the app you created locally was Node 16.
  • Operating system: Linux (or Windows).
  • Region: East US. I chose the default one. For production, select the one closest to most of your users.

Create web app 2/2

Pricing plans:

  • Linux plan: This will show “Windows Plan”, if you selected Windows. Select the autogenerated one or Create new.
  • Pricing plan: Free F1 (Shared infrastructure). This is available for both Windows and Linux.
  • Zone redundancy: This is applicable for Premium pricing plans only. For production, it’s advisable to have this enabled.

Click Review + create, then Create. Or, click Next: Deployment and the perform the next steps: Networking, Monitoring, Tags, and Review for granular configuration. Wait while Azure sets up the web app environment.

After some time, your web app is ready to host the React.js application. Click Go to resource to view your app. You’ll refer to this page as the Azure app homepage later in this tutorial.

Azure app homepage

Click Browse to review the default homepage.

Web app page

Next you will create a CI/CD pipeline for the app to deploy it to Azure. The first step is to deploy the app from your local machine.

Deploy the React app from your local machine using Azure CLI

In this step, you will:

  • Set up Azure CLI locally
  • Create a servicePrincipal account and get necessary credentials to be used by CircleCI pipeline
  • Deploy to Azure from your local machine

Install Azure CLI and log in

Follow the steps detailed here to install Azure CLI.

Then run:

az login

This command opens a tab on your browser. Select the Microsoft account you used to set up the subscription, then Log in.

Note: If no web browser is available or if the web browser fails to open, use this command: az login --use-device-code .

Azure CLI logged in

The terminal prints a list of JSON objects describing the user account and its subscriptions:

    "cloudName": "AzureCloud",
    "homeTenantId": "...-..-...",
    "id": "...-..-...",
    "isDefault": true,
    "managedByTenants": [],
    "name": "Pay-As-You-Go",
    "state": "Enabled",
    "tenantId": "...-..-...",
    "user": {
      "name": "",
      "type": "user"

Make a note of the id. It’s the same one as the Subscription ID on the Azure App homepage. You’ll need it in the next step.

Create a servicePrincipal account and log in

Run this command:

az ad sp create-for-rbac --role contributor --scopes /subscriptions/<id>

Replace <id> in the command above with the id from the previous section.

The terminal prints a JSON object showing the credentials of the created servicePrincipal account:

  "appId": "...-..-...",
  "displayName": "azure-cli-2023-..-..-..-..-..",
  "password": "...",
  "tenant": "...-..-..."

Don’t include these details in your source control. Take note of them, though. You’ll need them when setting up the CircleCI pipeline.

Though you’re already logged in, you need to log in again as the servicePrincipal account. Run this command to execute the next steps:

az login --service-principal -u <appId> -p <password> --tenant <tenant>

Replace <appId>, <password>, and <tenant> in the command with the appId, password, and tenant from the earlier terminal output (without the quotes).

The terminal prints a list with one JSON object showing the details of servicePrincipal account.

    "cloudName": "AzureCloud",
    "homeTenantId": "...-..-...",
    "id": "...-..-...",
    "isDefault": true,
    "managedByTenants": [],
    "name": "Pay-As-You-Go",
    "state": "Enabled",
    "tenantId": "...-..-...",
    "user": {
      "name": "...-..-...",
      "type": "servicePrincipal"

With that done, you can check the deployment configuration details of the Azure web app you created earlier. Run this command to confirm access:

az webapp deployment source show --resource-group demo --name azure-react-tutorial

Replace demo and azure-react-tutorial with the resource-group and app name you created.

The terminal prints a JSON object depicting the app’s configuration.

  "branch": null,
  "deploymentRollbackEnabled": false,
  "gitHubActionConfiguration": null,
  "id": "/subscriptions/...-..-.../resourceGroups/demo/providers/Microsoft.Web/sites/azure-react-tutorial/sourcecontrols/web",
  "isGitHubAction": false,
  "isManualIntegration": false,
  "isMercurial": false,
  "kind": null,
  "location": "East US",
  "name": "azure-react-tutorial",
  "repoUrl": null,
  "resourceGroup": "demo",
  "tags": {},
  "type": "Microsoft.Web/sites/sourcecontrols"

Great! Your servicePrincipal account is connected to the app. You can now set up deployment.

Set up Azure for deployment

First, you’ll need to create deployment credentials from Azure. These credentials lets you run git push commands non-interactively. Click Deployment Center from the menu on the right (on the Azure app homepage). Then click FTPS credentials.

Deployment Center

Enter values for the fields Username, Password, and Confirm Password. Click Save.

Note: You’ll be prompted to enter a password that is at least eight characters long that contains capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Create deployment user credentials

Take note of the username and password; you will use it in the next section.

Deploy to Azure using the service account from the local machine

Azure will serve the production build of the app. Create that locally to confirm that it’s working.

On your terminal, at the root of the react app project, run:

npm run build

This creates a build folder. To serve this optimized production build, run:

npm install -g serve
serve -s build

Click the link in the command output. The app should look like the development build did, on the browser. Great.

Next, initialize Git and commit the changes so far. Run:

git init
git add .
git commit -m "Update"

You might be prompted to set Git username and Git email address. If that’s the case, run these two commands:

git config --global "John Doe"
git config --global

Rerun the previous three commands.

Replace John Doe and with your name and email address.

Now, run the following command to get the URL for a Git repository endpoint. You’ll use the URLto clone and push to for deployment of this app.

az webapp deployment source config-local-git --resource-group demo --name azure-react-tutorial

Replace demo and azure-react-tutorial with the resource-group and app name you used earlier.

The terminal prints a JSON object depicting the URL.

  "url": ""

Take note of the URL part between @ and the closing quote ". Copy it. You’ll add it in the next command and later when creating the CircleCI pipeline.

To add the azure remote for this project, run:

git remote add azure https://<GIT_USERNAME>:<GIT_PASSWORD>

Replace and with the username and password you entered in Azure app's Deployment Center.

Note: Any special character (like @ or $) in your GIT_PASSWORD needs to be in HTML encoding. Refer to this HTML Encoding Reference to get the equivalent of it.

For example: abcdEFGH* will be abcdEFGH%2A. * is represented by %2A.

Lastly, check out to the master branch and then push to the remote main branch of the specified azure remote Git repository. Run:

git checkout -b master
git push azure master --force

Note: You are using master branch since that’s the default branch for the Azure app’s Git.

The terminal prints log messages of the deployment, similar to this:

Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 289 bytes | 289.00 KiB/s, done.
Total 3 (delta 2), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 0
remote: Deploy Async
remote: Detecting platforms...
remote: Detected following platforms:
remote:   nodejs: 18.16.1
remote: Version '18.16.1' of platform 'nodejs' is not installed. Generating script to install it...
remote: Detected the following frameworks: React
remote: Using Node version:
remote: v18.16.1
remote: Using Npm version:
remote: 9.5.1
remote: Running 'npm install'...
remote: The build folder is ready to be deployed.
remote: Build Summary :
remote: ===============
remote: Errors (0)
remote: Warnings (0)

The published web app should look like the local development and production builds.

Note: It could take up to 5 minutes for the app to be updated after the Git push.

Deployed app

Set up CircleCI pipeline

In this section, you will create the pipeline configuration for CircleCI.

While the steps above were necessary for setting up deployment from your local machine. If you were to use a different machine, or have one or more team members contributing to the project, you need not go through any steps in the previous section.

With a CD pipeline, a push to GitHub (or other remote repository supported by CircleCI) should trigger a deployment of your app on Azure. This is what you want to set up next.

Adding the CircleCI configuration file

To begin, create a folder named .circleci at the root of your project. In the new folder, create a file named config.yml. In the new file, add:

version: '2.1'
  azure-cli: circleci/azure-cli@1.2.2
    executor: azure-cli/azure-docker
      - azure-cli/install
      - azure-cli/login-with-service-principal
      - run:
          name: "Get deployment configuration details of the Azure web app"
          command: |
            az webapp deployment source show --resource-group demo --name azure-react-tutorial
      - install-login

First, it defines and pulls in the orb you are using for this project (Line 2 - orbs):

  • The circleci/azure-cli@1.2.2 orb is used to install, initialize, and log into the Azure command-line interface. The Azure CLI gives you access to a set of commands to create and manage Azure resources.

The next part of the configuration specifies the main job (Line 5):

  • install-login

The install-login job uses the azure-cli/docker executor to:

  • install Azure CLI, using the azure-cli/install command AND
  • provides the step to authenticate Azure servicePrincipal account, using the azure-cli/login-with-service-principal command.

The last step is a command you ran locally to confirm that the servicePrincipal account logged in can get the deployment configuration details of the Azure web app.

Checkout to the master (sic) Git branch.

git checkout main

Create the branch by running git checkout -b main, if your local Git did not have it already.

Then commit these changes to Git.

git add .
git commit -m "add CircleCI config"

Connecting the application to CircleCI

The next step is to set up a repository on GitHub and link the project to CircleCI. Review the pushing a project to GitHub tutorial for instructions.

Log in to your CircleCI account and select the appropriate organization. Your repository should be listed on the Projects dashboard.

Click Set Up Project next to your azure-react-tutorial project.

Set up project

The existing configuration file in your project is recognized. Update the name of the branch (if necessary) then click Set Up Project.

Select Configuration

Your first workflow will start running.

The install-login job will fail because you have not yet specified the Azure credentials. Click on the job to see the details.

Pipeline Failed Result

To fix that, you will need to add username, password, and tenant environment variables. Click Project Settings.

Project Settings

Click Environment Variables on the left sidebar and then on Add Environment Variable to add the variables.

Add environment variables

The values to be used here are the appId, password, and tenant you used creating the servicePrincipal account.

  • The AZURE_SP variable is the appId value.
  • The AZURE_SP_PASSWORD variable is the password value.
  • The AZURE_SP_TENANT variable is the tenant value.

Enter each variable name and its value and click Add Environment Variable to save it.

Add a variable

Go back to the dashboard. Click Rerun Workflow from Failed. Expect a successful build this time.

Rerun successful

The next step is to update the configuration file.

Updating the configuration file

In this step, you will update the config file and use Git to deploy the app.

Click on Project Settings then Environment Variables button on the left sidebar and create these additional variables:

  • The GIT_USERNAME variable is the valid username created for Git on Azure
  • The GIT_PASSWORD variable is your valid password created for Git on Azure

Remember to use the HTML Encoding equivalent of special characters, as was highlighted in an earlier section.

By now, your environment variables page should be similar to this:

List of environment variables

Next, replace the content of .circleci/config.yml with this:

version: '2.1'
  azure-cli: circleci/azure-cli@1.2.2
    executor: azure-cli/azure-docker
      - azure-cli/install
      - azure-cli/login-with-service-principal
      - run:
          name: "Get deployment configuration details of the Azure web app"
          command: |
            az webapp deployment source show --resource-group demo --name azure-react-tutorial
      - checkout
      - run:
          name: "Deploy Web App to Azure"
          command: |
            git remote add azure https://$GIT_USERNAME:$
            git branch -m master
            git push azure master --force
      - install-login-git-deploy

Note the name change of the main job and the $GIT_USERNAME and $GIT_PASSWORD.

The update to the configuration file includes Git, sets a remote URL to reference the link you generated earlier, and pushes to Azure.

Update src/App.js so that the app displays Fake one hundred Posts from JSON Placeholder. With this, you are only changing 100 in figures to one hundred:

            {" "}
-            Fake <i>100</i> Posts from JSON Placeholder
+            Fake <i>one hundred</i> Posts from JSON Placeholder

Save the files you updated, commit the changes to Git, and push your code to GitHub.

Build successful

Your application will be built and deployed to Microsoft Azure Web App successfully.

Testing the application

Visit your application at to review the application.

View post on Azure


In this tutorial, you set up a useful deployment pipeline for a React.js application. With this, you were able to deploy your application to the Azure Web Apps hosting platform.

This automation process reduces the risk of human error, making it a huge improvement over manual deployments. You can use the knowledge you gained here on your existing applications or a new one. I hope that you found this tutorial helpful for you and your team.

The entire codebase for this tutorial can be found here on GitHub. Thanks for reading!

Oluyemi is a tech enthusiast with a background in Telecommunication Engineering. With a keen interest in solving day-to-day problems encountered by users, he ventured into programming and has since directed his problem solving skills at building software for both web and mobile. A full stack software engineer with a passion for sharing knowledge, Oluyemi has published a good number of technical articles and blog posts on several blogs around the world. Being tech savvy, his hobbies include trying out new programming languages and frameworks.

Read more posts by Olususi Oluyemi