How to set up/log into a Terra on Azure account

Allie Cliffe
  • Updated

Step-by-step instructions to register for an account and log into Terra on Azure.

Overview and prerequisites

Log in with either a Google or Microsoft SSOWhich version of Terra you work in is determined by the Terra Billing project assigned to your workspace, not which version of SSO you use. See How to use Terra on Azure with a Google ID.

If you already have an account in Terra, you should use the ID you used previously (Google or Microsoft) for SSO. 

Don't know if you already have a Google or Microsoft ID?

Your institutional email may already be backed by a Google G-Suite or Microsoft account. You can test by logging into Microsoft at or Google at in an incognito window. 

Don't have a Google or Microsoft account? 

Step-by-step account instructions

Browser Support Policy Terra has been tested using the Chrome internet browser. All of our instructions and documentation assume users are using Terra in Chrome. Using a different browser may change how Terra looks, and may affect how some parts work. If you are having problems and are using a different browser, try switching to Chrome and see if that resolves the issue.

Scroll down to the bottom for troubleshooting tips (if you see a blank screen when signing in, for example).

1. Navigate to the Terra home page and click on the main menu (three parallel lines at the top left of the page)

2. Click the Login button, and “Sign in with Microsoft” to sign in with any MS or Google account (institutional email, or an ID associated with your non-Google/non-Microsoft email).


3. Fill in the name and email and any additional fields in the New User Registration form and click "Register" to create your Terra account. Note that the contact email is for notifications only and need not be your Terra User ID. 


4. When you sign in, you’ll be asked to confirm some information and to accept the Terra Terms of Service.

Once you do, you're registered!

5. On the Terra homepage, click on the View Workspaces card to view any data or workspaces that have been shared with you.


Collaborating with someone on Terra? Two ways to share billing 

If you are working with someone who has already set up their billing, you may be able to access their billing resources -  indirectly or directly. The two options - Collaborating in a shared workspace or using a shared Terra Billing project - are outlined below.

  • Collaborating in a shared workspace

    Costs in Terra are billed to the workspace Billing Project - it doesn't matter who does the work. If a colleague shares a workspace with you and assigns you "WRITER can-compute" access, you will be able to move data into and out of the workspace bucket, store data, and run analyses within that workspace. All charges for these operations will be paid by your colleague's Billing Project, which is assigned to the workspace when it's created.

    To learn more, see Managing access to shared data and tools or Sharing data and tools with workspace access controls.

  • Using a shared Terra Billing project

    You will need to have a Terra Billing Project to create or clone a workspace of your own. However, even if you need to create workspaces, you don't necessarily need your own billing project! Billing Project owners can add and remove Billing Project users in their Terra Billing page, so you may be able to access a colleague's existing Project. This may apply, for example, if you are joining a research group that is already working in Terra. You'll need to ask the Billing Project owner to add you using the steps in How to add/remove collaborators on a Terra Billing Project.

    Once you are a designated Billing Project user, the Project will appear in your Billing page and in the drop-down menu when you create a workspace. All costs incurred in the workspaces you create will be covered by the colleague's Billing Project.

    Owners can edit any user's role and delete users from a Billing project at any time by clicking on the Billing project from the list (access Billing from the User Profile drop-down in the main navigation menu at the top left).

Terra resources that don't cost (you) anything to use

There is never a charge for administration or security services covered by the Terra platform or for support, and the community forum is available to help you 24/7, free of charge.  Costs include infrastructure costs associated with your Terra Environment and Terra workspace, as well as the standard Azure Cloud fees for storing and moving data or executing an analysis (bulk workflow or interactive Jupyter Notebook).    

You do not need access to your own billing to browse Terra or work in a collaborator's workspace. However, you won't be able to create your own workspace without setting up an Azure-backed Terra Billing project. 

Some things you can do without your own billing 

  1. Browse tutorial workspaces and open-access data (no Azure Cloud costs)
    These resources will be available to view in the Library after you register. Note: To run a workflow or interactive analysis, you need to make your own copy of the tutorial with your own Billing project.
  2. Work in shared workspaces with "writer" permission (owner pays all Cloud costs)
    If a Terra user - such as a collaborator or PI - shares a workspace with you and grants you WRITER (can-compute) access, you can run workflows and interactive analyses within that workspace. All charges incurred will be paid by the workspace owner’s Terra Billing Project.

Next steps: Set up billing and explore a tutorial workspace

Ready to get started using Terra on Azure? Follow the two steps below. 

1. Set up billing

Finance admins/users with access to an existing Azure subscription will need to set up cloud billing following step-by-step instructions in Setting up billing in Terra on Azure (admins)

Once your Azure subscription is linked to a Terra Billing project, there are two ways to start working in Terra.

Option 1: Create/clone a workspace (must be a user on the Terra Billing Project)

Option 2: Have a workspace owner add you as a collaborator on an existing workspace. 

2. Explore a tutorial workspace

Featured workspaces let you try out the platform, with pre-configured sample data and analysis tools and documentation to guide you. 

See Azure-backed workspaces in the Showcase Library

Troubleshooting and Chrome browser settings

You may see a blank screen after registering and signing in. The two most common reasons for this are the browser settings. Try one of the suggestions below (in Chrome) if you run into this problem.

1. Set your cookies correctly

Make sure "Block third party-cookies" is off and "Allow sites to save and read cookies" is on!

1.1. Type the URL chrome://settings/content/cookies into your chrome browser.

1.2. Go to Privacy and security (from the left column) and click to expand Cookie and other site data (in the middle).

1.3. Select the Allow all cookies radio button. 

Make sure the settings look like this screenshot.


2. Allow pop-ups and directs

2.1. Go to chrome://settings/content/popups in Chrome.

2.2. Add to the Allowed to send pop-ups and use redirects by clicking the Add button under Allowed to send pop-ups and use redirects.

Make sure the settings look like this screenshot


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