Quickstart for Node.js in the App Engine Flexible Environment

This quickstart shows you how to create a small App Engine application that displays a short message.

Before you begin

Before running this sample, take the following steps:

  1. Use the Cloud Platform Console to create a new Cloud Platform project, create an App Engine application, and enable billing:
    Go to App Engine

    When prompted, select the region where you want your App Engine application located and then enable billing.

  2. Install the following prerequisites locally:
    1. Download and install git.
    2. Download and install Node.js and NPM.

      NPM (Node Package Manager) is usually installed alongside Node.js, but you can install the Yarn Package Manager as an alternative and use Yarn throughout the tutorial if you want.

    3. Download, install, and initialize the Google Cloud SDK:
      Download the SDK
  3. Alternatively: You can use Google Cloud Shell, which comes with git and Cloud SDK already installed, and many other features, such as language support and code editors. Once your Google Cloud Shell is launched, you can proceed with the rest of this tutorial and execute your commands within your Cloud Shell.
This quickstart demonstrates a simple Node.js application written with the Express.js framework.

Download the Hello World app

We've created a simple Hello World app for Node.js so you can quickly get a feel for deploying an app to Google Cloud Platform. Follow these steps from a command line to download Hello World to your local machine.

Download the sample app and navigate into the app directory:

  1. Clone the Hello World sample app repository to your local machine:

    git clone https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/nodejs-docs-samples

    Alternatively, you can download the sample as a zip file and extract it.

  2. Change to the directory that contains the sample code:

    cd nodejs-docs-samples/appengine/hello-world

Run Hello World on your local machine

  1. Install dependencies for this project by entering the following command:

    npm install

    or if you are using Yarn:

    yarn install
  2. Run the start script.

    npm start

    or if you are using Yarn:

    yarn start
  3. In your web browser, enter the following address:


You can see the Hello World message from the sample app displayed in the page.

In your terminal window, press Ctrl+C to exit the web server.

Deploy and run Hello World on App Engine

To deploy your app to the App Engine flexible environment:

  1. Deploy the Hello World app by running the following command from the hello-world directory:
    gcloud app deploy
  2. Visit the following address to see your deployed app:

This time, the page that displays the Hello World message is delivered by a web server running on an App Engine instance.

Congratulations! You've deployed your first Node.js app to App Engine flexible environment!

Clean up

To avoid incurring charges to your Cloud Platform project project, you can delete your project to stop billing for all resources within the project.

  1. In the Cloud Platform Console, go to the Projects page.

    Go to the Projects page

  2. In the project list, select the project you want to delete and click Delete project. After selecting the checkbox next to the project name, click
      Delete project
  3. In the dialog, type the project ID, and then click Shut down to delete the project.

What's next

Learn the whole platform

Now that you know what it's like to develop and deploy App Engine apps, you can stretch out and see the rest of Google Cloud Platform. You already have the Google Cloud SDK installed and that gives you the tools to interact with products like Google Cloud SQL, Google Cloud Storage, Google Cloud Datastore, and more. For a guided walkthrough that teaches you how to create an application that uses the entire platform, not just App Engine, check out our quickstart on creating the Bookshelf app.

Learn about the App Engine flexible environment

Here are some topics to help continue your learning about App Engine.

Hello World code review

Hello World is the simplest possible App Engine app, as it contains only one service, has only one version, and all of the code is located within the app's root directory. This section describes each of the app files in detail.


The app.js file contains the JavaScript code to start a server and respond to requests.

The following code responds to requests from web clients by displaying the 'Hello World' message, via a server that runs on port 8080.

'use strict';

const express = require('express');
const app = express();

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
  res.status(200).send('Hello, world!');

// Start the server
const PORT = process.env.PORT || 8080;
app.listen(PORT, () => {
  console.log(`App listening on port ${PORT}`);
  console.log('Press Ctrl+C to quit.');


The app.yaml file describes an application's deployment configuration:

runtime: nodejs
env: flex
Here, app.yaml specifies the runtime used by the app, and sets env: flex, specifying that the app uses the flexible environment.


package.json is used to specify application dependencies, node version, and application startup.

  "name": "appengine-hello-world",
  "description": "Simple Hello World Node.js sample for Google App Engine",
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "private": true,
  "license": "Apache Version 2.0",
  "author": "Google Inc.",
  "engines": {
    "node": ">=4.3.2"
  "scripts": {
    "start": "node app.js"
  "dependencies": {
    "express": "4.14.1"

This package.json specifies that the application uses Node.js v4.3.2 or later, depends on express, and that node app.js is used to start the application. For more details about how your application is installed and run, see the Node.js runtime documentation.

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App Engine flexible environment for Node.js docs