Quickstart for Python 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. Download and install git.
  2. Download Google Cloud SDK.
  3. Alternatively: You can use Google Cloud Shell, which comes with these prerequisites already installed.

The flexible environment requires that billing is configured for your project. If you have not already configured a billing account, you will be prompted to enable billing later in the quickstart.

This quickstart demonstrates a simple Python application written with the Flask framework that can be deployed to App Engine. Although this sample uses Flask, you can use any framework that satisfies the requirements above. Alternative frameworks include Django, Pyramid, Bottle, web.py, Tornado, and more. To walk through a sample that uses Django, see Running Django in the App Engine Flexible Environment.

Download the Hello World app

We've created a simple Hello World app for Python 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/python-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 python-docs-samples/appengine/flexible/hello_world

Run Hello World on your local machine

Mac OS / Linux

To run the Hello World app on your local computer:

  1. If you don't have virtualenv, install it using pip.

    sudo pip install virtualenv
  2. Create an isolated Python environment, and install dependencies:

    virtualenv env
    source env/bin/activate
    pip install -r requirements.txt
  3. Run the application:

    python main.py
  4. In your web browser, enter the following address:



If you have installed the Google Cloud SDK, you should already have Python 2.7 installed, typically in C:\python27_x64\ (for 64-bit systems). We'll be invoking the installation of Python packages by using Powershell.

  1. Install Powershell 3.0 or higher if you haven't already.

  2. Right-click on the shortcut to Powershell and start it as an Administrator.

  3. Try running the python command. If it's not found, add Python to your environment's PATH.

    $env:Path += ";C:\python27_x64\"
  4. Install the pip package manager for Python, and create an isolated Python environment with virtualenv, so that you aren't installing Hello World's dependencies system-wide in the next step.

    iwr https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -OutFile get-pip.py
    python get-pip.py
    python -m pip install virtualenv
    python -m virtualenv env
  5. Activate your isolated Python environment by granting signed downloaded scripts permission to run, and install Hello World's requirements.

    Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
    python -m pip install -r requirements.txt
  6. Finally, run the application and view Hello World at http://localhost:8080.

    python main.py

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, you need to have a Google Cloud Platform Console project.

Create a project in the Google Cloud Platform Console.

  1. Sign in to your Google account.

    If you don't already have one, sign up for a new account.

  2. In the Cloud Platform Console, go to the Projects page and select or create a new project.

    Go to the Projects page

  3. Enable billing for your project.

    Enable billing

  4. Note the Project ID, since it is used for configuration and deployment.
  5. Initialize the Cloud SDK
  6. gcloud init

Deploy the app to App Engine

  1. Deploy the Hello World app:
    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 Python app to App Engine flexible environment!

Clean up

To avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud Platform account for the resources used in this quickstart:

  1. Go to the Cloud Platform Console.
  2. Select the project you want to shut down, then click Delete project: this schedules the project for deletion.

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 Hello World app is a very basic one-file Flask application.

import logging

from flask import Flask

app = Flask(__name__)

def hello():
    """Return a friendly HTTP greeting."""
    return 'Hello World!'

def server_error(e):
    logging.exception('An error occurred during a request.')
    return """
    An internal error occurred: <pre>{}</pre>
    See logs for full stacktrace.
    """.format(e), 500

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # This is used when running locally. Gunicorn is used to run the
    # application on Google App Engine. See entrypoint in app.yaml.
    app.run(host='', port=8080, debug=True)


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

runtime: python
vm: true
entrypoint: gunicorn -b :$PORT main:app

  python_version: 3
Here, app.yaml specifies the runtime used by the app, and sets vm: true, specifying that the app uses the flexible environment.

Additionally, the runtime_config section sets python_version to 3 to use Python 3.4. This section is optional. If it does not appear Python 2 is used, or you can specify python_version: 2.


requirements.txt and the Python package manager pip are used to declare and install application dependencies. Hello World requires Flask, a web framework, and Gunicorn, a WSGI server.


requirements.txt defines the libraries that will be installed both locally and when deploying to App Engine.

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App Engine flexible environment for Python docs