Access Control

You can set access control using roles at the project level. Assign a role to a project member or service account to determine the level of access to your Google Cloud Platform project and its resources.

You can use primitive roles when you are working on smaller projects that have less complex needs. For more fine-tuned access controls, use Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles, which include the App Engine predefined roles. To learn more about IAM, see the IAM documentation.

For information on how to assign roles, see Granting Project Access.

Primitive roles

For App Engine applications, a project member's role also controls the permissible actions in the gcloud app and appcfg command-line tools that are used to deploy and manage applications.

Role Google Cloud Platform Console permissions appcfg permissions
Owner All viewer and editor privileges, plus invite users, change user roles, and delete an application. Has admin privileges to all resources in the project. Upload/rollback application code, update indexes/queues/crons
Editor View application information and edit application settings. Has admin privileges to all resources in the project. Upload/rollback application code, update indexes/queues/crons
Viewer View application information. Has admin privileges to all resources in the project. Request logs

Predefined App Engine roles

The predefined roles for App Engine provide you with finer grained options for access control. Each role is listed with its targeted user, as follows:

Role Capabilities Target User
App Engine Admin Read/Write/Modify access to all application configuration and settings.
  • Application owner/administrator
  • On-call engineer
  • sysadmin
App Engine Service Admin
  • Read-only access to all application configuration and settings.
  • Write access to service-level and version-level settings. Cannot deploy a new version.
  • Release engineer
  • DevOps
  • On-call engineer
  • Sys Admin
App Engine Deployer
  • Read-only access to all application configuration and settings.
  • Write access only to create a new version; cannot modify existing versions other than deleting versions that are not receiving traffic. Cannot change the default version.
  • Deployment account
  • Release engineer
App Engine Viewer Read-only access to all application configuration and settings.
  • User needing visibility into application, but not to modify it.
  • Audit job checking App Engine configuration for policy compliance.

Predefined roles comparison matrix

The following table provides a complete comparison of the capabilities of each predefined App Engine role.

Capability App Engine Admin App Engine Deployer App Engine Service Admin App Engine Viewer
List all services, versions and instances Yes Yes Yes Yes
View all application, module, version, and instance settings Yes Yes Yes Yes
View runtime metrics such as resource usage, load information, and error information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Deploy a new version of the application Yes Yes No No
Change traffic splits, change default version Yes No Yes No
Start and stop a version Yes No Yes No
Delete a version Yes Yes Yes No
Delete an entire module Yes No Yes No
Shut down an instance Yes No No No
Disable and re-enable an application Yes No No No
Access handlers that have a login:admin restriction Yes No No No
Update dispatch rules Yes No No No
Update dos settings Yes No No No
Update default cookie expiration Yes No No No
Update referrers Yes No No No
Update Email API Authorized Senders Yes No No No

Deployments with predefined roles

The App Engine Deployer role is the recommended role to grant to the account that is responsible for deploying a new version of a module. A user with Deployer permissions will be able to successfully run the following command:

appcfg.py update app.yaml module1.yaml module2.yaml

This command creates a new version of the application as specified in the app.yaml, but does not update any of the application-level settings specified in dos.yaml or dispatch.yaml, nor does it update any of the Task Queue, Cron and Datastore Index information specified in the queues.yaml, cron.yaml and index.yaml files, respectively.

  • If your deployment process involves updating dos.yaml or dispatch.yaml, you need to grant the App Engine Admin role to the account doing the deployment.

  • If your deployment process also involves updating queues.yaml, cron.yaml or index.yaml, your deployment account needs to be an Editor on the project.

Separation of deployment and traffic routing duties

Many organizations prefer to separate the task of deploying an application version from the task of ramping up traffic to the newly created version, and to have these tasks done by different job functions. The Deployer and Service Admin roles enable this separation.

A user with only a Deployer role is limited to deploying new versions and deleting old versions that don’t have traffic routed to them. The Deployer-only user won’t be able to change which version gets traffic or change application-level settings such as dispatch rules or authentication domain.

The Service Admin role, on the other hand, cannot create a new version of the application or change application-level settings. However, it can change properties of existing services and versions, including changing which versions get traffic. We suggest granting the Service Admin role to your Operations/IT department that handles ramping up traffic to newly deployed versions.

Permissions the predefined roles do NOT grant

None of the predefined roles listed above grant access to the following:

  • View and download application logs
  • View Monitoring charts in the Cloud Platform Console
  • Enable and Disable billing
  • Set up a daily Spending Limit (formerly known as Budget) for App Engine and view dollar amount spent
  • SSH into a VM instance running in the flexible environment
  • View and edit custom domains and uploaded SSL certificates
  • Run Security Scans
  • Access configuration or data stored in Datastore, Task Queues, Memcache, Cloud Search or any other Cloud Platform storage product

We expect to control some of these features in the future by their own fine-grained roles.

Using service accounts

The App Engine application continues to have the Editor role on the project at runtime. Reducing the permissions of the service account representing the identity of the application is not supported.

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