This page describes how HTTP requests from users reach the appropriate version of a service. Requests can be routed two ways:
- App Engine's default routing rules apply to requests with a URL that ends at the domain level.
- Alternatively, you can use a dispatch file that routes specific URL patterns according to your own rules.
If you test your app using the local development
available routing and dispatch features are slightly different. To
programmatically create URLs that work with both production and development
servers, use the
See routing in the development server to learn more.
Requests and domains
App Engine determines that an incoming request is intended for your app
by using the domain name of the request. A request whose domain name is
http://[YOUR_PROJECT_ID].appspot.com is routed to the app whose ID is
[YOUR_PROJECT_ID]. Every app gets an
appspot.com domain name for free.
appspot.com domains also support subdomains of the form
[SUBDOMAIN] can be any string allowed in one part of a domain name,
. character. Requests that are sent to any subdomain in this way
are routed to your app.
You can set up a custom top-level domain using G Suite and then assign subdomains to various apps, such as Google Mail or Sites. You can also associate an App Engine app with a subdomain. For more information about mapping a custom domain to your app, see Securing Custom Domains with SSL.
Requests for these URLs all go to the version of your app that you
configured to receive traffic. Each version of your app also has its own
URL, so you can deploy and test a new version before configuring that version to
receive traffic. The version-specific URL uses the ID of a specific version in
addition to the
appspot.com domain name, for example:
You can also use subdomains with the version-specific URL:
See Routing via URL for more information and examples.
The domain name used for the request is included in the request data that is
passed to your app. Therefore, you can use the request data to control how your
app responds based on the domain name in the request. For example, if you want
to redirect to an official domain, you can code your app to check the
request header and then respond accordingly based on the domain name.
Routing via URL
You can target an HTTP request with varying degrees of specificity. In the
appspot.com can be replaced with your app's
custom domain if you have one. The URL substrings
represent the resource IDs of your app.
Tip: You can use the following tools to retrieve the IDs of your app's resources:
gcloud app instances list
command to list the resource IDs within a specific GCP project.
To programmatically retrieve resource IDs, see the
list methods in the
The following URL patterns have a default routing behavior. Note that the default routing is overridden if there is a matching pattern that you have defined in your dispatch file:
- Sends the request to an available instance of the
Requests are received by any version that is configured for traffic in the
- Sends the request to an available instance of the
- Sends a request to an available instance of a specific service:
Requests are received by any version that is configured for traffic in the targeted service. If the service that you are targeting does not exist, the request gets soft routed.
- Sends a request to an available instance of a specific version in the
When a service is not targeted, requests are sent to the
If a request matches the
[YOUR_PROJECT_ID].appspot.com portion of the
hostname, but includes a service, version, or instance name that does not exist,
then the request is routed to the
default service. Soft routing does not apply
to custom domains; requests to them will return a HTTP
404 status code if the
hostname is invalid.
The following URL patterns are guaranteed to reach their target, if they exist. These requests are never intercepted and rerouted by the patterns that you have defined in your dispatch file:
- Sends the request to an available instance of a specific service and version:
If you are using manually-scaled services, you can target and send a request to a instance by including the instance ID. The instance ID is an integer in the range from
0up to the total number of instances that are running, and can be specified as follows:
- Sends a request to a specific service and version within a specific instance:
default service is created when you deploy the initial version of your
app to App Engine. Requests that specify no service or
an invalid service are routed, to the
default service. Those requests are then
handled by the versions that you have configured to receive traffic within the
default service. You can see which versions are configured for traffic in the
of the GCP Console.
Restricting access to a service
All services are public by default. If you want to restrict access to a service,
login: admin element to its
To help demonstrate the URL patterns, assume an example GCP project
requestsProject exists and includes an app that is running two
services and versions. The example app's
default service includes version
vFrontend, and the second service
service2, includes version
To target specific services and versions, you can use the following URL patterns:
To target the version in the
defaultservice using HTTPS, you can use:
To target the
vBackendversion using a custom domain without HTTPS, you can use:
requestsProject.appspot.comis mapped to the
Routing with a dispatch file
For URLs that use the patterns described earlier, you can create a dispatch file to override App Engine's routing rules and define your own custom routing rules. With a dispatch file, you can send incoming requests to a specific service based on the path or host name in the request URL.
For details about creating a dispatch file, see the
Creating a dispatch file
The dispatch file should be placed
either in the root of your project directory, or in the root
directory of your
You can define up to 20 routing rules in the dispatch file and each rule
consists of both the
For example, you can create a dispatch file to route mobile requests like
http://simple-sample.appspot.com/mobile/ to a mobile frontend, and route worker
http://simple-sample.appspot.com/work/ to a static backend:
dispatch: # Send all mobile traffic to the mobile frontend. - url: "*/mobile/*" service: mobile-frontend # Send all work to the one static backend. - url: "*/work/*" service: static-backend
For details about how to define your dispatch.yaml, see the
Deploying the dispatch file
To deploy the dispatch configuration file, run the following command:
gcloud app deploy dispatch.yaml
If you install the original App Engine SDK, you can run:
appcfg.py update_dispatch [YOUR_APP_DIR]
Routing in the development server
Discovering instance addresses
The local development server creates all manual scaling instances at startup. Instances for automatic and basic scaling services are managed dynamically. The server assigns a port to each service, and clients can depend on the server to load-balance and select an instance automatically. The port assignments for addressing each service appear in the server's log message stream. Here are the ports for an app that defines three services (the scaling type of each service is not relevant):
INFO Starting module "default" running at: http://localhost:8084 INFO Starting module "service1" running at: http://localhost:8082 INFO Starting module "service2" running at: http://localhost:8083
When you use a service's address (for example
the server will select (or create) an instance of the service and send the
request to that instance.
The server assigns unique ports to each instance of a service. To discover these ports you need to use the admin server. There is a unique port for the admin server, which appears in the message log:
INFO Starting admin server at: http://localhost:8000
This address takes you to the admin server console. From there you can click on Instances to see the dynamic state of your app's instances:
A separate entry will appear for each manual and basic instance. The instance numbers are links with unique port addresses for each instance. You can hover over a link to see the port assigned to that instance, or click on the link to send a request directly to that instance.
Dispatch filesIf your app includes a
dispatch.yamlfile, the log messages stream will include a dispatcher port:
INFO Starting dispatcher running at: http://localhost:8080
Requests to this port are routed according to the rules in the dispatch
file. The server does not support
dispatch.yaml file rules that include
hostnames (for example,
url: "customer1.myapp.com/*"). Rules with
relative path patterns (
url: "*/fun") will work, so you can use
http://localhost/fun/mobile to reach instances. The server will
report an error in the log stream if you try to start an application with a
dispatch.yaml file that contains host-based rules.