Initializing the gcloud CLI

This page shows you how to initialize the gcloud CLI.

After you install the gcloud CLI, perform initial setup tasks by running gcloud init. You can also run gcloud init to change your settings or create a new configuration.

gcloud init performs the following setup steps:

  • Authorizes the gcloud CLI to use your user account credentials to access Google Cloud, or lets you select an account if you have previously authorized access
  • Sets up a gcloud CLI configuration and sets a base set of properties, including the active account from the step above, the current project, and if applicable, the default Compute Engine region and zone

You can run the following as alternatives to gcloud init:

Command Description
gcloud auth login Authorize with a user account without setting up a configuration.
gcloud auth activate-service-account Authorize with a service account instead of a user account.

Useful for authorizing non-interactively and without a web browser.

gcloud config [COMMAND] gcloud config configurations [COMMAND] Create and manage gcloud CLI configurations and properties.

Initialize the gcloud CLI

To initialize the gcloud CLI:

  1. Run gcloud init:

    gcloud init
    

    If you are in a remote terminal session, you can use the --console-only flag to prevent the command from launching a browser-based authorization flow, if required:

    gcloud init --console-only
    
  2. Create or select a configuration if prompted.

    If you are initializing a new gcloud CLI installation, gcloud init creates a configuration named default for you and sets it as the active configuration. If you have existing configurations, gcloud init prompts you to choose between three options — re-initialize the active one, switch to another one and re-initialize it, or create a new one.

  3. Complete the authorization step when prompted.

    Depending on whether you have previously authorized access to Google Cloud, you might be prompted to log in and grant access in a web browser or to select an existing account.

    If you used the --console-only flag and login is required, you must then copy and paste the provided authorization URL into another browser window and follow the prompts provided.

    When this step is completed, gcloud init sets the account property in the configuration to the specified account.

  4. Choose a current Google Cloud project if prompted.

    If you only have access to one project, including the default project for your user account, gcloud init selects it for you.

    Otherwise, you can select a project from a list of projects for which you have Owner, Editor or Viewer permissions. gcloud init sets the project property in the configuration to the property you choose. If you have access to more than 200 projects, you will be prompted to enter a project id, create a new project, or list projects.

    This account has a lot of projects! Listing them all can take a while.
     [1] Enter a project ID
     [2] Create a new project
     [3] List projects
    Please enter your numeric choice:
    
  5. Choose a default Compute Engine zone if prompted.

    If you don't have the Compute Engine API enabled or you already have a default zone in your project-level metadata, you will not see this step. gcloud init sets the region and zone properties in the configuration using the zone you choose.

When gcloud init finishes, it prints the properties in the active configuration to the terminal:

[compute]
region = us-east1
zone = us-east1-b
[core]
account = user@google.com
disable_usage_reporting = False
project = example-project

You can view these properties at any other time using the gcloud config list command.

What's next