Limitations and restrictions

Cloud Shell has the following known limitations and restrictions.

Custom installed software packages and persistence

The virtual machine instance that backs your Cloud Shell session isn't permanently allocated to a Cloud Shell session and terminates if the session is inactive for 20 minutes. After the instance is terminated, any modifications that you made to it outside your $HOME are lost.

To have your configurations persist across sessions, consider customizing your environment.

Users younger than 18 or whose age is unknown

Cloud Shell isn't available to users younger than 18 or whose age is unknown. By default, Google Workspace for Education blocks access to Cloud Shell for all users. If your institution has students older than 18 who you want to have access to age-restricted services including Cloud Shell, see Control access to Google services by age for steps to identify users who are 18 years or older.

Cloud Shell Editor extensions

Cloud Shell Editor does not support the installation of custom editor extensions. However, the Cloud Shell Editor comes with a set of essential extensions already installed and kept up-to-date.

.bashrc content

Cloud Shell can produce errors if the .bashrc file is modified or deleted. The .bashrc file must contain the following lines:

  if [ -f "/google/devshell/bashrc.google" ]; then
    source "/google/devshell/bashrc.google"
  fi

gcloud output formatting

By default, Cloud Shell enables gcloud accessibility features. With accessibility features enabled, gcloud table output is rendered as a flattened list of items.

To restore the default behavior of boxed tables for many commands, append the following command to the end of your $HOME/.bashrc file:

  gcloud config set accessibility/screen_reader false

Slow connection performance

Connecting to a Cloud Shell for the first time involves creating your home disk and can currently take up to 25 seconds. Subsequent connections to existing virtual machine instances take about five seconds. However, if you haven't used Cloud Shell for a week, connection performance will be slower since the home directory is restored from an archive.

Cloud Shell also offers Ephemeral mode which is the Cloud Shell experience without persistent disk storage. Ephemeral mode offers faster connection performance but all the files you create in your session are lost on session end.

Browser support

Cloud Shell supports the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Internet Explorer 11+, and Apple Safari 8+. Safari in private browser mode is not supported.

Private browsing and disabled third-party cookies

The Cloud Shell Editor can't load in Cloud Shell if third-party cookies are disabled. Some browsers have third-party cookies disabled by default and most browsers' Incognito or Private Browser modes block these cookies as well.

With third-party cookies disabled, you can still use the Cloud Shell Editor in its own window by clicking the Open in New Window button accessible when you open an editor session Code Editor Button.

Alternatively, you can navigate to port 970 using the Web Preview Web Preview Button.

Editor panel explaining that the code editor could not be loaded because of third-party cookie blocking, with link to Open the editor in a new window

Tip: If you're using Google Chrome, you can enable third-party cookies by clicking the Third-party cookie blocking icon in your address bar Third-party cookie blocking icon, selecting Site not working?, clicking Allow cookies, and reloading your page.

Large file transfer

File transfer is sometimes slow for large files. To transfer large files, consider using gcloud beta cloud-shell scp or Cloud Shell Editor.

Disk storage

Cloud Shell provisions 5 GB of free persistent disk storage mounted as your $HOME directory on the virtual machine instance. This storage is on a per-user basis and is available across projects. All files you store in your home directory, including installed software, scripts, and user configuration files like .bashrc and .vimrc, persist between sessions and count towards the 5 GB limit.

If you encounter a no space left on device error, free up space by removing files from your home directory using the Cloud Shell terminal.

Usage limits

Cloud Shell inactivity: If you don't access Cloud Shell for 120 days, your home disk is deleted. You are notified by email before the deletion. To prevent your home disk from being deleted, start a session. For sensitive data you want to store long term, consider a different solution on Cloud Storage.

Non-interactive usage: Cloud Shell is intended for interactive use only. Non-interactive sessions are ended automatically after one hour. Cloud Shell sessions are capped at 12 hours, after which sessions are automatically terminated. You can start a new session immediately after.

Weekly usage: Cloud Shell has weekly usage limits. If you reach your usage limit, you'll need to wait until the specified time (listed under Usage Quota, found under the three dots menu icon) before you can use Cloud Shell again.

Restoring a session after a service limit violation: If your session is terminated or can't be established because you exceeded a service limit, Cloud Shell displays an error with a link to a form that allows you to appeal the limit violation. Click the feedback link and submit the form with more information about the tasks you were performing before your session was terminated.

What's next