ASP.NET Core is a new open-source and cross-platform framework for building modern cloud-based and internet-connected applications using the C# programming language.

In this lab, you will deploy a simple ASP.NET Core app to App Engine flexible environment. This codelab builds on the Build and launch ASP.NET Core app from Google Cloud Shell codelab. You might want to do that lab first before attempting this lab.

Google App Engine applications are easy to create, maintain, and scale as your traffic and data storage needs change. With App Engine, there are no servers to manage. You simply upload your application and it's ready to go.

App Engine applications automatically scale based on incoming traffic. App Engine natively supports load balancing, microservices, authorization, SQL and NoSQL databases, Memcache, traffic splitting, logging, search, versioning, roll out and roll backs, and security scanning, all of which are highly customizable.

App Engine's environments, the standard environment and the flexible environment, support a host of programming languages, including C#, Java, Python, PHP, Node.js, Go, and more. The two environments give users maximum flexibility in how their application behaves, since each environment has certain strengths. For more information, read Choosing an App Engine Environment.

What you'll learn

What you'll need

How will you use this tutorial?

Read it through only Read it and complete the exercises

How would rate your experience with Google Cloud Platform?

Novice Intermediate Proficient

Self-paced environment setup

If you don't already have a Google account (Gmail or G Suite), you must create one. Then, sign-in to Google Cloud Platform console ( and create a new project:

Remember the project ID (which is different from the project name), a unique name across all Google Cloud Platform projects. It will be referred to later in this codelab as PROJECT_ID.

Next, you'll need to enable billing in Google Cloud Console in order to use Google Cloud Platform resources.

Start Cloud Shell

From Google Cloud Platform Console, click on the "Activate Google Cloud Shell" icon in the top right hand corner of the header bar.

A Cloud Shell session opens inside a new frame at the bottom of the console and displays a command-line prompt. This might take a few seconds as Cloud Shell is spinning up a VM.

Wait until the $ prompt appears.

In Cloud Shell prompt, you can run the dotnet command line tool is installed in Cloud Shell.


You should see the .NET Core version installed.

Microsoft .NET Core Shared Framework Host
  Version  : 1.0.1
  Build    : cee57bf6c981237d80aa1631cfe83cb9ba329f12

Next, create a new project folder for our first ASP.NET Core app.

mkdir HelloWorldAspNetCore

Navigate to that folder.

cd HelloWorldAspNetCore

Create a skeleton ASP.NET Core web app using the dotnet command.

dotnet new -t web

Since this is the first time you use dotnet, you will see some initialization messages, followed by a message about project creation.

Welcome to .NET Core!
Learn more about .NET Core @

Decompressing 100% 2568 ms
Expanding 100% 11018 ms
Created new C# project in /home/atameldev/HelloWorldAspNetCore.

This creates a number of files in your project folder. By default, ASP.NET Core apps use port 5000. Let's change that to port 8080.

Find Program.cs. Using your favorite editor (emacs, vim, nano etc.), change the main method, and add the UseUrls method to make the host bind to port 8080. The main method should look like this:

public static void Main(string[] args)
    var host = new WebHostBuilder()

We're almost ready to run our app but we need to restore dependencies first.

dotnet restore

This will download all the NuGet dependencies for our app and you should see restore completed message at the end.

log  : Restore completed in 16298ms.

Finally, run the app. You might see some warnings about dependencies that you can safely ignore.

dotnet run

Application starts listening on port 8080.

Now listening on: http://*:8080
Application started. Press Ctrl+C to shut down.

To verify that the app is running, visit the web preview and select ‘Preview on port 8080'.

You'll see the default ASP.NET Core webpage in a new tab.

Now, publish the app to get a self-contained DLL using the dotnet publish command.

dotnet publish -c Release

Running publish displays a number of messages with a successfully published message at the end of the process.

Publishing HelloWorldAspNetCore for .NETCoreApp,Version=v1.0
[16:47:53] Using gulpfile ~/HelloWorldAspNetCore/gulpfile.js
Published 1/1 projects successfully

Next, prepare your app to run on App Engine Flexible. The first step is to define the container and its contents. Don't worry, you won't need to install Docker -- App Engine flexible can build Docker images remotely as part of the deployment process.

Navigate to the publish directory.

cd bin/Release/netcoreapp1.0/publish/

Create a Dockerfile to define the Docker image.

touch Dockerfile

Add the following to Dockerfile using your favorite editor (vim, nano,or emacs).

ADD ./ /app                                                                                                                                                                                           
ENV ASPNETCORE_URLS=http://*:${PORT}                                                                                                                                                                 
WORKDIR /app                                                                                                                                                                                           
ENTRYPOINT [ "dotnet", "HelloWorldAspNetCore.dll" ]

Dockerfile builds on the official Google App Engine image, which is already configured to run .NET Core apps and adds the app files and the tools necessary to run the app from the directory.

One important configuration included in our Dockerfile is the port on which the app listens for incoming traffic (8080), per App Engine flexible requirements. This is accomplished by setting the ASPNETCORE_URLS environment variable, which ASP.NET Core apps use to determine which port to listen to.

The app.yaml file describes how to deploy the app to App Engine, in this case, the App Engine flexible environment. You can use the gcloud command line tool of Google Cloud SDK to generate app.yaml. Run the following command in publish folder.

gcloud beta app gen-config

You should see an app.yaml file generated.

Writing [app.yaml] to [/home/<project-id>/HelloWorldAspNetCore/bin/Release/netcoreapp1.0/publish].

Take a look at the generated app.yaml file. It specifies the environment as flexible and the runtime as custom.

env: flex
runtime: custom

Once you've saved the Dockerfile and app.yaml files to the publish directory, you're ready to deploy your app to App Engine flexible using gcloud. Just follow the prompts to create an App Engine application.

gcloud app deploy --version v0

During deployment, you will be asked to choose a region for your application. Chose a region where you want your app to run in.

Please choose a region for your application. After choosing a region, 
you cannot change it. Which region would you like to choose?
 [1] europe-west   (supports standard and flexible)
 [2] us-central    (supports standard and flexible)
 [3] us-east1      (supports standard and flexible)
 [4] asia-northeast1 (supports standard and flexible)
 [5] cancel

In the end, you should see that the app is deployed.

Deployed service [default] to [https://<project-id>]

After you've deployed the application,visit it by opening the URL http://<project-id> in your web browser.

You'll see the default ASP.NET Core webpage in a new tab.

At some point, the application that you've deployed to production will require bug fixes or additional features. App Engine is here to help you deploy a new version to production without impacting your users.

First, let's modify the application. Open the code editor from Cloud Shell.

Navigate to Index.cshtml under HelloWorldAspNetCore > Views > Home and update one of the carousel messages.

Find the following line.

  Learn how to build ASP.NET apps that can run anywhere

And change it to this.

  Learn how to build ASP.NET apps that can run on Google Cloud Platform!

Save the changes and then go back to Cloud Shell. Inside HelloWorldAspNetCore,publish the app to get a self-contained DLL.

dotnet publish -c Release

Navigate to the publish directory.

cd bin/Release/netcoreapp1.0/publish/

You can now deploy a new version of your app (v2 in this case).

gcloud app deploy --version v2

Once it's deploy, you can go to App Engine versions section of Google Cloud Console to see the new version of your app serving all of the traffic.


It's time to shutdown the app to save on cost and to be an overall good cloud citizen.

Go to the versions section of App Engine.

Select the version and stop it.

Once the version is stopped, the backing instances will be deleted and you should see instance count to drop down to zero.

What we've covered

There! You've created an ASP.NET Core app, packaged it as a Docker container, and deployed it to Google App Engine Flexible.

Next Steps


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.