Getting started with PHP on Compute Engine

This tutorial shows how to get started with Compute Engine. Follow this tutorial by deploying a Hello World PHP web app to Compute Engine. For help getting started with App Engine, see the App Engine standard environment.


  • Use Cloud Shell to download and deploy a Hello World sample app.
  • Deploy a Hello World sample app to a single Compute Engine instance.


In this document, you use the following billable components of Google Cloud:

To generate a cost estimate based on your projected usage, use the pricing calculator. New Google Cloud users might be eligible for a free trial.

Before you begin

  1. Sign in to your Google Cloud account. If you're new to Google Cloud, create an account to evaluate how our products perform in real-world scenarios. New customers also get $300 in free credits to run, test, and deploy workloads.
  2. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Google Cloud project.

  4. Enable the Compute Engine API.

    Enable the API

  5. In the Google Cloud console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to project selector

  6. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Google Cloud project.

  7. Enable the Compute Engine API.

    Enable the API

  8. In the Google Cloud console, open the app in Cloud Shell.

    Go to Cloud Shell

    Cloud Shell provides command-line access to your cloud resources directly from the browser.

  9. If you agree to clone the repository, click Confirm to download the sample code and change into the app directory.

  10. In Cloud Shell, configure the gcloud CLI to use your new Google Cloud project:
    # Configure gcloud for your project
    gcloud config set project YOUR_PROJECT_ID

Running the app in Cloud Shell

  1. Install your app dependencies using composer:

    composer install
  2. Run the PHP built-in web server:

    php -S localhost:8080
  3. In Cloud Shell, click Web preview , and select Preview on port 8080. This opens a new window with your running app.

  4. To stop the local web server, press Control+C.

Deploying to a single instance

This section walks you through running a single instance of your app on Compute Engine.

Single-instance deployment.

From Cloud Shell, you can deploy to a single Compute Engine instance virtual machine (VM) which runs your app.

Use a startup script to initialize an instance

You need a way to instruct your instance to download and run your code. An instance can have a startup script that runs whenever the instance is started or restarted.

set -e
export HOME=/root

# Install PHP and dependencies from apt
apt-get update
apt-get install -y git nginx php7.2 php7.2-fpm php7.2-mysql php7.2-dev \
    php7.2-mbstring php7.2-zip php-pear pkg-config

# Install Composer
curl -sS | \
    /usr/bin/php -- \
    --install-dir=/usr/local/bin \

# Get the application source code
git clone /opt/src
ln -s /opt/src/gce /opt/app

# Run Composer
composer install -d /opt/app --no-ansi --no-progress --no-dev

# Disable the default NGINX configuration
rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

# Enable our NGINX configuration
cp /opt/app/config/nginx/helloworld.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/helloworld.conf
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/helloworld.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/helloworld.conf
cp /opt/app/config/nginx/fastcgi_params /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params

# Start NGINX
systemctl restart nginx.service

# Install Fluentd
curl -s "" | bash

# Enable our Fluentd configuration
cp /opt/app/config/fluentd/helloworld.conf /etc/google-fluentd/config.d/helloworld.conf

# Start Fluentd
service google-fluentd restart &

The startup script performs these tasks:

  • Installs PHP 7 and PHP 7 FPM.

  • Installs and configures NGINX.

  • Downloads Composer and runs it for the app code.

  • Installs the Cloud Logging agent and configures it to monitor the app logs. This means that the logging configured in the previous steps of this tutorial are uploaded just as if you were using App Engine.

Create and configure a Compute Engine instance

  1. Create a Compute Engine instance:

    gcloud compute instances create $MY_INSTANCE_NAME \
        --image-family=ubuntu-1804-lts \
        --image-project=ubuntu-os-cloud \
        --machine-type=g1-small \
        --scopes userinfo-email,cloud-platform \
        --metadata-from-file startup-script=scripts/ \
        --zone $ZONE \
        --tags http-server

    Replace the zone with a development zone, for example us-central1-a. For more information on regions and zones, see Geography and regions.

    This creates a new instance, allows it to access Google Cloud services, and runs your startup script. The instance name is my-app-instance.

  2. Check the progress of the instance creation:

    gcloud compute instances get-serial-port-output my-app-instance --zone YOUR_ZONE

    Replace YOUR_ZONE with the zone you deployed your instance to.

    When the startup script is complete, you see the following message:

    startup-script: INFO Finished running startup scripts.
  3. Create a firewall rule to allow traffic to your instance:

    gcloud compute firewall-rules create default-allow-http-80 \
        --allow tcp:80 \
        --source-ranges \
        --target-tags http-server \
        --description "Allow port 80 access to http-server"

  4. Get the external IP address of your instance:

    gcloud compute instances list
  5. To see your app running, enter this URL in your browser:


    Replace YOUR_INSTANCE_IP with the external IP address of your instance.

Manage and monitor an instance

You can use the Google Cloud console to monitor and manage your instance.

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the VM instances page.

    Go to VM instances

  2. In the list of virtual machine instances, click SSH in the row of the instance that you want to connect to.
  3. To view all of the logs generated by your Compute Engine resources, go to the Logs Explorer page. Go to Logs Explorer

    Cloud Logging is automatically configured to gather logs from various common services, including syslog.

Clean up

To avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud account for the resources used in this tutorial, either delete the project that contains the resources, or keep the project and delete the individual resources.

Delete the project

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the Manage resources page.

    Go to Manage resources

  2. In the project list, select the project that you want to delete, and then click Delete.
  3. In the dialog, type the project ID, and then click Shut down to delete the project.

Delete the individual resources

gcloud compute instances delete my-app-instance --zone=YOUR_ZONE --delete-disks=all
gcloud compute firewall-rules delete default-allow-http-80

What's next