Deploy React App to Google App Engine with Github Actions CI/CD – A Complete Guide


This guide provides you a step-by-step process to deploy your React app efficiently to Google App Engine. Each section offers actionable steps, ensuring a smooth deployment journey.

In this guide, we’ll cover the following sections:

  1. Pre-requisite
  2. React Project Config
  3. GCP Account & GCP Project Setup
  4. App.yaml & Explanation
  5. Github Actions CI/CD
  6. Testing

Whether you’re a seasoned developer seeking a detailed deployment workflow or an enthusiast eager to take your React project live, this guide will equip you with the necessary knowledge and steps for a successful deployment journey. Let’s start with pre-requisites.

Section 1: Pre-requisites

Before diving into deploying a React app to Google App Engine (GAE), it’s essential to ensure that you have the necessary tools and knowledge in place. Mininum requirements are

  • Node & npm Installed: Make sure Node.js and npm are installed on your machine. Node 18 is used throughout this guide.
  • React JS Setup: Familiarize yourself with creating a React project and running it locally.
  • Google Cloud Account: If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry; we’ll create it in a later step.

Section 2: React Project Config

Initialize & Run a React App

If you haven’t already set up a React project, follow these steps:

  • Open your terminal.

  • Run the following command to create a new React app:

   npx create-react-app my-react-app

Replace my-react-app with your own project name.

  • Run the React app:
   npm start

This will start a development server, allowing you to view your React app in a browser at http://localhost:3000.

  • Prepare a build of your React app:
   npm run build

This command creates a build folder at the root of your project, containing the compiled version of your React app.

  • Exclude build folder from Git:
    Add build/ to your .gitignore file to prevent it from being tracked and pushed to your Git repository.
  • React Scripts Configuration:
    Ensure your package.json includes the following scripts:
   "scripts": {
       "start": "react-scripts start",
       "build": "react-scripts build",
       "test": "react-scripts test",
       "eject": "react-scripts eject"

Make sure your scripts align with the provided commands for starting, building, testing, and ejecting your React app.

Section 3: GCP Account & GCP Project Setup

Step 1: Create a New Project

  1. Go to the Google Cloud Console and sign in.
  2. Click on “Select a project” at the top and then click on “New Project.”
  3. Choose a unique project name and select the desired organization if applicable.
  4. Once the project is created, note down the Project ID for future reference.
  5. Link this project to appropriate Billing Account.

Step 2: Enable Required APIs

  1. Navigate to the APIs & Services section in the Google Cloud Console.
  2. Click on Library in the left sidebar.
  3. Search for Cloud Storage and enable the Cloud Storage API.
  4. Search for App Engine Admin and enable the App Engine Admin API.

Step 3: Set Up Cloud Storage

  1. Go to the Cloud Storage section in the Google Cloud Console.
  2. Click on Create Bucket to make a new bucket.
  3. Choose a unique name and select the desired region.
  4. Leave other settings as default and create the bucket.

Step 4: Install GCP CLI

  1. Navigate to the root directory of your React app in the terminal.
  2. Install the Google Cloud SDK following the instructions at Google Cloud SDK Installation Guide.
  3. Authenticate the Google Cloud SDK by running gcloud auth login and following the on-screen instructions.
  4. Set the project ID by running gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID, replacing PROJECT_ID with your actual Project ID.

Section 4: Service Account Setup

Generate & Download a Service Account

To set up a Service Account for Google App Engine deployment, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Google Cloud Console.
  2. Navigate to IAM & AdminService Accounts.
  3. Click on Create Service Account.
  4. Provide an appropriate name and description for the service account. For instance, use github-ci-cd as it will be utilized for Github CI/CD.
  5. Assign the following roles:

    1. App Engine Admin
    2. Cloud Build Service Account
    3. Service Account User
    4. Storage Object Admin
  6. Click the three dots and select Manage keys.

  7. Click on Add Key → Create New Key.

  8. Choose the JSON key type and securely download it. Remember, this key grants access to Google Cloud resources, so keep it safe.

Step 5: Create app.yaml and Explanation

What is app.yaml?

  • The app.yaml file configures settings and routing for Google App Engine applications.


  • Keep the app.yaml in your project’s root directory alongside your source code.

Example Configuration:

# [START app_yaml]

runtime: nodejs18
service: my-react-app # prefix/subdomain of the bucket specific to project and environment

  - url: /static/js/(.*)
    static_files: build/static/js/1
    upload: build/static/js/(.*)
    secure: always

  - url: /static/css/(.*)
    static_files: build/static/css/1
    upload: build/static/css/(.*)
    secure: always

  - url: /static/media/(.*)
    static_files: build/static/media/1
    upload: build/static/media/(.*)
    secure: always

  - url: /(.*.(json|ico|png|jpg|svg))$
    static_files: build/1
    upload: build/.*.(json|ico|png|jpg|svg)$
    secure: always

  - url: /
    static_files: build/index.html
    upload: build/index.html
    secure: always

  - url: /.*
    static_files: build/index.html
    upload: build/index.html
    secure: always
# [END app_yaml]

Explanation of Configuration:

  • runtime: Specifies the runtime environment (e.g., nodejs18).
  • service: Defines the service name, typically a project-specific prefix or subdomain.

The handlers section defines how incoming requests are handled:

  • Each url pattern specifies a path or file type.
  • static_files points to the location of the static file in your project.
  • upload indicates where the file should be uploaded within the Google App Engine environment.
  • secure ensures that requests are served over HTTPS.

This configuration example directs incoming requests to the appropriate static files within the build directory, ensuring proper handling and security for various file types and paths.

Deploy your App Locally:

Deploy your React app by executing the command in root directory of your project:

   gcloud app deploy

This command will package and upload your compiled build to Google Cloud. The deployment process may take a few minutes.

Note: When you are deploying for first time, comment out line 4, where you specify service name. As first deployment must be of default service.

After deployment completion, you’ll receive a URL where your React app is hosted. Open the URL to check the deployed React App.

Step 6: CI/CD using GitHub Actions

CI/CD and GitHub Actions:

  • CI/CD: CI (Continuous Integration) and CD (Continuous Deployment) automate the software delivery process. CI involves merging code changes into a shared repository frequently, automatically running tests, and validating changes. CD automates the deployment of validated code changes to production or staging environments.

  • CI/CD in GitHub Actions: GitHub Actions provide workflows to automate tasks in your repository, including CI/CD processes. These workflows are defined in YAML files and can be triggered by various events like code pushes, pull requests, etc.

Storing Service Account Key and Project ID in GitHub Secrets:

  • Store your Service Account Key and Project ID as secrets in your GitHub repository to securely access them during the CI/CD process.
  • You can create Github secrets by Github Repository → Settings → Secrets & Variables → Actions → Secrets tab → New Repository Secret
  • Secrets:
    1. GCP_SA_KEY: Your entire JSON of Service Account Key generated in previous step.
    2. GCP_PROJECT_ID Your GCP Project ID.

Workflow File Name & Placement:

  • The workflow file should be named gcp-deploy.yml.
  • Place this file in the .github/workflows directory in your project. Refer the below given repository incase of any confusion.
  • Paste the below configuration in recently created yml file.


name: Deploy to GCP

      - main
      - main

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

      - name: Checkout repository
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Setup Node.js and yarn
        uses: actions/setup-node@v2
          node-version: '18'

      - name: Install dependencies
        run: yarn install

      - name: Build React app
        run: yarn run build

      - name: Create temp folder
        run: mkdir temp_folder

      # This will create a temporary folder
      # It will have build folder and app.yaml
      # app.yaml will use the relative build folder to deploy to GCPs
      - name: Copy build to temp folder
        run: cp -r build/ temp_folder/build/

      - name: Copy app.yaml to temp folder
        run: cp app.yaml temp_folder/app.yaml

      - name: List contents of temp folder for verification
        run: ls -l temp_folder/

      - name: Google Cloud Auth
        uses: 'google-github-actions/auth@v2'
          credentials_json: '${{ secrets.GCP_SA_KEY }}'
          project_id: ${{ secrets.GCP_PROJECT_ID }}

      - name: Set up Cloud SDK
        uses: 'google-github-actions/setup-gcloud@v2'

      - name: Deploy to Google Cloud Storage
        run: |
          cd temp_folder
          gcloud app deploy app.yaml --quiet

This workflow triggers on pushes or pull requests to the main branch. It uses GitHub Actions to perform various steps such as building the React app, authenticating with Google Cloud, setting up the Cloud SDK, and deploying the app to Google Cloud Platform.

Step 7: Testing the CI/CD

Push Your Changes to GitHub (on Main Branch):

Ensure your latest changes are pushed to the main branch of your GitHub repository.

Navigate to the ‘Actions’ Tab in GitHub Repository:

Visit your GitHub repository and go to the ‘Actions’ tab.

Check Workflow Status:

Verify the status of your React app deployment workflow using GitHub Actions.

Open the Deployed App URL:

Access the provided URL after a successful deployment in your browser to confirm your React application runs smoothly.

Note: In GitHub Actions logs, the URL might contain masked text (**** text) representing your GCP project ID. Replace **** with your project ID and open the URL in your browser.

Access Google Cloud Engine Services:
Go to Google Cloud, locate and click on App Engine, then navigate to Services in the sidebar. Find your recent deployments and click on the service to open your React App in a new tab.

GitHub Repository Link

Access the complete code reference for this guide by visiting the GitHub Repository.
Feel free to clone the repository and experiment with it on your own!


🚀 Congratulations on mastering the deployment of your React app to Google App Engine and GitHub Actions! 🎉

Embrace this automated workflow to streamline your development journey and propel your projects to new heights. You can refer the above given repository link as and when required. If you have any queries or need guidance, feel free to chat or drop a comment.

Keep coding, exploring, and sharing the joy of efficient deployments! Don’t forget to like and share this guide to inspire others on their deployment adventures! 👍

Happy coding! 💻✨

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

What Is a Landing Page? All Your Questions, Answered

Next Post

For Better Content Leadership, Don’t Blame – Try Cultivating Instead

Related Posts