Google cloud platform: Getting started with GCP virtual machine and run an application in VM instance

In this post we will start with creating an GCP Virtual machine instance and create an express.js web application.

Prerequisite: Have a GCP account with billing enabled. Please refer how to get started with Google Cloud Platform account setup.

Lets open GCP console and create a VM instance. (If you are creating very first time then Google will enforce to enable Compute engine). It will take few seconds to complete and

Configure all the details to define your virtual machine: Click "Create Instance" and provide a valid name for VM. I have used "instance-express-learn". There are multiple ways to create VM(using predefined template, create custom template, etc), I am going ahead with default options of machine configuration.

Click "CREATE" or Copy command from "EQUIVALENT COMMAND LINE" (run command in Cloud shell) to create VM.

What is Google Cloud shell and Where you can find google Cloud shell?

  • Ephemeral VM which offers a terminal on the browser. 
  • Click on Activate Cloud Shell ">". It will open session for executing commands.

Verify VM is running/listing of your VM instances

  • Green tick indicates that VM is successfully created and running. 
  • From cloud shell, run following command and list of all VM's running.When you connect to VMs using the Cloud Console, Compute Engine creates an ephemeral SSH key for you

    n0r0082@m-c02z31rnlvdt ~ % gcloud compute instances list
    instance-express-learn  us-central1-a  e2-medium           34.123.1xx.2xx  RUNNING

We have a running virtual machine with adequate infrastructure spawned with just few clicks/commands. This summarize beautifully why Cloud is a buzzword :) 

How to access GCP VM from local terminal

  1. Please refer Install the Google Cloud CLI / Cloud SDKs by language to setup gcloud locally.
  2. Once gcloud has been setup, we can login to GCP from terminal. First authenticate terminal session using following command.
    n0r0082@m-c02z31rnlvdt ~ % gcloud auth login
    Your browser has been opened to visit:
    &client_id=VERY_BIG_STRING..... You are now logged in as [nikhil*******]. Your current project is [None]. You can change this setting by running: $ gcloud config set project PROJECT_ID Updates are available for some Cloud SDK components. To install them, please run: $ gcloud components update 

    On prompt, click Allow and It will open web browser and enforce to login with an emailId (Use emailId which has been used to create GCP account)


  3. Once authenticated, close web browser or you can go to console. 
  4. Set PROJET_ID as recommended by above command and Run command to list VM's and we will get same result as command ran from Cloud shell.
    n0r0082@m-c02z31rnlvdt ~ % gcloud config set project named-magnet-342122
    Updated property [core/project].
    n0r0082@m-c02z31rnlvdt ~ %
    n0r0082@m-c02z31rnlvdt ~ %
    n0r0082@m-c02z31rnlvdt ~ % gcloud compute instances list
    instance-express-learn  us-central1-a  e2-medium          RUNNING

    • What is PROJECT_ID value? - Fetch PROJECT_ID value from GCP Console. ID value is PROJECT_ID value.

Create express.js web-application in VM:

  1.  Install node.js and update with latest versio{by default node is installed in VM}
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ node --version
    >>>Update node version with latest
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ nvm install stable
    Downloading and installing node v17.6.0...
    ###############################################.... 100.0%
    Computing checksum with sha256sum
    Checksums matched!
    Now using node v17.6.0 (npm v8.5.1)
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ node --version 
  2. Set default to latest version
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ nvm alias default stable
    default -> stable (-> v17.6.0)
  3. Install exress-generator and then using exress-generator create an app named "client-app"
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ npm install -g express-generator
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ npm audit fix --force
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~ (named-magnet-342122)$ npm install -g express-generator
    create : client-app/
       create : client-app/public/
       create : client-app/public/javascripts/
       create : client-app/public/images/
       create : client-app/public/stylesheets/
       create : client-app/public/stylesheets/style.css
       create : client-app/routes/
       create : client-app/routes/index.js
       create : client-app/routes/users.js
       create : client-app/views/
       create : client-app/views/error.jade
       create : client-app/views/index.jade
       create : client-app/views/layout.jade
       create : client-app/app.js
       create : client-app/package.json
       create : client-app/bin/
       create : client-app/bin/www
       change directory:
         $ cd client-app
       install dependencies:
         $ npm install
       run the app:
         $ DEBUG=client-app:* npm start

  4. Start app using following command
    nikhilranjan2712@cloudshell:~/client-app (named-magnet-342122)$ DEBUG=client-app:* npm start   
    > client-app@0.0.0 start
    > node ./bin/www
      client-app:server Listening on port 3000 +0ms
  5. Access application http://localhost:3000. Open a new console and access app using curl command.



  1. I read your blog now share great information here.
    Bobcat hire

  2. I can't express enough how valuable Whizlabs has been in my pursuit of the Google Cloud Architect certification. The information provided on updated exam practice questions is not only accurate but also aligned with the latest industry trends. The training offered a structured learning path, and the online course was a treasure trove of knowledge. The hands-on labs were instrumental in honing my practical skills, making me feel more confident in implementing cloud architectures on GCP. Whizlabs' commitment to providing a holistic approach to certification is truly commendable.


Previous Post Next Post