How to Install the ELK Stack on Google Cloud Platform

install elk stack google cloud

Trying to find the right cloud provider can be difficult, even when you are looking at it for your log and analytics needs. Here at, we use the ELK Stack to monitor our cloud infrastructure as well as offer the log analytics platform as an AI-powered and enterprise-grade cloud service. So, we are always happy to give installation advice whenever we can.

Here, we’ll take a look at installing the ELK Stack on Google Cloud, the cloud infrastructure provided by the popular search engine.

This post is just a proof of concept, but Google Cloud offers a $300 credit for trial users that should be more than enough to deploy an application, get the ELK Stack set up, and prove that it will cover your needs should you want to move forward with Google Cloud.

Logistical Setup

First, you’ll need to set up a Google Cloud Platform account. This is relatively straightforward. Fill out the forms, and you will have your $300/360 Free Trial setup. Setting up your application is easy, it just requires getting the Gcloud SDK setup for CLI deployment.

For this example, we will use a simple ToDo application — the code can be found here. Since the application isn’t the focus here, we can deploy it and hit it a couple of times to ensure that there are some logs to export once we reach this step. The assumption here is that your application will be much more robust and in need of log management.

Getting Started with ELK Setup

Once your application is deployed, logs should start flowing. This means it’s time for the real set up to begin. You begin by setting up Elasticsearch and Kibana on our Google Cloud installation. This is done via the Networking Console in the web interface. To get these pieces in place, you will need to set up firewall rules:

set up google cloud firewall rules

We’ll add Elasticsearch and Kibana with the IP range set to and TCP protocols set to 9200 for Elasticsearch and 5601 for Kibana. (Note: Both are all lowercase as the method prescribed by the Google Cloud Firewall Rules interface.) They should appear in the firewall list as follows:

google cloud firewall list

Now, you can begin to set up the actual ELK Stack. The first step is to set up an instance in Google Cloud Platform. Once the instance is set up, you can SSH into it using the following command:

$ gcloud compute ssh #{instancename}

(This assumes that you have gone through the steps with the CLI to establish a connection.)

Here you will begin the installation of Java, Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. Using the following command sets, each will be installed on your instance.

Install Java

Java installation is simple and straightforward. If you have experience with the programming language, you know to use the following command to make sure that you have the latest, stable version of Java on the instance:

$ sudo apt-get install default-jre

# Installs java and ensures we are using an up to date version. ELK stack requires version 1.8+

Install Elasticsearch

$ wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -
# This will fetch the latest ElasticSearch Version for us

$ sudo apt-get install elasticsearch
# This will complete the installation

You will need to adjust the configuration of Elasticsearch so that you can ensure that the network host is correct. To do so, edit the elasticsearch.yml file:

$ sudo vi /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml

Find the line referring to the portion. It will be commented out. Uncomment the file and make it read “” — be sure to save the file before exiting.

Back in the console, restart Elasticsearch:

$ sudo service elasticsearch restart

Install Logstash

Your next step is to install Logstash. To do so, use the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
# This setups installs for logstash in your system

$ echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/elastic-5.x.list
# This will establish the source for Logstash

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install logstash
# Setting up for Logstash installation

$ sudo service logstash start
# Start the logstash service so we can start shipping logs

Install Kibana

Finally, do the same for the Kibana service so that you will get nice visualizations on your logs:

$ echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kibana-5.3.x.list
# This will establish the source for Kibana

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install kibana
# Setting up for Kibana installation

Similar to Elasticsearch, Kibana will need some configuration adjustments to work. Take a look at kibana.yml to make these changes:

$ sudo vi /etc/kibana/kibana.yml

Find the lines referring to server.port and ensure they say server.port: 5601 and “”. It should only be necessary to uncomment these lines. It may also be necessary to adjust the SSL verify line elasticsearch.ssl.verificationMode: none if you are seeing problems once everything is up and running.

Once this is done, you can start the Kibana service:

$ sudo service kibana start

Success! Well… Mostly

If everything works as planned, you should be able to use the server’s IP with port 5601 specified to see if your setup was successful:

configure index pattern

You’ve come a long way and things are looking up, but you still need to pipe in some logs. For this example, we are going to install MetricBeat to snag system metrics. The installation steps are as follows:

$ sudo apt-get install metricbeat
# Similar installation to the other features of the ELK stack

$ sudo service metricbeat start

Once MetricBeat is up and running, set it as an index pattern in the Kibana management screen as metricbeat-*. This will begin the shipping of logs, and you will have your ELK Stack set up:

shipping logs to google cloud

There are other beats that can deliver other logs, and you can stack various beats. But just for our purposes here, we have shown you how to successfully run logs on the Google Cloud Platform with the ELK Stack.

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19 responses to “How to Install the ELK Stack on Google Cloud Platform”

  1. Writing about setting up ElasticSearch in the Cloud and not even mentioning securing it is just plain wrong! Especially considering the latest trend of blackmail targeting systems (e.g. MongoDB & ElasticSearch) still using authentication defaults.

    • Patrick J. Hagerty Patrick J. Hagerty says:

      Hey Nicolas – we covered that a bit in this post:

      For this post, we wanted to keep in the scope of introducing new ELK stackers with the specifics on how-to install the stack. As such, security was outside the scope of this particular piece. We’d also like folks to know we make this issue easier by ensuring the security of anyone using for their logging needs.

      If you might be interested in writing up a piece on ELK stack security, please let us know!

      • 1. Cool that it’s mentioned in an unrelated post. It’s also mentioned all around the Internet. It doesn’t change the fact that you don’t mention it.
        2. Thanks for your kind proposal. That’s an idea, but I’ve already a lot to write about – besides, I’ve my own blog and don’t need a platform.

  2. Saviour Gidi says:

    Its not accesible from outside. But with curl internal on the, its running alright.

  3. JB says:

    PJ, I followed these instructions but I get a red status when I launch Kibana using the server’s IP with port 5601 specified. The errors state the’ elasticsearch plugin is red’, and ‘Unable to connect to Elasticsearch at http://server.port:9200

    • PJ Hagerty PJ Hagerty says:

      Hey JB – it’s tough to diagnose with just that information, but there may be something incorrectly set in either you kibana file or your elasticsearch file. It’s also possible the firewall rules aren’t correct.

      Alsp, which version of ELK stack are you installing? This article was looking at 5.1.0, but some things may have changed since then.

      • JB says:

        PJ, thanks for the response! I also used your firewall specifications. Doesn’t hang this code ensure the latest version is used?

        wget -qO – | sudo apt-key add –

        I just checked the website, and the version available now is 5.4.3. Would it be possible to use your same tutorial and change the code above to specify version 5.1.0?

        • PJ Hagerty PJ Hagerty says:

          Hey JB – I’m not sure if that will resolve the error, but as that is the version I used, it may help.

          Did you also make sure to adjust the SSL verification line elasticsearch.ssl.verificationMode: none in the kibana.yml?

          • JB says:

            PJ, yes, I adjusted the SSL verification line. Do you have a suggestion for how to change that code for the elastic install that would use version 5.1.0? Or do you think I should try something else to get it to work with then new version? It seems like Kibana is working fine, but Elastic is trying to call to the localhost instead of the server. Thanks for any help you can offer!

          • PJ Hagerty PJ Hagerty says:

            JB – this seems like an interesting problem. I’m trying to figure it out and once I have an answer I’ll post it here.

          • JB says:

            Thanks, PJ!! I really appreciate your help with this!!

          • PJ Hagerty PJ Hagerty says:

            Hey JB – I looked into it and it may have something to do with the version of Java setup by default. Are you sure you have Java 1.8? I was looking through my notes and I found a similar problem when I ran sudo apt-get install default-jre and it installed a previous version. Can you check that out an let me know?

          • JB says:

            PJ, I just checked the version and it is 1.8.0_131, so that shouldn’t be the problem. Are you having the same issue when you try install with the new version of ELK?

          • PJ Hagerty PJ Hagerty says:

            Hey JB,

            I’m trying things out now with 5.5 and I seem to be having the same issue. Once I get it resolved, I’ll let you know what the answer was.

          • JB says:

            Thanks, PJ!! I really appreciate you troubleshooting this issue!

          • JB says:

            PJ, thanks again for looking into this. I was just curious if you had any success or insight into the issues with the new version of elastic/kibana.

          • Daniel Berman says:

            Hi JB – no updates on this yet. Did you try installing the latest version of the stack (5.5)? As soon as we have news, we’ll update the post.

          • JB says:

            Thanks, Daniel. Just tried with 5.5, but unfortunately I’m getting the same end result.

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