How to Deploy an App from GitHub with AWS CodeDeploy

Application development is comprised of different stages. One such critical step is app deployment and code management. In this article, we’re going to share how you can use a deployment system that will enable you to automate the deployment and updating of your application – AWS CodeDeploy. It’s one of the three AWS tools which will help you integrate, deploy, and manage your app on the cloud: CodeDeploy, CodeCommit, and CodePipeline.

What Exactly is AWS CodeDeploy?

AWS CodeDeploy is deployment system that enables a developer or a team of developers to automate the software release process. In other words, it is a collection of settings that relates to the environment on which the application is to be deployed, how many instances can be implemented at once, and so on. It efficiently deploys your code to a fleet of EC2 instances while leaving as much of the fleet online as possible. The size of a fleet can vary from a single instance to thousands of instances.
The first step to getting started with AWS Code deploys is setting up EC2 instances. Then, you’ll need to tag them – this will allow you to define deployment groups, install the CodeDeploy agent on your hosts, and set up trust-roles to allow communication between the CodeDeploy and CodeDeploy agents.

The Key Functions of CodeDeploy

CodeDeploy also specifies information regarding the trusted role which automates the communication between the various EC2 instances and CodeDeploy. However, CodeDeploy doesn’t specify the code to be deployed or what to do during the deployment. The code to be implemented is stored as an archive in S3 and is referred to as an Application Revision. The “how to deploy” component of CodeDeploy is specified by the AppSpec file located inside the Application Revision. Here’s what you need to know about them:

  • AppSpec: This file resides in the repo and communicates with the CodeDeploy by indicating applications to be deployed, the location in they are to be deployed to, and allow you to specify the lifecycle scripts. These scripts are to be run at different stages during deployment and can be used to stop the service, install dependencies, and run database migrations.
  • Application Revision: It is a zip file which contains all the codes to be deployed. You can create it by packaging up the entire repo or a sub-directory of the repo. This file must be stored in the application review using the syntax <application-root>/appspec.yml.

Since you will have one application in your repo when you package up the entire repo, you can then create your Application Revision (excluding the .git). When you do this, appsec.yml needs to be replaced in your repo root directory.
Now that we’ve learned what CodeDeploy is and established how it works, let’s move on to the steps which will show you how to deploy an application from GitHub with AWS CodeDeploy.

Deploying an Application from GitHub with AWS CodeDeploy

  1. Installing and setting up your GitHub account: First download and install GitHub on your system. If you want to use AWS CLI to install a revision from GitHub over the instance, also install and configure the AWS CLI.
  2. For creating a repository, you will be required to open GitHub account, so start with registering. You will just need to provide an email address, a username, and also the password.
  3. Creating a GitHub repository: The next step after registering is creating a repository which will be used to store a revision. If you have an existing repository, rename it to CodeDeployGitHubDemo and skip this step and move ahead. However if you don’t then follow these steps:

Now over the GitHub home page, perform either of the subsequent steps:

  1. Over Your repositories, select New Repository.
    Over navigation bar, select Create new (+), and pick New repository.
    Now, over Create a new repository page, perform the following task:
Over the Repository name box, type CodeDeployGitHubDemo.
Choose Public.
Remove Initialize this repository with README check box. You need to create a file
in the following step.
Select Create repository
Now, after creating a repository, you will need to follow the following instruction
for using the command line. These guidelines differ from the operating system you're using:

For Unix or Linux: From the terminal, you need to run the below-mentioned commands, in sequence, where the username will be your GitHub username.

mkdir /tmp/CodeDeployGitHubDemo
cd /tmp/CodeDeployGitHubDemo
git init
git add
git commit -m "My first commit"
git remote add origin
git push -u origin master

You should then leave the command prompt open in the /tmp/CodeDeployGitHubDemo location.
For Windows: As an administrator, from the command prompt, run the following commands, in sequence:

mkdir c:\temp\CodeDeployGitHubDemocd c:\temp\CodeDeployGitHubDemonotepad

Now, in the notepad save the file. Close the notepad. Run the following commands, in sequence, where again the username will be your GitHub username:

git init
git add
git commit -m "My first commit"
git remote add origin
git push -u origin master

Then leave the command prompt open in the /tmp/CodeDeployGitHubDemo location.

  1. Uploading the Application to your GitHub Repository: When you’re uploading the application using a revision make sure it follows the guidelines in Plan a Revision and Add an AppSpec File which we discussed earlier.
  2. If the change follows the guidelines, then you’re ready for deploying the application to the instance.
  3. Procuring an Instance: You will need to create an Amazon EC2 instance running any server such as Linux, Windows, RHEL or Ubuntu instance configured for use in AWS CodeDeploy deployments. Once you have verified and installed an instance set with AWS CodeDeploy, proceed to the next step.
  4. Connecting the Application to the Instance: Now you are required to use the AWS CodeDeploy console for deploying the revision from the GitHub repository to the instance. Shadow the following steps for using the change:
  5. You need to sign into the AWS Management console and then open the AWS CodeDeploy console and sign in using the credentials used earlier.
    Select create new applications and key CodeDeployGitHubDemo-App.
    Now, over the deployment group name box, key in CodeDeployGitHubDemo-DepGrp and choose a type tag.
    Now, go to the Deployment Config, Service Role ARN.
    Select Create Application.

Over the Application details page, in Deployment groups, select the button next to CodeDeployGitHubDemo-DepGrp.
In the Actions menu, select Deploy New Revision.
Over the Create New Deployment page, in the Revision Type area, select My application is stored in GitHub.
Select Connect with GitHub. The page which appears will ask you to authorize AWS CodeDeploy for interacting with GitHub for the application known as CodeDeployGitHubDemo-App.
Shadow the instructions over the Sign in the page to sign in with the GitHub account.
Now, on the Authorize application page, select Authorize Application.
On the AWS CodeDeploy Create New Deployment page, in the Repository Name box, key in the GitHub username which you had used while signing in, followed by a forward slash (/), followed by the name of the repository where you pushed your application revision (for instance, My-GitHub-User-Name/CodeDeployGitHubDemo)
If you are not sure about value to type, or if you need to specify a different repository:

  1. In a different web browser tab, open your GitHub dashboard.
  2. In Your repositories, hover your mouse pointer on the target repository name. A tooltip will appear which will display the GitHub user or organization name, followed by a forward slash character (/), followed by the name of the repository. Key in this displayed value on to the Repository Name box.

Over the Commit ID box, key in the ID of the commit associated with the push of your application revision to GitHub.
If you are not sure of the value to type:

  1. In a different web browser tab, open your GitHub dashboard.
  2. In your repositories, select CodeDeployGitHubDemo.
  3. In the list of commits, search and copy the commit ID associated with the push of your application revision to GitHub. The ID is typically 40 characters in length and comprises both numbers and letters.
  4. Key in the commit ID into the Commit ID box.

Leave the Deployment Description box blank.
Leave the Deployment Config drop-down list at the default of CodeDeployDefault.OneAtATime,
and select Deploy Now.


You now know how to deploy an application with GitHub and AWS CodeDeploy. If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below. For more information about CodeDeploy and other development best practices on AWS, take a look at our Developer Fundamentals for AWS course. It’s jam-packed with information about CodeDeploy, CodeCommit, and CodePipeline.

Reference: Tutorial: Deploy an Application from GitHub Using AWS … (n.d.). Retrieved from


Written by

Sudhi Seshachala

Sudhi is part of Cloud Technology Partners & is a trusted advisor and strategic consultant to many C level executives and IT Directors. He brings 18+ years diverse experience covering software, IT operations, cloud technologies, and management. Have led several global teams in HP, Sun/Oracle, SeeBeyond and few startups to deliver scalable and highly available business/technology products and solutions. He has expertise in systems management, monitoring and integrated SaaS and on-premise applications addressing a wide range of business problems.

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