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Phan Công Thắng
Phan Công Thắng

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

How to deploy a nextjs app to AWS EC2 with Github action

I want to deploy an application to AWS. In the first time, I was overwhelmed with the architecture of AWS and couldn't find tutorials for people without knowledge AWS. So I wrote this post for people who don't want to spend too much time on cloud.

Basic concepts


AWS ECR is where consists of all encrypted docker images. AWS ECS will consume these docker images.


AWS ECS controls the way your images is run. It has 3 main concepts: cluster, service, task definitions.

  • Cluster: the center of ECS that consist of services, tasks.
  • Service: help you control tasks how task run, how many tasks will run, etc.
  • Task definitions: where you can add docker image.


You can think it helps us secure and computes the size of our applications. We can restrict IPs that have permission to access our application.

I'm going to use this flow to deploy my next app.


Setup project

Next app

  • Let's run this command to initiate a next app with create-next-app:
npx create-next-app --typescript
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  • Give it a name: demo-deploy hit enter and wait for it runs.

  • We need to create a docker file for our app. Let's do it:

FROM node:16-alpine3.11

WORKDIR /demo-deploy


COPY . /demo-deploy

RUN npm install

CMD ["npm", "run", "dev"]
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Setup AWS

Create IAM user

We have to have an account in order to interact with AWS console. You need to create a IAM user.

  • You have to setup an IAM user Administrator, a key pair for EC2 in order to unlock ECS. Click here and do as instructed.


And hit Administrator to create a couple of access key - access secret we need to use later.
Access Key

  • We're going to create cluster, service and task definition for AWS ECS. Click here in order to move on the console screen.

Select Create Cluster then choose EC2 Linux Networking,
click Next step. There are three important things you need to set up as the image below.

ECS Cluster

Note: key pair which you have just created in previous steps.

Click Create new Task Definition select EC2

Demo Task

Hit Add container and config like the image below. The first time image we set null temporary.
It will be updated by the image from ECR that was uploaded through Github action.

Demo container

Finally, we will create service:
Demo service

Setup Github action
  • In the nextjs app we're going to create config file .github/workflows/pipeline.yml.

name: Deploy to Amazon ECS

    types: [created]

  AWS_REGION: ap-northeast-1 # set this to your preferred AWS region, e.g. us-west-1
  ECR_REPOSITORY: demo-deploy # set this to your Amazon ECR repository name
  ECS_SERVICE: demo-service # set this to your Amazon ECS service name
  ECS_CLUSTER: demo-cluster # set this to your Amazon ECS cluster name
    .aws/task-definition.json # set this to the path to your Amazon ECS task definition
    # file, e.g. .aws/task-definition.json
    demo-container # set this to the name of the container in the
    # containerDefinitions section of your task definition

    shell: bash

    name: Deploy
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      packages: write
      contents: read

      - name: Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Configure AWS credentials
        uses: aws-actions/configure-aws-credentials@13d241b293754004c80624b5567555c4a39ffbe3
          aws-access-key-id: ${{ secrets.AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
          aws-secret-access-key: ${{ secrets.AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}
          aws-region: ${{ env.AWS_REGION }}

      - name: Login to Amazon ECR
        id: login-ecr
        uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecr-login@aaf69d68aa3fb14c1d5a6be9ac61fe15b48453a2

      - name: Build, tag, and push image to Amazon ECR
        id: build-image
          ECR_REGISTRY: ${{ steps.login-ecr.outputs.registry }}
          IMAGE_TAG: ${{ github.sha }}
        run: |
          # Build a docker container and
          # push it to ECR so that it can
          # be deployed to ECS.
          docker build -t $ECR_REGISTRY/$ECR_REPOSITORY:$IMAGE_TAG .
          echo "::set-output name=image::$ECR_REGISTRY/$ECR_REPOSITORY:$IMAGE_TAG"
      - name: Fill in the new image ID in the Amazon ECS task definition
        id: task-def
        uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecs-render-task-definition@97587c9d45a4930bf0e3da8dd2feb2a463cf4a3a
          task-definition: ${{ env.ECS_TASK_DEFINITION }}
          container-name: ${{ env.CONTAINER_NAME }}
          image: ${{ }}

      - name: Deploy Amazon ECS task definition
        uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecs-deploy-task-definition@de0132cf8cdedb79975c6d42b77eb7ea193cf28e
          task-definition: ${{ steps.task-def.outputs.task-definition }}
          service: ${{ env.ECS_SERVICE }}
          cluster: ${{ env.ECS_CLUSTER }}
          wait-for-service-stability: true
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You only have to change some values in env: that you just created in ECS steps and a value for AWS_REGION.

  • Create a file json .aws/task-definition.json. You need to go to the ECS console hit Task Definitions and copy content from JSON tab then paste it to task-definition.json.

  • Create new repo on Github with name demo-deploy.
    Then hit Settings -> Secrets, create new secret for this repo with name AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY that you created in Setup AWS ECS step.


Release repo, confirm result

  • We need to commit code to the remote repo. And trigger an action release then Github action will deploy to AWS ECS.

Github action

  • We need to come back AWS ECS, access the service we just created before.
    Success service

  • Hit the content in task tab we will see
    Success task

  • Click id in EC2 instance id we will redirect to EC2 console.

EC2 instance

  • Click Open address in Public IPv4 DNS we are able to view our app.

Next app

If it doesn't work, you will have to change https -> http or see the VPC ID in EC2 instance and go to Security group in order to add Inbound rules.

Security group

I hope this guide was helpful for those of you looking to deploy a next app to AWS ECS. Feel free to refer source code .

Top comments (12)

ptejada profile image
Pablo Tejada • Edited on

I like the guide with the screenshots but for a Next.js app Amplify is so much more practical and cost effective. You literally just have to connect your repo and you are good to go.

thangphan37 profile image
Phan Công Thắng Author

Totally agree with you. It's so easy to deploy a next app with Amplify.😅

alejomartinez8 profile image
Alejandro Martinez

I have had that question, what's the difference to deploy on EC2 and Amplify?, in my job they have it on EC2, but I found many docs with Amplify. Thanks. Greate Article!

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thangphan37 profile image
Phan Công Thắng Author

I think You can secure, compute your app with EC2. But using Amplify you can't do that. Amplify can be useful in case You want to deploy apps quickly.

Thread Thread
ptejada profile image
Pablo Tejada

What do you mean by secure?

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thangphan37 profile image
Phan Công Thắng Author

I think You can restrict what IP can access to the resources that you have deployed to EC2!

Thread Thread
ptejada profile image
Pablo Tejada

I mean EC2 is not serverless for sure. You can also create EC2 snapshots.

I am really not sure the point you are trying to make here. If you want whitelist access to your serverless service you can do that as well. It will definitely not look like whitelisting access to an EC2, and they should not look alike because they are two different things.

alejomartinez8 profile image
Alejandro Martinez

I have an error on build step, name unknown: The repository with name 'demo-deploy' does not exist in the registry with id '***', I don't know what I missing.

thangphan37 profile image
Phan Công Thắng Author • Edited on

Hmm, Did this error come from github-action 's log or ECS's log ?

alejomartinez8 profile image
Alejandro Martinez

From github-action's log, my repo is here maybe I don't understand the ECR configuration

This code is from my aws? uses: aws-actions/configure-aws-credentials@13d241b293754004c80624b5567555c4a39ffbe3 I saw in this repo they just use uses: aws-actions/amazon-ecr-login@v1 there are any difference?

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thangphan37 profile image
Phan Công Thắng Author

Did you create a repo in ECR envinronment?

I think the matter isn't uses's config, it's only the version of amazon-ecr-login that you would like to set up.

karanpratapsingh profile image
Karan Pratap Singh

Great article!

Classic DEV Post from 2020:

js visualized

🚀⚙️ JavaScript Visualized: the JavaScript Engine

As JavaScript devs, we usually don't have to deal with compilers ourselves. However, it's definitely good to know the basics of the JavaScript engine and see how it handles our human-friendly JS code, and turns it into something machines understand! 🥳

Happy coding!