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Low cost Dynamic Rendering with rendertron on Cloud Run

uiur profile image zato ・3 min read

If you have a single-page application (SPA) and wanna do some SEO for it, Dynamic Rendering is a good option.
Unlike server-side rendering, you can put the web pages on search index without changing server-side code.

Google provides rendertron to achieve Dynamic Rendering.
And there's a deployment configuration of Google App Engine (GAE) in the repository, so you can deploy it easily to GAE.

Actually, I used rendertron with a production application for over six months. It worked well for SEO.
But the problem was the cost.

At that time, the server cost was $1,500 / month, for only rendertron.

Moving from GAE to Cloud Run

I've used Cloud Run for some times and consider moving rendertron to it.

In terms of instance-per-hour cost, Cloud Run is much cheaper than App Engine:

App Engine (F4 instance, 2.4GHz, memory 1GB): $0.26 /hour
Cloud Run (cpu v1, memory 1GB, tier 1): $0.095 / hour
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Cloud Run needs a docker image, but Rendertron doesn't have dockerfile now.
I cloned rendertron repository and added Dockerfile:

FROM node:12-slim

RUN apt-get update \
  && apt-get install -y wget gnupg \
  && wget -q -O - | apt-key add - \
  && sh -c 'echo "deb [arch=amd64] stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list' \
  && apt-get update \
  && apt-get install -y google-chrome-stable fonts-ipafont-gothic fonts-wqy-zenhei fonts-thai-tlwg fonts-kacst fonts-freefont-ttf libxss1 libxtst6 \
  --no-install-recommends \
  && rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*

WORKDIR /rendertron
COPY . /rendertron

RUN npm install
RUN npm run build

ENV NODE_ENV production

CMD ["npm", "run", "start"]
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And it needs puppeteerArgs option in config.json:

  "puppeteerArgs": ["--no-sandbox", "--disable-dev-shm-usage"]
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Also I set cacheMaxEntries to keep cache (config.json):

  "cacheConfig": {
    "cacheMaxEntries": -1
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I built docker images with Cloud Build and deployed it on Cloud Run successfully.

nginx configuration

In our case, I need to proxy requests from search engine crawlers to rendertron.

My nginx config is like:

server {
  location / {
    try_files $uri/index.html $uri @prerender;

  location /static/ {
    expires max;
    add_header Cache-Control public;

  location @prerender {
    set $prerender 0;
    if ($http_user_agent ~* "googlebot|bingbot|yandex|baiduspider|twitterbot|facebookexternalhit|rogerbot|linkedinbot|embedly|quora link preview|showyoubot|outbrain|pinterest|slackbot|vkShare|W3C_Validator|Linespider") {
      set $prerender 1;
    if ($args ~ "_escaped_fragment_") {
      set $prerender 1;
    if ($http_user_agent ~ "Prerender") {
      set $prerender 0;
    if ($uri ~* "\.(js|css|xml|less|png|jpg|jpeg|gif|pdf|doc|txt|ico|rss|zip|mp3|rar|exe|wmv|doc|avi|ppt|mpg|mpeg|tif|wav|mov|psd|ai|xls|mp4|m4a|swf|dat|dmg|iso|flv|m4v|torrent|ttf|woff|svg|eot)") {
      set $prerender 0;

    # WORKAROUND: there's something wrong with accept-encoding: deflate. rewrite accept-enconding header here to avoid it.
    proxy_hide_header Accept-Encoding;
    proxy_set_header Accept-Encoding "gzip";

    if ($prerender = 1) {
      rewrite .* /render/https://$host$request_uri? break;

    if ($prerender = 0) {
      rewrite .* /index.html break;
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I did some tuning such as changing the number of cpu cores and tweaking concurrency.

The result was 10x cheaper than before: $150/month (before $1,500/month)
It's been running without any maintenance for over 3 months.

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