How to Create Server Side Container for Google Tag Manager

Last Updated: May 24, 2022

Table of Contents for How to Create Server Side Container for Google Tag Manager 

  1. Create a new container in GTM
  2. Provision of tagging server
  3. Create billing account
  4. Add billing information
  5. Connect billing account
  6. FAQ

In this article, I am going to talk about how to create a server-side container for Google Tag Manager.

Create a new container in GTM

The first step is to create a new container in Google Tag Manager. Follow the below steps:

Step-1: Navigate to Google Tag Manager account and click on ‘Admin’.

Admin GTM

Step-2: Now under the ‘Container’ column click on the ‘+’ button to create a new container.


Step-3: Give your container a descriptive name, select ‘Server’ from the available target platform, and click on ‘Create’.

create server container 1

Once you click on ‘Create’, a pop-up will come like below asking to provide the container with tagging server (Google Cloud App Engine Standard Instance). 

Pop Up

Provision of tagging server

In this step, we have to provide the tagging server details for the new GTM container that we created in the earlier steps.

You have two options to select ‘Automatically provision tagging server’ and ‘Manually provision tagging server’. 

If you are new to Google Cloud Platform you can select the first option where you will need to create a billing account providing your financial details and Google will automatically create a tagging server for you.

If you already have access to Google Cloud Platform and have your own server you can select the ‘Manually provision tagging server’ option. In our case I am going with the first option.

Step-4: Now click on ‘ Automatically provision tagging server’.

Automatically provision tagging server

Create billing account

In this step, we are going to create a billing account required for setting up a server side container.

Step-5: After step-4, you will get a pop up like below. Now click on ‘Create Billing Account’.

create billing account

Step-6: Now add a name to your billing account, select your country and then click on ‘Continue’.

create new billing account

The next step will be to add billing information.

Add billing information

In this step, we are going to provide billing information. 

Step-7: The account information is by default taken by Google, if not you can select the ‘Switch Account’ link and connect with a different account if needed. 

Now check your selected account and select the country. Mark the checkbox under terms of services and click on ‘Continue’.

Account information

Step-8: Now in this step we need to fill ‘Identity Verification and Contact Information’. Google will automatically fetch the contact number associated with the selected account. 

If you want to use a different number you can do it by clicking on ‘Use a different number’, otherwise you can click on ‘Continue’.

Identity Verification and Contact Information

Step-9: You will be redirected to the third step of creating the billing account. Here you have the option to select the account type. Options available are ‘Business’ and ‘Individual’. In this case, I am going to select the ‘Individual’ option. You can skip this step if you want to select the ‘Business’ account.

Click on the Pencil icon beside ‘Account Type’.

account type

Step-10: Now select ‘Individual’.


Step-11: Now add your credit card number, tax information and then click on ‘Start My Free Trial’.

Card number

Step-12: Once you click, you will be redirected to a new page to verify your billing account. You will be charged very less, like 1 or 2 cents, just to verify that you are not a BOT. Click on ‘Continue’.

complete transaction

Once the payment method is verified, you will be redirected to the GTM account settings.

Connect billing account

In this step we will connect the server side container to the billing account.

As you are redirected to the GTM container settings you will get below screen.

Step-13: Now select the billing account that you just created and then click on ‘Select billing account and create server’.

select billing account and start trial

It will take a few minutes to create the server for you and you will see the below screen.

stand by

Once the server is created you will get below screen with information like ‘Container configuration’, ‘Google Cloud Platform Project ID’, ‘Created By’, and ‘Default URL’.

server created

Now click on ‘Close’.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your Google Tag Manager container for server side. Now you need to configure DNS for a GTM server side container which we will see in our next article which is. How to Configure DNS for GTM Server Side Container.

  1. Server Side Tracking for Google Analytics via GTM
  2. How to Configure DNS for GTM Server Side Container
  3. How to send data from Website to Server Side Container
  4. How to set up GA4 via GTM Server Side Tagging
  5. Setting up Facebook Conversion API via Google Tag Manager (GTM)
  6. Google Tag Manager Tutorial
  7. How to set up Data Layer for GTM Server Side Container
  8. GTM Server Side Preview Mode – Tutorial

Frequently asked questions about how to create a server side container for Google Tag Manager 

What is server side tagging in GTM?

Server side tagging is a new way to use Google Tag Manager (aka GTM) in Google’s cloud environment. 

It has its own benefits like reduced page load time, better security and control over the data that you send to Google Analytics and third-party tools. Where a normal Google Tag Manager container resided in a client-side environment, a server-side container resides in the Google Cloud environment. 

Server-side containers also use the same concepts, like tags, triggers and variables,  which you have used earlier. 

A server-side container acts like a proxy in the cloud environment that you own. So instead of sending hits directly to the endpoint server (like in client-side GTM), you send hits to a server-side GTM container and then to the endpoint server which collects the data.

What are the benefits of server-side tagging?

Following are the benefits of server-side tagging.

Reduced page load: One of the great benefits of server-side tagging is reduced page load time. As we define all the tags in server-side containers, the JavaScript loads in the cloud and then sends data to individual third-party servers which collect the information.

More secure and safe: In a typical GTM implementation, the GTM container resides at the client side and the data processing can be exposed to the spammers who can send fake pageviews and events to your Analytics property. But in the case of server-side tagging, the data processing happens in a cloud environment that you own, and that only you have access to. 

Extra control for data collection: Since third-party tools don’t have any direct connection to the user’s device there are no data leaks or setting up third party cookies, you have complete control on what data is being sent to the endpoint tools and these tools are communicating only with your server.

Is server-side tagging in GTM free?

No, server-side tagging comes with the cost incurred to host the server-side container in the cloud. A server-side GTM container is still free to use and the cost incurred is only to host it in the cloud.

In general, a minimum of three servers are required in the Google Cloud Platform to host this solution and it may cost up to $120 USD per month. If you track more data and process it in the cloud, the solution will be a higher price depending on the server calls.

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