Getting started with AppVeyor for Linux


Some benefits of running Linux builds on AppVeyor:

  • Multiple source control systems supported:
    • and GitHub Enterprise
    • and Bitbucket Server
    • and GitLab Enterprise
    • Azure DevOps (both Git and TFVC repositories)
    • Kiln
    • Gitea
    • Any other Git, Mercurial or Subversion repository
  • Configure CI for your projects via UI or in dot-file.
  • Full sudo access to VM running build
  • Promoted deployments - build once and deploy the same packages to multiple environments.
  • Official out-of-the-box .NET Core support - automatic build, test and packaging of .NET Core projects.
  • SQL Server 2017 for Linux.
  • Bash and PowerShell Core for build flow control.
  • Side-by-side configuration for both Windows and Linux builds.
  • Pre-installed Docker service.
  • Built-in NuGet server.
  • Single cross-platform Build Worker API as on Windows (messages, test results).

Running your build on Linux

To run your build on Ubuntu image either add the following line to your appveyor.yml:

image: Ubuntu

or if you don’t use appveyor.yml select Ubuntu image on Environment tab of AppVeyor project settings.

You can also put project configuration in .appveyor.yml dot-file in the root of your repo. AppVeyor searches repo for appveyor.yml first and then for .appveyor.yml.

Build configuration basics

General build flow

  • init scripts
  • Update /etc/hosts file
  • Clone repository
  • Restore build cache
  • Configure stack
  • install scripts
  • Start services
  • Patch version in .csproj and AssemblyInfo.cs files
  • “build” phase
  • “test” phase
  • “package” phase
  • “deploy” phase
  • on_success scripts
  • on_failure scripts (if the build has failed)
  • on_finish scripts

Quick start

Below is a minimal appveyor.yml to test Node.js project:

image: Ubuntu

- npm install

- npm test

build: off

build phase should be off as, by default, it’s set to MSBuild mode for automatic discovery and building of .NET Core projects (see the section below).

Bash and PowerShell

You can use both Bash and PowerShell commands simultanously to control the build flow.

To run Bash command either put it with sh: prefix or without it, for example the following two commands will be run in Bash shell:

- ls -al
- sh: sudo apt-get update

To run command in PowerShell session use ps: or pwsh: prefixes, for example:

- ps: Write-Host "Hello, world!"

AppVeyor keeps the same Bash and PowerShell shells for the duration of the build and all commands run in the same context. That means, for example, that local variable defined on install stage is available on later stages:

- ps: $my_variable = 'Test value'

- ps: Write-Host "This is $my_variable"

AppVeyor exchanges environment variables and current directory between Bash and PowerShell shells. Environment variable defined in Bash command is immediately available in PowerShell command next to it and vice versa:

- MY_VAR=test
- ps: $env:MY_VAR

Environment variable names are case-sensitive on Linux platform.

Premature termination of the build process

false command in Bash “gracefully” terminates the build with “red” status by running on_failure and on_finish commands.

throw "some error message" statement in PowerShell “gracefully” terminates the build with “red” status by running on_failure and on_finish commands.

exit 0 in Bash immediately terminates the build with “green” status; without running on_success and on_finish commands.

exit <non-zero> in Bash immediately terminates the build with “red” status without running on_failure and on_finish commands.

appveyor exit in Bash “gracefully” terminates build with “green” status by running on_success and on_finish commands.

Exit-AppveyorBuild in PowerShell “gracefully” terminates build with “green” status by running on_success and on_finish commands.

Configuring language stack

AppVeyor for Linux provides a new stack definition for quick configuration of languages and services used by your build/tests:

stack: <language|service> [version], <language|service> [version], ...

For example, to enable the latest Node.js 9.x and MySQL add this to your appveyor.yml:

stack: node 9, mysql

The following languages can be configured in stack:

  • node <version> - select Node.js
  • go <version> - Golang
  • ruby <version> - Ruby
  • jdk <version> - Java
  • python <version> - Python

The following services can be configured in stack:

  • docker
  • mongodb
  • mssql
  • mysql
  • postgresql (or pgsql)
  • rabbitmq
  • redis

“build” phase

Build phase could be either your own scripts, be enabled to build .NET Core project(s) or be turned off.

For your own scripts use build_script section, for example:

- mvn install

For automated building .NET Core projects please see “.NET Core support” section below.

To disable build phase completely put this:

build: off

“test” phase

Test phase could be either your own scripts, be enabled to discover and test .NET COre project(s) or be turned off.

For your own scripts use test_script section, for example:

- npm test

For automated testing of .NET Core projects please see “.NET Core support” section below.

To disable test phase completely put this:

test: off

Running Windows and Linux builds side-by-side

You can use the same appveyor.yml to control builds running on both Windows and Linux platforms.

First, start from adding a matrix of build images. For example, to run build on both Visual Studio 2015 and Ubuntu images add the following:

  - Visual Studio 2015
  - Ubuntu

With matrix you can specialize configuration for different jobs or keep flat configuration using approaches described below.

Prefix command with cmd: to run it on Windows image only:

- cmd: echo Hey, I'm displayed on Windows only!

Prefix command with sh: to run it on Linux image only:

- sh: printf "I'll be shown on Linux!"

Do not prefix command to run it on both Windows and Linux. You have to make sure the command is good for both Windows batch files and Bash:

- dir
- echo I'm running on both Windows and Linux!

PowerShell commands prefixed with ps: and pwsh: (on Linux they both run as PowerShell Core) run on both Windows and Linux, however you can distinguish between platforms by using the following PowerShell variables:

  • $isLinux is $true on Linux
  • $isWindows is $true on Windows

For example, the following command will print different message for the same build running on Windows and Linux:

- ps: |
    if ($isLinux) {
      Write-Host "This is Linux!"
    } else {
      Write-Host "This is NOT a Linux!"

AppVeyor also introduces two new environment variables defining platform:

  • CI_WINDOWS is true if the build is running on Windows-based image; otherwise false.
  • CI_LINUX is true if the build is running on Linux-based image; otherwise false.

You can use these environment variables in bash, Bash and PowerShell commands.

Also, there APPVEYOR_YML_DISABLE_PS_LINUX tweak environment variable that disables execution of PowerShell commands on Linux-based images, for example:


- ps: Write-Host "This command won't be run on Linux"
- sh: printf "This command will be run on Linux only"


Ubuntu build workers have Docker service pre-installed.

To enable Docker add this line to appveyor.yml:

- docker

Then you can use Docker in your build, for example:

- docker run hello-world

.NET Core support

AppVeyor for Linux has built-in first-class support for building, testing, packaging and deploying .NET Core applications and libraries.

To enable automatic discovery and building of .NET Core solution add to appveyor.yml:

  verbosity: minimal

The construction above will make AppVeyor looking for .sln file in the root of the repository first and then recursively in sub-directories.

To specify direct path to .sln or .csproj file add:

  project: MySolution.sln
  verbosity: minimal

By default, AppVeyor uses the latest .NET Core SDK installed to build the project, however you can pin-point exact version of SDK with global.json file in the root of your repo.

Build configuration (Debug or Release) can be specified as:

configuration: Release

Similarly to patching version attributes in AssemblyInfo.* files AppVeyor for Linux can patch <Version> elements in .csproj files. To enable .csproj file patching add:

  patch: true
  file: '**\*.csproj'
  version: '{version}'
  package_version: '{version}'
  assembly_version: '{version}'
  file_version: '{version}'
  informational_version: '{version}'

Note that <Version> and other version-related elements should exist already in .csproj file - AppVeyor won’t add them for you.

AppVeyor provides automatic packaging for the following types of .NET Core projects:

  • Any .NET Core project with “Generate NuGet package on build” option enabled on “Package” tab enabled.
  • ASP.NET Core web application.
  • .NET Core console application.

You can enable automatic packaging by adding this to appveyor.yml:

  project: MySolution.sln
  publish_nuget: true
  publish_aspnet_core: true
  publish_core_console: true
  verbosity: minimal

NuGet packages will be automatically published to account and project NuGet feeds.

Both ASP.NET Core and .NET Core console projects will be published to .zip files and pushed to build artifacts. You can deploy them later with one of the supported deployment methods described below.

By default, if you ommit test section in appveyor.yml AppVeyor will assume Auto mode working in pair with MSBuild build mode. In Auto mode AppVeyor will run tests against all test projects found in the solution.

SQL Server 2017 for Linux

With AppVeyor for Linux you can test your ASP.NET Core applications on Linux platform with SQL Server 2017 for Linux.

To start SQL Server 2017 for Linux service add this to your appveyor.yml:

- mssql

SQL Server 2017 instance details:

  • Host: localhost
  • Password: Password12!

sqlcmd command line is available to execute commands against SQL Server instance. For example, to print SQL Server version use this:

- sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA -P Password12! -Q 'select @@VERSION'

Accessing build VM via SSH

There is an article about how to access Linux build worker via SSH.


Build cache works the same as for Windows build workers.


Packaging artifacts works the same as for Windows build workers.


AppVeyor Build Agent for Linux has similar deployment functionality as on Windows.

The following deployment providers are currently supported by AppVeyor for Linux:

Pre-installed software

Software pre-installed on Linux build VMs

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