Introduction to Docker


1. Prerequisites

There are no specific skills needed for this tutorial beyond a basic comfort with the command line and using a text editor. Prior experience in developing web applications will be helpful but is not required.

2. Docker Installation

Getting all the tooling setup on your computer can be a daunting task, but not with Docker. Getting Docker up and running on your favorite OS (Mac/Windows/Linux) is very easy.

The getting started guide on Docker has detailed instructions for setting up Docker on Mac/Windows/Linux.


If you’re using Docker for Windows make sure you have shared your drive.

If you’re using an older version of Windows or MacOS you may need to use Docker Machine instead.

All commands work in either bash or Powershell on Windows.


Depending on how you’ve installed Docker on your system, you might see a permission denied error after running the above command. If you’re on Linux, you may need to prefix your Docker commands with sudo. Alternatively to run docker command without sudo, you need to add your user (who has root privileges) to docker group. For this run:

Create the docker group:

$ sudo groupadd docker

Add your user to the docker group:

$ sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

Log out and log back in so that your group membership is re-evaluated

2.1 Testing Docker installation

Once you are done installing Docker, test your Docker installation by running the following command to make sure you are using version 1.13 or higher:

$ docker --version
Docker version 17.09.0-ce, build afdb6d4

When run without --version you should see a whole bunch of lines showing the different options available with docker. Alternatively you can test your installation by running the following:

$ docker run hello-world
Unable to find image 'hello-world:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from library/hello-world
03f4658f8b78: Pull complete
a3ed95caeb02: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:8be990ef2aeb16dbcb9271ddfe2610fa6658d13f6dfb8bc72074cc1ca36966a7
Status: Downloaded newer image for hello-world:latest

Hello from Docker.
This message shows that your installation appears to be working correctly.

To generate this message, Docker took the following steps:
 1. The Docker client contacted the Docker daemon.
 2. The Docker daemon pulled the "hello-world" image from the Docker Hub.
 3. The Docker daemon created a new container from that image which runs the
    executable that produces the output you are currently reading.
 4. The Docker daemon streamed that output to the Docker client, which sent it
    to your terminal.

3. Running Docker containers from prebuilt images

Now that you have everything setup, it’s time to get our hands dirty. In this section, you are going to run a container from Alpine Linux (a lightweight linux distribution) image on your system and get a taste of the docker run command.

But wait, what exactly is a container and image?

Containers - Running instances of Docker images — containers run the actual applications. A container includes an application and all of its dependencies. It shares the kernel with other containers, and runs as an isolated process in user space on the host OS.

Images - The file system and configuration of our application which are used to create containers. To find out more about a Docker image, run docker inspect hello-world. In the demo above, you could have used the docker pull command to download the hello-world image. However when you executed the command docker run hello-world, it also did a docker pull behind the scenes to download the hello-world image with latest tag (we will learn more about tags little later).

Now that we know what a container and image is, let’s run the following command in our terminal:

$ docker run alpine ls -l
total 52
drwxr-xr-x    2 root     root          4096 Dec 26  2016 bin
drwxr-xr-x    5 root     root           340 Jan 28 09:52 dev
drwxr-xr-x   14 root     root          4096 Jan 28 09:52 etc
drwxr-xr-x    2 root     root          4096 Dec 26  2016 home
drwxr-xr-x    5 root     root          4096 Dec 26  2016 lib
drwxr-xr-x    5 root     root          4096 Dec 26  2016 media

Similar to docker run hello-world command in the demo above, docker run alpine ls -l command fetches the alpine:latest image from the Docker registry first, saves it in our system and then runs a container from that saved image.

When you run docker run alpine, you provided a command ls -l, so Docker started the command specified and you saw the listing

You can use the docker images command to see a list of all images on your system

$ docker images
REPOSITORY              TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             VIRTUAL SIZE
alpine                  latest              c51f86c28340        4 weeks ago         1.109 MB
hello-world             latest              690ed74de00f        5 months ago        960 B

Let’s try something more exciting.

$ docker run alpine echo "Hello world"
Hello world

OK, that’s some actual output. In this case, the Docker client dutifully ran the echo command in our alpine container and then exited it. If you’ve noticed, all of that happened pretty quickly. Imagine booting up a virtual machine, running a command and then killing it. Now you know why they say containers are fast!

Try another command.

$ docker run alpine sh

Wait, nothing happened! Is that a bug? Well, no. These interactive shells will exit after running any scripted commands such as sh, unless they are run in an interactive terminal - so for this example to not exit, you need to docker run -it alpine sh. You are now inside the container shell and you can try out a few commands like ls -l, uname -a and others.

Before doing that, now it’s time to see the docker ps command which shows you all containers that are currently running.

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES

Since no containers are running, you see a blank line. Let’s try a more useful variant: docker ps -a

$ docker ps -a
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS                      PORTS               NAMES
36171a5da744        alpine              "/bin/sh"                5 minutes ago       Exited (0) 2 minutes ago                        fervent_newton
a6a9d46d0b2f        alpine             "echo 'hello from alp"    6 minutes ago       Exited (0) 6 minutes ago                        lonely_kilby
ff0a5c3750b9        alpine             "ls -l"                   8 minutes ago       Exited (0) 8 minutes ago                        elated_ramanujan
c317d0a9e3d2        hello-world         "/hello"                 34 seconds ago      Exited (0) 12 minutes ago                       stupefied_mcclintock

What you see above is a list of all containers that you ran. Notice that the STATUS column shows that these containers exited a few minutes ago.

If you want to run scripted commands such as sh, they should be run in an interactive terminal. In addition, interactive terminal allows you to run more than one command in a container. Let’s try that now:

$ docker run -it alpine sh
/ # ls
bin    dev    etc    home   lib    media  mnt    proc   root   run    sbin   srv    sys    tmp    usr    var
/ # uname -a
Linux de4bbc3eeaec 4.9.49-moby #1 SMP Wed Sep 27 23:17:17 UTC 2017 x86_64 Linux

Running the run command with the -it flags attaches us to an interactive tty in the container. Now you can run as many commands in the container as you want. Take some time to run your favorite commands.

Exit out of the container by giving the exit command.

/ # exit


If you type exit your container will exit and is no longer active. To check that, try the following:

$ docker ps -l
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                 COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS                          PORTS                    NAMES
de4bbc3eeaec        alpine                "/bin/sh"                3 minutes ago       Exited (0) About a minute ago                            pensive_leavitt

If you want to keep the container active, then you can use keys ctrl +p, ctrl +q. To make sure that it is not exited run the same docker ps -a command again:

$ docker ps -l
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                 COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS                         PORTS                    NAMES
0db38ea51a48        alpine                "sh"                     3 minutes ago       Up 3 minutes                                            elastic_lewin

Now if you want to get back into that container, then you can type docker attach <container id>. This way you can save your container:

$ docker attach 0db38ea51a48

4. Deploying web applications with Docker

Great! so you have now looked at docker run, played with a Docker containers and also got the hang of some terminology. Armed with all this knowledge, you are now ready to get to the real stuff — deploying web applications with Docker.

4.1 Deploying static website

Let’s start by taking baby-steps. First, we’ll use Docker to run a static website in a container. The website is based on an existing image and in the next section we will see how to build a new image and run a website in that container. We’ll pull a Docker image from Dockerhub, run the container, and see how easy it is to set up a web server.


Code for this section is in this repo in the static-site directory

The image that you are going to use is a single-page website that was already created for this demo and is available on the Dockerhub as dockersamples/static-site. You can pull and run the image directly in one go using docker run as follows.

$ docker run -d dockersamples/static-site


The -d flag enables detached mode, which detaches the running container from the terminal/shell and returns your prompt after the container starts.

So, what happens when you run this command?

Since the image doesn’t exist on your Docker host (laptop/computer), the Docker daemon first fetches it from the registry and then runs it as a container.

Now that the server is running, do you see the website? What port is it running on? And more importantly, how do you access the container directly from our host machine?

Actually, you probably won’t be able to answer any of these questions yet! ☺ In this case, the client didn’t tell the Docker Engine to publish any of the ports, so you need to re-run the docker run command to add this instruction.

Let’s re-run the command with some new flags to publish ports and pass your name to the container to customize the message displayed. We’ll use the -d option again to run the container in detached mode.

First, stop the container that you have just launched. In order to do this, we need the container ID.

Since we ran the container in detached mode, we don’t have to launch another terminal to do this. Run docker ps to view the running containers.

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                  COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
a7a0e504ca3e        dockersamples/static-site   "/bin/sh -c 'cd /usr/"   28 seconds ago      Up 26 seconds       80/tcp, 443/tcp     stupefied_mahavira

Check out the CONTAINER ID column. You will need to use this CONTAINER ID value, a long sequence of characters, to identify the container you want to stop, and then to remove it. The example below provides the CONTAINER ID on our system; you should use the value that you see in your terminal.

$ docker stop a7a0e504ca3e
$ docker rm   a7a0e504ca3e


A cool feature is that you do not need to specify the entire CONTAINER ID. You can just specify a few starting characters and if it is unique among all the containers that you have launched, the Docker client will intelligently pick it up.

Now, let’s launch a container in detached mode as shown below:

$ docker run --name static-site -d -P dockersamples/static-site

In the above command:

  • -d will create a container with the process detached from our terminal
  • -P will publish all the exposed container ports to random ports on the Docker host
  • --name allows you to specify a container name

Now you can see the ports by running the docker port command.

$ docker port static-site
443/tcp ->
80/tcp ->

If you are running Docker for Mac, Docker for Windows, or Docker on Linux, open a web browser and go to port 80 on your host. The exact address will depend on how you’re running Docker

  • Laptop or Native linux: http://localhost:[YOUR_PORT_FOR 80/tcp]. On my system this is http://localhost:32773.


  • Cloud server: If you are running the same set of commands on Atmosphere/Jetstream or on any other cloud service, you can open ipaddress:[YOUR_PORT_FOR 80/tcp]. On my Atmosphere instance this is We will see more about deploying Docker containers on Atmosphere/Jetstream Cloud in the Advanced Docker session.



-P` `will publish all the exposed container ports to random ports on the Docker host. However if you want to assign a fixed port then you can use ``-p option. The format is -p <host port>:<container port>. For example:

$ docker run --name static-site2 -d -p 8088:80 dockersamples/static-site

If you are running Docker for Mac, Docker for Windows, or Docker on Linux, you can open http://localhost:[YOUR_PORT_FOR 80/tcp]. For our example this is http://localhost:8088.

If you are running Docker on Atmosphere/Jetstream or on any other cloud, you can open ipaddress:[YOUR_PORT_FOR 80/tcp]. For our example this is

If you see “Hello Docker!” then you’re done!

Let’s stop and remove the containers since you won’t be using them anymore.

$ docker stop static-site static-site2
$ docker rm static-site static-site2

Let’s use a shortcut to both stop and delete that container from your system:

$ docker rm -f static-site static-site2

Run docker ps to make sure the containers are gone.

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES

4.2 Deploying dynamic website

One area where Docker shines is when you need to use a command line utility that has a large number of dependencies.

In this section, let’s dive deeper into what Docker images are. Later on we will build our own image and use that image to run an application locally (deploy a dynamic website).

4.2.1 Docker images

Docker images are the basis of containers. In the previous example, you pulled the dockersamples/static-site image from the registry and asked the Docker client to run a container based on that image. To see the list of images that are available locally on your system, run the docker images command.

$ docker images
REPOSITORY                      TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
dockersamples/static-site   latest              92a386b6e686        2 hours ago        190.5 MB
nginx                           latest              af4b3d7d5401        3 hours ago        190.5 MB
hello-world                     latest              690ed74de00f        5 months ago       960 B

Above is a list of images that I’ve pulled from the registry and those I’ve created myself (we’ll shortly see how). You will have a different list of images on your machine. The TAG refers to a particular snapshot of the image and the ID is the corresponding unique identifier for that image.

For simplicity, you can think of an image akin to a git repository - images can be committed with changes and have multiple versions. When you do not provide a specific version number, the client defaults to latest.

For example you could pull a specific version of ubuntu image as follows:

$ docker pull ubuntu:16.04

If you do not specify the version number of the image, as mentioned, the Docker client will default to a version named latest.

So for example, the docker pull command given below will pull an image named ubuntu:latest

$ docker pull ubuntu

To get a new Docker image you can either get it from a registry (such as the Docker hub) or create your own. There are hundreds of thousands of images available on Docker hub. You can also search for images directly from the command line using docker search.

$ docker search ubuntu
  NAME                                                   DESCRIPTION                                     STARS               OFFICIAL            AUTOMATED
  ubuntu                                                 Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux operating sys…   7310                [OK]
  dorowu/ubuntu-desktop-lxde-vnc                         Ubuntu with openssh-server and NoVNC            163                                     [OK]
  rastasheep/ubuntu-sshd                                 Dockerized SSH service, built on top of offi…   131                                     [OK]
  ansible/ubuntu14.04-ansible                            Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with ansible                   90                                      [OK]
  ubuntu-upstart                                         Upstart is an event-based replacement for th…   81                  [OK]
  neurodebian                                            NeuroDebian provides neuroscience research s…   43                  [OK]
  ubuntu-debootstrap                                     debootstrap --variant=minbase --components=m…   35                  [OK]
  1and1internet/ubuntu-16-nginx-php-phpmyadmin-mysql-5   ubuntu-16-nginx-php-phpmyadmin-mysql-5          26                                      [OK]
  nuagebec/ubuntu                                        Simple always updated Ubuntu docker images w…   22                                      [OK]
  tutum/ubuntu                                           Simple Ubuntu docker images with SSH access     18
  ppc64le/ubuntu                                         Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux operating sys…   11
  i386/ubuntu                                            Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux operating sys…   9
  1and1internet/ubuntu-16-apache-php-7.0                 ubuntu-16-apache-php-7.0                        7                                       [OK]
  eclipse/ubuntu_jdk8                                    Ubuntu, JDK8, Maven 3, git, curl, nmap, mc, …   5                                       [OK]
  darksheer/ubuntu                                       Base Ubuntu Image -- Updated hourly             3                                       [OK]
  codenvy/ubuntu_jdk8                                    Ubuntu, JDK8, Maven 3, git, curl, nmap, mc, …   3                                       [OK]
  1and1internet/ubuntu-16-nginx-php-5.6-wordpress-4      ubuntu-16-nginx-php-5.6-wordpress-4             2                                       [OK]
  1and1internet/ubuntu-16-nginx                          ubuntu-16-nginx                                 2                                       [OK]
  pivotaldata/ubuntu                                     A quick freshening-up of the base Ubuntu doc…   1
  smartentry/ubuntu                                      ubuntu with smartentry                          0                                       [OK]
  pivotaldata/ubuntu-gpdb-dev                            Ubuntu images for GPDB development              0
  1and1internet/ubuntu-16-healthcheck                    ubuntu-16-healthcheck                           0                                       [OK]
  thatsamguy/ubuntu-build-image                          Docker webapp build images based on Ubuntu      0
  ossobv/ubuntu                                          Custom ubuntu image from scratch (based on o…   0
  1and1internet/ubuntu-16-sshd                           ubuntu-16-sshd                                  0                                       [OK]

An important distinction with regard to images is between base images and child images and official images and user images (Both of which can be base images or child images.).


Base images are images that have no parent images, usually images with an OS like ubuntu, alpine or debian.

Child images are images that build on base images and add additional functionality.

Official images are Docker sanctioned images. Docker, Inc. sponsors a dedicated team that is responsible for reviewing and publishing all Official Repositories content. This team works in collaboration with upstream software maintainers, security experts, and the broader Docker community. These are not prefixed by an organization or user name. In the list of images above, the python, node, alpine and nginx images are official (base) images. To find out more about them, check out the Official Images Documentation.

User images are images created and shared by users like you. They build on base images and add additional functionality. Typically these are formatted as user/image-name. The user value in the image name is your Dockerhub user or organization name.

4.2.2 Meet our Flask app

Now that you have a better understanding of images, it’s time to create an image that sandboxes a small Flask application. Flask is a lightweight Python web framework. We’ll do this by first pulling together the components for a random cat picture generator built with Python Flask, then dockerizing it by writing a Dockerfile and finally we’ll build the image and run it.


I have already written the Flask app for you, so you should start by cloning the git repository at You can do this with git clone if you have git installed, or by clicking the “Download ZIP” button on GitHub

  1. Create a Python Flask app that displays random cat

For the purposes of this workshop, we’ve created a fun little Python Flask app that displays a random cat .gif every time it is loaded - because, you know, who doesn’t like cats?

Start by creating a directory called flask-app where we’ll create the following files:

$ mkdir flask-app && cd flask-app


Create the file with the following content. You can use any of favorite text editor to create this file.

from flask import Flask, render_template
import random

app = Flask(__name__)

# list of cat images
images = [

def index():
    url = random.choice(images)
    return render_template('index.html', url=url)

if __name__ == "__main__":"")

1.2. requirements.txt

In order to install the Python modules required for our app, we need to create a file called requirements.txt and add the following line to that file:


1.3. templates/index.html

Create a directory called templates and create an index.html file in that directory with the following content in it:

$ mkdir templates && cd templates
    <style type="text/css">
      body {
        background: black;
        color: white;
      div.container {
        max-width: 500px;
        margin: 100px auto;
        border: 20px solid white;
        padding: 10px;
        text-align: center;
      h4 {
        text-transform: uppercase;
    <div class="container">
      <h4>Cat Gif of the day</h4>
      <img src="{{url}}" />
      <p><small>Courtesy: <a href="">Buzzfeed</a></small></p>


If you want, you can run this app through your laptop’s native Python installation first just to see what it looks like. Run sudo pip install -r requirements.txt and then run python

You should then be able to open a web browser, go to http://localhost:5000, and see the message “Hello! I am a Flask application”.

This is totally optional - but some people like to see what the app’s supposed to do before they try to Dockerize it.

1.4. Dockerfile

A Dockerfile is a text file that contains a list of commands that the Docker daemon calls while creating an image. The Dockerfile contains all the information that Docker needs to know to run the app — a base Docker image to run from, location of your project code, any dependencies it has, and what commands to run at start-up. It is a simple way to automate the image creation process. The best part is that the commands you write in a Dockerfile are almost identical to their equivalent Linux commands. This means you don’t really have to learn new syntax to create your own Dockerfiles.

We want to create a Docker image with this web app. As mentioned above, all user images are based on a base image. Since our application is written in Python, we will build our own Python image based on Alpine. We’ll do that using a Dockerfile.

Create a file called Dockerfile in the flask directory, and add content to it as described below. Since you are currently in templates directory, you need to go up one directory up before you can create your Dockerfile

cd ..
# our base image
FROM alpine:3.5

# install python and pip
RUN apk add --update py2-pip

# install Python modules needed by the Python app
COPY requirements.txt /usr/src/app/
RUN pip install --no-cache-dir -r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt

# copy files required for the app to run
COPY /usr/src/app/
COPY templates/index.html /usr/src/app/templates/

# tell the port number the container should expose

# run the application
CMD ["python", "/usr/src/app/"]

Now let’s see what each of those lines mean..

1.4.1 We’ll start by specifying our base image, using the FROM keyword:

FROM alpine:3.5

1.4.2. The next step usually is to write the commands of copying the files and installing the dependencies. But first we will install the Python pip package to the alpine linux distribution. This will not just install the pip package but any other dependencies too, which includes the python interpreter. Add the following RUN command next:

RUN apk add --update py2-pip

1.4.3. Let’s add the files that make up the Flask Application. Install all Python requirements for our app to run. This will be accomplished by adding the lines:

COPY requirements.txt /usr/src/app/
RUN pip install --no-cache-dir -r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt

1.4.4. Copy the files you have created earlier into our image by using COPY command.

COPY /usr/src/app/
COPY templates/index.html /usr/src/app/templates/

1.4.5. Specify the port number which needs to be exposed. Since our flask app is running on 5000 that’s what we’ll expose.


1.4.6. The last step is the command for running the application which is simply - python ./ Use the CMD command to do that:

CMD ["python", "/usr/src/app/"]

The primary purpose of CMD is to tell the container which command it should run by default when it is started.

  1. Build the image

Now that you have your Dockerfile, you can build your image. The docker build command does the heavy-lifting of creating a docker image from a Dockerfile.

The docker build command is quite simple - it takes an optional tag name with the -t flag, and the location of the directory containing the Dockerfile - the . indicates the current directory:


When you run the docker build command given below, make sure to replace <YOUR_DOCKERHUB_USERNAME> with your username. This username should be the same one you created when registering on Docker hub. If you haven’t done that yet, please go ahead and create an account in Dockerhub.


For example this is how I assign my dockerhub username


Now build the image using the following command:

$ docker build -t $YOUR_DOCKERHUB_USERNAME/myfirstapp .
Sending build context to Docker daemon   7.68kB
Step 1/8 : FROM alpine:3.5
 ---> 88e169ea8f46
Step 2/8 : RUN apk add --update py2-pip
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 8b1f026c3899
Step 3/8 : COPY requirements.txt /usr/src/app/
 ---> Using cache
 ---> 6923f451ee09
Step 4/8 : RUN pip install --no-cache-dir -r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt
 ---> Running in fb6b7b8beb3c
Collecting Flask==0.10.1 (from -r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt (line 1))
  Downloading Flask-0.10.1.tar.gz (544kB)
Collecting Werkzeug>=0.7 (from Flask==0.10.1->-r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt (line 1))
  Downloading Werkzeug-0.14.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl (322kB)
Collecting Jinja2>=2.4 (from Flask==0.10.1->-r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt (line 1))
  Downloading Jinja2-2.10-py2.py3-none-any.whl (126kB)
Collecting itsdangerous>=0.21 (from Flask==0.10.1->-r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt (line 1))
  Downloading itsdangerous-0.24.tar.gz (46kB)
Collecting MarkupSafe>=0.23 (from Jinja2>=2.4->Flask==0.10.1->-r /usr/src/app/requirements.txt (line 1))
  Downloading MarkupSafe-1.0.tar.gz
Installing collected packages: Werkzeug, MarkupSafe, Jinja2, itsdangerous, Flask
  Running install for MarkupSafe: started
    Running install for MarkupSafe: finished with status 'done'
  Running install for itsdangerous: started
    Running install for itsdangerous: finished with status 'done'
  Running install for Flask: started
    Running install for Flask: finished with status 'done'
Successfully installed Flask-0.10.1 Jinja2-2.10 MarkupSafe-1.0 Werkzeug-0.14.1 itsdangerous-0.24
You are using pip version 9.0.0, however version 9.0.1 is available.
You should consider upgrading via the 'pip install --upgrade pip' command.
 ---> 16d47a8073fd
Removing intermediate container fb6b7b8beb3c
Step 5/8 : COPY /usr/src/app/
 ---> 338019e5711f
Step 6/8 : COPY templates/index.html /usr/src/app/templates/
 ---> b65ed769c446
Step 7/8 : EXPOSE 5000
 ---> Running in b95001d36e4d
 ---> 0deaa29ca54a
Removing intermediate container b95001d36e4d
Step 8/8 : CMD python /usr/src/app/
 ---> Running in 4a8e82f87e2f
 ---> 40a121fff878
Removing intermediate container 4a8e82f87e2f
Successfully built 40a121fff878
Successfully tagged upendradevisetty/myfirstapp:latest

If you don’t have the alpine:3.5 image, the client will first pull the image and then create your image. Therefore, your output on running the command will look different from mine. If everything went well, your image should be ready! Run docker images and see if your image $YOUR_DOCKERHUB_USERNAME/myfirstapp shows.

  1. Run your image

When Docker can successfully build your Dockerfile, test it by starting a new container from your new image using the docker run command. Don’t forget to include the port forwarding options you learned about before.

$ docker run -d -p 8888:5000 --name myfirstapp $YOUR_DOCKERHUB_USERNAME/myfirstapp

Head over to http://localhost:8888 and your app should be live.


Hit the Refresh button in the web browser to see a few more cat images.

Exercise (5-10 mins): Deploy a custom Docker image

5. Dockerfile commands summary

Here’s a quick summary of the few basic commands we used in our Dockerfile.

  • FROM starts the Dockerfile. It is a requirement that the Dockerfile must start with the FROM command. Images are created in layers, which means you can use another image as the base image for your own. The FROM command defines your base layer. As arguments, it takes the name of the image. Optionally, you can add the Dockerhub username of the maintainer and image version, in the format username/imagename:version.
  • RUN is used to build up the Image you’re creating. For each RUN command, Docker will run the command then create a new layer of the image. This way you can roll back your image to previous states easily. The syntax for a RUN instruction is to place the full text of the shell command after the RUN (e.g., RUN mkdir /user/local/foo). This will automatically run in a /bin/sh shell. You can define a different shell like this: RUN /bin/bash -c ‘mkdir /user/local/foo’
  • COPY copies local files into the container.
  • CMD defines the commands that will run on the Image at start-up. Unlike a RUN, this does not create a new layer for the Image, but simply runs the command. There can only be one CMD per a Dockerfile/Image. If you need to run multiple commands, the best way to do that is to have the CMD run a script. CMD requires that you tell it where to run the command, unlike RUN. So example CMD commands would be:
CMD ["python", "./"]

CMD ["/bin/bash", "echo", "Hello World"]
  • EXPOSE creates a hint for users of an image which ports provide services. It is included in the information which can be retrieved via $ docker inspect <container-id>.


The EXPOSE command does not actually make any ports accessible to the host! Instead, this requires publishing ports by means of the -p flag when using docker run.

  • PUSH pushes your image to Docker Cloud, or alternately to a private registry


If you want to learn more about Dockerfiles, check out Best practices for writing Dockerfiles.

6. Demo’s

6.1 Portainer

Portainer is an open-source lightweight managment UI which allows you to easily manage your Docker hosts or Swarm cluster.

  • Simple to use: It has never been so easy to manage Docker. Portainer provides a detailed overview of Docker and allows you to manage containers, images, networks and volumes. It is also really easy to deploy, you are just one Docker command away from running Portainer anywhere.
  • Made for Docker: Portainer is meant to be plugged on top of the Docker API. It has support for the latest versions of Docker, Docker Swarm and Swarm mode.

6.1.1 Installation

Use the following Docker commands to deploy Portainer. Now the second line of command should be familiar to you by now. We will talk about first line of command in the Advanced Docker session.

$ docker volume create portainer_data

$ docker run -d -p 9000:9000 -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock -v portainer_data:/data portainer/portainer
  • If you are on mac, you’ll just need to access the port 9000 (http://localhost:9000) of the Docker engine where portainer is running using username admin and password tryportainer
  • If you are running Docker on Atmosphere/Jetstream or on any other cloud, you can open ipaddress:9000. For my case this is


The -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock option can be used in mac/linux environments only.


6.2 Play-with-docker (PWD)

PWD is a Docker playground which allows users to run Docker commands in a matter of seconds. It gives the experience of having a free Alpine Linux Virtual Machine in browser, where you can build and run Docker containers and even create clusters in Docker Swarm Mode. Under the hood, Docker-in-Docker (DinD) is used to give the effect of multiple VMs/PCs. In addition to the playground, PWD also includes a training site composed of a large set of Docker labs and quizzes from beginner to advanced level available at

6.2.1 Installation

You don’t have to install anything to use PWD. Just open and start using PWD


You can use your Dockerhub credentials to log-in to PWD