Docker Building images

From WikiOD

Parameters[edit | edit source]

Parameter Details
--pull Ensures that the base image (FROM) is up-to-date before building the rest of the Dockerfile.

Building an image from a Dockerfile[edit | edit source]

Once you have a Dockerfile, you can build an image from it using docker build. The basic form of this command is:

docker build -t image-name path

If your Dockerfile isn't named Dockerfile, you can use the -f flag to give the name of the Dockerfile to build.

docker build -t image-name -f Dockerfile2 .

For example, to build an image named dockerbuild-example:1.0.0 from a Dockerfile in the current working directory:

$ ls
Dockerfile Dockerfile2

$ docker build -t dockerbuild-example:1.0.0 .

$ docker build -t dockerbuild-example-2:1.0.0 -f Dockerfile2 .

See the docker build usage documentation for more options and settings.

A common mistake is creating a Dockerfile in the user home directory (~). This is a bad idea because during docker build -t mytag . this message will appear for a long time:

Uploading context

The cause is the docker daemon trying to copy all the user's files (both the home directory and it's subdirectories). Avoid this by always specifying a directory for the Dockerfile.

Adding a .dockerignore file to the build directory is a good practice. Its syntax is similar to .gitignore files and will make sure only wanted files and directories are uploaded as the context of the build.

Difference between ENTRYPOINT and CMD[edit | edit source]

There are two Dockerfile directives to specify what command to run by default in built images. If you only specify CMD then docker will run that command using the default ENTRYPOINT, which is /bin/sh -c. You can override either or both the entrypoint and/or the command when you start up the built image. If you specify both, then the ENTRYPOINT specifies the executable of your container process, and CMD will be supplied as the parameters of that executable.

For example if your Dockerfile contains

FROM ubuntu:16.04
CMD ["/bin/date"]

Then you are using the default ENTRYPOINT directive of /bin/sh -c, and running /bin/date with that default entrypoint. The command of your container process will be /bin/sh -c /bin/date. Once you run this image then it will by default print out the current date

$ docker build -t test .
$ docker run test
Tue Jul 19 10:37:43 UTC 2016

You can override CMD on the command line, in which case it will run the command you have specified.

$ docker run test /bin/hostname

If you specify an ENTRYPOINT directive, Docker will use that executable, and the CMD directive specifies the default parameter(s) of the command. So if your Dockerfile contains:

FROM ubuntu:16.04
ENTRYPOINT ["/bin/echo"]
CMD ["Hello"]

Then running it will produce

$ docker build -t test .
$ docker run test

You can provide different parameters if you want to, but they will all run /bin/echo

$ docker run test Hi

If you want to override the entrypoint listed in your Dockerfile (i.e. if you wish to run a different command than echo in this container), then you need to specify the --entrypoint parameter on the command line:

$ docker run --entrypoint=/bin/hostname test

Generally you use the ENTRYPOINT directive to point to your main application you want to run, and CMD to the default parameters.

A simple Dockerfile[edit | edit source]

FROM node:5

The FROM directive specifies an image to start from. Any valid image reference may be used.

WORKDIR /usr/src/app

The WORKDIR directive sets the current working directory inside the container, equivalent to running cd inside the container. (Note: RUN cd will not change the current working directory.)

RUN npm install cowsay knock-knock-jokes

RUN executes the given command inside the container.

COPY cowsay-knockknock.js ./

COPY copies the file or directory specified in the first argument from the build context (the path passed to docker build path) to the location in the container specified by the second argument.

CMD node cowsay-knockknock.js

CMD specifies a command to execute when the image is run and no command is given. It can be overridden by passing a command to docker run.

There are many other instructions and options; see the Dockerfile reference for a complete list.

Pushing and Pulling an Image to Docker Hub or another Registry[edit | edit source]

Locally created images can be pushed to Docker Hub or any other docker repo host, known as a registry. Use docker login to sign in to an existing docker hub account.

docker login

Login with your Docker ID to push and pull images from Docker Hub.
If you don't have a Docker ID, head over to to create one.

Username: cjsimon
Login Succeeded

A different docker registry can be used by specifying a server name. This also works for private or self-hosted registries. Further, using an external credentials store for safety is possible.

docker login

You can then tag and push images to the registry that you are logged in to. Your repository must be specified as server/username/reponame:tag. Omitting the server currently defaults to Docker Hub. (The default registry cannot be changed to another provider, and there are no plans to implement this feature.)

docker tag mynginx

Different tags can be used to represent different versions, or branches, of the same image. An image with multiple different tags will display each tag in the same repo.

Use docker images to see a list of installed images installed on your local machine, including your newly tagged image. Then use push to upload it to the registry and pull to download the image.

docker push

All tags of an images can be pulled by specifying the -a option

docker pull

Exposing a Port in the Dockerfile[edit | edit source]

EXPOSE <port> [<port>...]

From Docker's documentation:

The EXPOSE instruction informs Docker that the container listens on the specified network ports at runtime. EXPOSE does not make the ports of the container accessible to the host. To do that, you must use either the -p flag to publish a range of ports or the -P flag to publish all of the exposed ports. You can expose one port number and publish it externally under another number.

Example:[edit | edit source]

Inside your Dockerfile:


To access this port from the host machine, include this argument in your docker run command:

*p 8765:8765

ENTRYPOINT and CMD seen as verb and parameter[edit | edit source]

Suppose you have a Dockerfile ending with

ENTRYPOINT [ "nethogs"] CMD ["wlan0"]

if you build this image with a

docker built -t inspector .

launch the image built with such a Dockerfile with a command such as

docker run -it --net=host --rm inspector

,nethogs will monitor the interface named wlan0

Now if you want to monitor the interface eth0 (or wlan1, or ra1...), you will do something like

docker run -it --net=host --rm inspector eth0


docker run -it --net=host --rm inspector wlan1

Building using a proxy[edit | edit source]

Often when building a Docker image, the Dockerfile contains instructions that runs programs to fetch resources from the Internet (wget for example to pull a program binary build on GitHub for example).

It is possible to instruct Docker to pass set set environment variables so that such programs perform those fetches through a proxy:

$ docker build --build-arg http_proxy= \
               --build-arg https_proxy= \
               --build-arg \
               -t test .

build*arg are environment variables which are available at build time only.