Frequently asked questions
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Can I control service startup order?
Yes - see Controlling startup order.
Why do my services take 10 seconds to recreate or stop?
Compose stop attempts to stop a container by sending a
SIGTERM. It then waits
for a default timeout of 10 seconds. After the timeout,
SIGKILL is sent to the container to forcefully kill it. If you
are waiting for this timeout, it means that your containers aren’t shutting down
when they receive the
There has already been a lot written about this problem of processes handling signals in containers.
To fix this problem, try the following:
Make sure you’re using the exec form of
ENTRYPOINTin your Dockerfile.
For example use
["program", "arg1", "arg2"]not
"program arg1 arg2". Using the string form causes Docker to run your process using
bashwhich doesn’t handle signals properly. Compose always uses the JSON form, so don’t worry if you override the command or entrypoint in your Compose file.
If you are able, modify the application that you’re running to add an explicit signal handler for
stop_signalto a signal which the application knows how to handle:
services: web: build: . stop_signal: SIGINT
- If you can’t modify the application, wrap the application in a lightweight init
system (like s6) or a signal proxy (like
tini). Either of these wrappers takes care of
How do I run multiple copies of a Compose file on the same host?
Compose uses the project name to create unique identifiers for all of a
project’s containers and other resources. To run multiple copies of a project,
set a custom project name using the
-p command line option
COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME environment variable.
What’s the difference between
Typically, you want
docker compose up. Use
up to start or restart all the
services defined in a
docker-compose.yml. In the default “attached”
mode, you see all the logs from all the containers. In “detached” mode (
Compose exits after starting the containers, but the containers continue to run
in the background.
docker compose run command is for running “one-off” or “adhoc” tasks. It
requires the service name you want to run and only starts containers for services
that the running service depends on. Use
run to run tests or perform
an administrative task such as removing or adding data to a data volume
run command acts like
docker run -ti in that it opens an
interactive terminal to the container and returns an exit status matching the
exit status of the process in the container.
docker compose start command is useful only to restart containers
that were previously created, but were stopped. It never creates new
Can I use JSON instead of YAML for my Compose file?
Yes. YAML is a superset of JSON so any JSON file should be valid YAML. To use a JSON file with Compose, specify the filename to use, for example:
$ docker compose -f docker-compose.json up
Should I include my code with
ADD or a volume?
You can add your code to the image using
ADD directive in a
Dockerfile. This is useful if you need to relocate your code along with the
Docker image, for example when you’re sending code to another environment
(production, CI, etc).
You should use a
volume if you want to make changes to your code and see them
reflected immediately, for example when you’re developing code and your server
supports hot code reloading or live-reload.
There may be cases where you want to use both. You can have the image
include the code using a
COPY, and use a
volume in your Compose file to
include the code from the host during development. The volume overrides
the directory contents of the image.
Where can I find example compose files?
There are many examples of Compose files on GitHub.
- User guide
- Installing Compose
- Getting Started
- Command line reference
- Compose file reference
- Sample apps with Compose