Overview of docker-compose CLI

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This page provides the usage information for the docker-compose Command.

Command options overview and help

You can also see this information by running docker-compose --help from the command line.

Define and run multi-container applications with Docker.

  docker-compose [-f <arg>...] [options] [COMMAND] [ARGS...]
  docker-compose -h|--help

  -f, --file FILE             Specify an alternate Compose file (default: docker-compose.yml)
  -p, --project-name NAME     Specify an alternate project name (default: directory name)
  --verbose                   Show more output
  -v, --version               Print version and exit
  -H, --host HOST             Daemon socket to connect to

  --tls                       Use TLS; implied by --tlsverify
  --tlscacert CA_PATH         Trust certs signed only by this CA
  --tlscert CLIENT_CERT_PATH  Path to TLS certificate file
  --tlskey TLS_KEY_PATH       Path to TLS key file
  --tlsverify                 Use TLS and verify the remote
  --skip-hostname-check       Don't check the daemon's hostname against the name specified
                              in the client certificate (for example if your docker host
                              is an IP address)
  --project-directory PATH    Specify an alternate working directory
                              (default: the path of the Compose file)

  build              Build or rebuild services
  bundle             Generate a Docker bundle from the Compose file
  config             Validate and view the Compose file
  create             Create services
  down               Stop and remove containers, networks, images, and volumes
  events             Receive real time events from containers
  exec               Execute a command in a running container
  help               Get help on a command
  images             List images
  kill               Kill containers
  logs               View output from containers
  pause              Pause services
  port               Print the public port for a port binding
  ps                 List containers
  pull               Pull service images
  push               Push service images
  restart            Restart services
  rm                 Remove stopped containers
  run                Run a one-off command
  scale              Set number of containers for a service
  start              Start services
  stop               Stop services
  top                Display the running processes
  unpause            Unpause services
  up                 Create and start containers
  version            Show the Docker-Compose version information

You can use Docker Compose binary, docker-compose [-f <arg>...] [options] [COMMAND] [ARGS...], to build and manage multiple services in Docker containers.

Use -f to specify name and path of one or more Compose files

Use the -f flag to specify the location of a Compose configuration file.

Specifying multiple Compose files

You can supply multiple -f configuration files. When you supply multiple files, Compose combines them into a single configuration. Compose builds the configuration in the order you supply the files. Subsequent files override and add to their predecessors.

For example, consider this command line:

$ docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml -f docker-compose.admin.yml run backup_db

The docker-compose.yml file might specify a webapp service.

  image: examples/web
    - "8000:8000"
    - "/data"

If the docker-compose.admin.yml also specifies this same service, any matching fields will override the previous file. New values, add to the webapp service configuration.

  build: .
    - DEBUG=1

Use a -f with - (dash) as the filename to read the configuration from stdin. When stdin is used all paths in the configuration are relative to the current working directory.

The -f flag is optional. If you don’t provide this flag on the command line, Compose traverses the working directory and its parent directories looking for a docker-compose.yml and a docker-compose.override.yml file. You must supply at least the docker-compose.yml file. If both files are present on the same directory level, Compose combines the two files into a single configuration.

The configuration in the docker-compose.override.yml file is applied over and in addition to the values in the docker-compose.yml file.

Specifying a path to a single Compose file

You can use -f flag to specify a path to Compose file that is not located in the current directory, either from the command line or by setting up a COMPOSE_FILE environment variable in your shell or in an environment file.

For an example of using the -f option at the command line, suppose you are running the Compose Rails sample, and have a docker-compose.yml file in a directory called sandbox/rails. You can use a command like docker-compose pull to get the postgress image for the db service from anywhere by using the -f flag as follows: docker-compose -f ~/sandbox/rails/docker-compose.yml pull db

Here’s the full example:

$ docker-compose -f ~/sandbox/rails/docker-compose.yml pull db
Pulling db (postgres:latest)...
latest: Pulling from library/postgres
ef0380f84d05: Pull complete
50cf91dc1db8: Pull complete
d3add4cd115c: Pull complete
467830d8a616: Pull complete
089b9db7dc57: Pull complete
6fba0a36935c: Pull complete
81ef0e73c953: Pull complete
338a6c4894dc: Pull complete
15853f32f67c: Pull complete
044c83d92898: Pull complete
17301519f133: Pull complete
dcca70822752: Pull complete
cecf11b8ccf3: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:1364924c753d5ff7e2260cd34dc4ba05ebd40ee8193391220be0f9901d4e1651
Status: Downloaded newer image for postgres:latest

Use -p to specify a project name

Each configuration has a project name. If you supply a -p flag, you can specify a project name. If you don’t specify the flag, Compose uses the current directory name. See also the COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME environment variable.

Set up environment variables

You can set environment variables for various docker-compose options, including the -f and -p flags.

For example, the COMPOSE_FILE environment variable relates to the -f flag, and COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME environment variable relates to the -p flag.

Also, you can set some of these variables in an environment file.

Where to go next

fig, composition, compose, docker, orchestration, cli, docker-compose