Set up Automated Builds

Note

Automated builds require a Docker Pro, Team, or Business subscription.

This page contains information on:

Configure Automated builds

You can configure repositories in Docker Hub so that they automatically build an image each time you push new code to your source provider. If you have automated tests configured, the new image is only pushed when the tests succeed.

  1. From the Repositories section, select a repository to view its details.

  2. Select the Builds tab.

  3. Select either GitHub or Bitbucket to connect where the image’s source code is stored.

    Note

    You may be redirected to the settings page to link the code repository service. Otherwise, if you are editing the build settings for an existing automated build, click Configure automated builds.

  4. Select the source repository to build the Docker images from.

    Note You might need to specify an organization or user from the source code provider. Once you select a user, source code repositories appear in the Select repository dropdown list.

  5. Optional: Enable autotests.

  6. Review the default Build Rules

    Build rules control what Docker Hub builds into images from the contents of the source code repository, and how the resulting images are tagged within the Docker repository.

    A default build rule is set up for you, which you can edit or delete. This default rule sets builds from the Branch in your source code repository called master or main, and creates a Docker image tagged with latest. For more information, see set up build rules

  7. Optional: Select the plus icon to add and configure more build rules.

  8. For each branch or tag, enable or disable the Autobuild toggle.

    Only branches or tags with autobuild enabled are built, tested, and have the resulting image pushed to the repository. Branches with autobuild disabled are built for test purposes (if enabled at the repository level), but the built Docker image isn’t pushed to the repository.

  9. For each branch or tag, enable or disable the Build Caching toggle.

    Build caching can save time if you are building a large image frequently or have many dependencies. Leave the build caching disabled to make sure all of your dependencies are resolved at build time, or if you have a large layer that’s quicker to build locally.

  10. Select Save to save the settings, or select Save and build to save and run an initial test.

    Note

    A webhook is automatically added to your source code repository to notify Docker Hub on every push. Only pushes to branches that are listed as the source for one or more tags, trigger a build.

Set up build rules

By default when you set up Automated builds, a basic build rule is created for you. This default rule watches for changes to the master or main branch in your source code repository, and builds the master or main branch into a Docker image tagged with latest.

In the Build Rules section, enter one or more sources to build.

For each source:

  • Select the Source type to build either a tag or a branch. This tells the build system what to look for in the source code repository.

  • Enter the name of the Source branch or tag you want to build.

    The first time you configure Automated builds, a default build rule is set up for you. This default set builds from the Branch in your source code called master, and creates a Docker image tagged with latest.

    You can also use a regex to select which source branches or tags to build. To learn more, see regexes.

  • Enter the tag to apply to Docker images built from this source.

    If you configured a regex to select the source, you can reference the capture groups and use its result as part of the tag. To learn more, see regexes.

  • Specify the Dockerfile location as a path relative to the root of the source code repository. If the Dockerfile is at the repository root, leave this path set to /.

Note

When Docker Hub pulls a branch from a source code repository, it performs a shallow clone - only the tip of the specified branch. Refer to Advanced options for Autobuild and Autotest for more information.

Environment variables for builds

You can set the values for environment variables used in your build processes when you configure an automated build. Add your build environment variables by selecting the plus icon next to the Build environment variables section, and then entering a variable name and the value.

When you set variable values from the Docker Hub UI, you can use them by the commands you set in hooks files. However, they’re stored so that only users who have admin access to the Docker Hub repository can see their values. This means you can use them to store access tokens or other information that should remain secret.

Note

The variables set on the build configuration screen are used during the build processes only and shouldn’t get confused with the environment values used by your service, for example to create service links.

Advanced automated build options

At the minimum you need a build rule composed of a source branch, or tag, and a destination Docker tag to set up an automated build. You can also:

  • Change where the build looks for the Dockerfile
  • Set a path to the files the build should use (the build context)
  • Set up multiple static tags or branches to build from
  • Use regular expressions (regexes) to dynamically select source code to build and create dynamic tags

All of these options are available from the Build configuration screen for each repository. Select Repositories from the left navigation, and select the name of the repository you want to edit. Select the Builds tab, and then select Configure Automated builds.

Tag and branch builds

You can configure your automated builds so that pushes to specific branches or tags triggers a build.

  1. In the Build Rules section, select the plus icon to add more sources to build.

  2. Select the Source type to build either a tag or a branch.

    Note

    This tells the build system what type of source to look for in the code repository.

  3. Enter the name of the Source branch or tag you want to build.

    Note

    You can enter a name, or use a regex to match which source branch or tag names to build. To learn more, see regexes.

  4. Enter the tag to apply to Docker images built from this source.

    Note

    If you configured a regex to select the source, you can reference the capture groups and use its result as part of the tag. To learn more, see regexes.

  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 for each new build rule you set up.

Set the build context and Dockerfile location

Depending on how you arrange the files in your source code repository, the files required to build your images may not be at the repository root. If that’s the case, you can specify a path where the build looks for the files.

The build context is the path to the files needed for the build, relative to the root of the repository. Enter the path to these files in the Build context field. Enter / to set the build context as the root of the source code repository.

Note

If you delete the default path / from the Build context field and leave it blank, the build system uses the path to the Dockerfile as the build context. However, to avoid confusion it’s recommended that you specify the complete path.

You can specify the Dockerfile location as a path relative to the build context. If the Dockerfile is at the root of the build context path, leave the Dockerfile path set to /. If the build context field is blank, set the path to the Dockerfile from the root of the source repository.

Regexes and Automated builds

You can specify a regular expression (regex) so that only matching branches or tags are built. You can also use the results of the regex to create the Docker tag that’s applied to the built image.

You can use up to nine regular expression capture groups, or expressions enclosed in parentheses, to select a source to build, and reference these in the Docker Tag field using {\1} through {\9}.

Build images with BuildKit

Autobuilds use the BuildKit build system by default. If you want to use the legacy Docker build system, add the environment variable DOCKER_BUILDKIT=0. Refer to the BuildKit page for more information on BuildKit.

Autobuild for Teams

When you create an automated build repository in your own user account, you can start, cancel, and retry builds, and edit and delete your own repositories.

These same actions are also available for team repositories from Docker Hub if you are a member of an organization’s Owners team. If you are a member of a team with write permissions you can start, cancel, and retry builds in your team’s repositories, but you cannot edit the team repository settings or delete the team repositories. If your user account has read permission, or if you’re a member of a team with read permission, you can view the build configuration including any testing settings.

Action/Permission Read Write Admin Owner
view build details x x x x
start, cancel, retry   x x x
edit build settings     x x
delete build       x

Service users for team autobuilds

Note

Only members of the Owners team can set up Automated builds for teams.

When you set up Automated builds for teams, you grant Docker Hub access to your source code repositories using OAuth tied to a specific user account. This means that Docker Hub has access to everything that the linked source provider account can access.

For organizations and teams, it’s recommended you create a dedicated service account to grant access to the source provider. This ensures that no builds break as individual users’ access permissions change, and that an individual user’s personal projects aren’t exposed to an entire organization.

This service account should have access to any repositories to be built, and must have administrative access to the source code repositories so it can manage deploy keys. If needed, you can limit this account to only a specific set of repositories required for a specific build.

If you are building repositories with linked private submodules (private dependencies), you also need to add an override SSH_PRIVATE environment variable to automated builds associated with the account. For more information, see Troubleshoot

  1. Create a service user account on your source provider, and generate SSH keys for it.
  2. Create a “build” team in your organization.
  3. Ensure that the new “build” team has access to each repository and submodule you need to build.

    Go to the repository’s Settings page. On GitHub, add the new “build” team to the list of Collaborators and Teams. On Bitbucket, add the “build” team to the list of approved users on the Access management screen.

  4. Add the service user to the “build” team on the source provider.

  5. Sign in to Docker Hub as a member of the Owners team, switch to the organization, and follow the instructions to link to source code repository using the service account.

    Note

    You may need to log out of your individual account on the source code provider to create the link to the service account.

  6. Optional: Use the SSH keys you generated to set up any builds with private submodules, using the service account and the instructions above.

What’s Next?