Kitematic tutorial: Serve a static website with NGINX

Legacy desktop solution. Kitematic is a legacy solution, bundled with Docker Toolbox. We recommend updating to Docker Desktop for Mac or Docker Desktop for Windows if your system meets the requirements for one of those applications.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

This tutorial guides you through these steps:

  • Download and run a web server container
  • Explore the container’s website data natively on your Mac
  • Use volumes to modify the website data

This example website serves the popular 2048 game. Let’s get to it!

2048 game

Run the Nginx web server container

First, if you haven’t yet done so, download and start Kitematic. Once installed and running, the app should look like this:

Nginx create

Click on the Create button of the hello-world-nginx listing as shown above. Kitematic pulls and runs a tiny Nginx web server in a Docker container, allowing it to serve website data to your Mac.

download Nginx hello world

Once it’s done downloading you should see a quick preview of the example website that comes with the container, as shown below. Click on the preview to see the result in your own browser.

Nginx preview

What just happened? Kitematic downloaded the kitematic/hello-world-nginx image from the Docker Hub and then created and ran a Docker Nginx container from this image.

View the website data in Finder

This container exposes website data via a Docker volume. Kitematic makes managing Docker volumes easy - you can edit the data in Finder or with your favorite text editor. By default, Kitematic places volumes under ~/Kitematic but you can change this in the container settings. To access the files via finder, click on the in-app folder icon for a container and “Enable all volumes to edit via Finder”:

Nginx data volume

A Finder window of the folder should open containing the index.html file we see being served by the container.

Nginx data folder

Serve your own website data

Now let’s try serving a more interesting website. Download the zipped files for 2048, a popular (and addictive) web-based tile game. Extract this zip file into the folder you just opened:

Website files for 2048

Switch back to Kitematic and restart the container by clicking the “Restart” button as shown below. Your Nginx container should now be serving 2048.

Nginx running 2048

What just happened?

Kitematic can map Docker container volumes to directories on your Mac. In this case you changed the container’s volume data via the Finder to serve a website we downloaded.

Next steps

For an example using Kitematic to run a Local RethinkDB database, take a look at the RethinkDB development Database example.

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