Docker cheat sheet

Docker cheat sheet. Explore our ultimate quick reference for Docker.

This concise cheat sheet serves as a practical reference for the most common Docker commands, designed to facilitate both newcomers and seasoned users in efficiently managing Docker containers, images, networks, and volumes. With sections covering everything from getting started with Docker, handling Docker containers and images, to advanced topics like Docker Compose and Docker security practices, it aims to streamline your Docker workflow and enhance security. For further details and advanced usage, refer to the official Docker documentation.

Getting Started

Getting started

Create and run a container in background

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 docker/getting-started

  • -d - Run the container in detached mode
  • -p 80:80 - Map port 80 to port 80 in the container
  • docker/getting-started - The image to use {.marker-none}

Create and run a container in foreground

$ docker run -it -p 8001:8080 --name my-nginx nginx

  • -it - Interactive bash mode
  • -p 8001:8080 - Map port 8001 to port 8080 in the container
  • --name my-nginx - Specify a name
  • nginx - The image to use {.marker-none}

General commands

Example Description
docker ps List running containers
docker ps -a List all containers
docker ps -s List running containers (with CPU / memory)
docker images List all images
docker exec -it <container> bash Connecting to container
docker logs <container> Shows container's console log
docker stop <container> Stop a container
docker restart <container> Restart a container
docker rm <container> Remove a container
docker port <container> Shows container's port mapping
docker top <container> List processes
docker kill <container> Kill a container

Parameter <container> can be container id or name

Docker Containers

Starting & Stopping

Description Example
docker start my-nginx Starting
docker stop my-nginx Stopping
docker restart my-nginx Restarting
docker pause my-nginx Pausing
docker unpause my-nginx Unpausing
docker wait my-nginx Blocking a Container
docker kill my-nginx Sending a SIGKILL
docker attach my-nginx Connecting to an Existing Container


Example Description
docker ps List running containers
docker ps -a List all containers
docker logs my-nginx Container Logs
docker inspect my-nginx Inspecting Containers
docker events my-nginx Containers Events
docker port my-nginx Public Ports
docker top my-nginx Running Processes
docker stats my-nginx Container Resource Usage
docker diff my-nginx Lists the changes made to a container.


docker create [options] IMAGE
  -a, --attach               # attach stdout/err
  -i, --interactive          # attach stdin (interactive)
  -t, --tty                  # pseudo-tty
      --name NAME            # name your image
  -p, --publish 5000:5000    # port map (host:container)
      --expose 5432          # expose a port to containers
  -P, --publish-all          # publish all ports
      --link container:alias # linking
  -v, --volume `pwd`:/app    # mount (absolute paths needed)
  -e, --env NAME=hello       # env vars


$ docker create --name my_redis --expose 6379 redis:3.0.2


Renaming a Container

docker rename my-nginx my-nginx

Removing a Container

docker rm my-nginx

Updating a Container

docker update --cpu-shares 512 -m 300M my-nginx

Docker Images


Example Description
docker images Listing images
docker rmi nginx Removing an image
docker load < ubuntu.tar.gz Loading a tarred repository
docker load --input ubuntu.tar Loading a tarred repository
docker save busybox > ubuntu.tar Save an image to a tar archive
docker history Showing the history of an image
docker commit nginx Save a container as an image.
docker tag nginx eon01/nginx Tagging an image
docker push eon01/nginx Pushing an image

Building Images

$ docker build .
$ docker build
$ docker build - < Dockerfile
$ docker build - < context.tar.gz
$ docker build -t eon/my-nginx .
$ docker build -f myOtherDockerfile .
$ curl | docker build -f - .

Dockerfile Instructions

Common Instructions

Instruction Description
FROM Sets the Base Image for subsequent instructions
RUN Execute commands in a new layer on top of the current image
CMD Provide defaults for an executing container
LABEL Add metadata to an image (e.g., version, description)
EXPOSE Inform Docker that the container listens on specified ports
ENV Set environment variables
ADD Copy files from a source to the container's filesystem
COPY Copy new files or directories into the container
ENTRYPOINT Configure a container that will run as an executable
VOLUME Create a mount point with the specified name
USER Set the UID (or username) to use when running the image
WORKDIR Set the working directory for any RUN, CMD, ENTRYPOINT, COPY, and ADD instructions that follow it in the Dockerfile
ARG Define variables that users can pass at build-time to the builder
ONBUILD Add a trigger instruction when the image is used as the base for another build

Best Practices

  • Use .dockerignore to exclude files not relevant to the build.
  • Minimize the number of layers by combining instructions.
  • Use multi-stage builds to reduce size and secure final images.
  • Prefer COPY over ADD unless you need to add tar files or from URLs.

Example Dockerfile

# Use an official Python runtime as a parent image
FROM python:3.7-slim

# Set the working directory in the container

# Copy the current directory contents into the container at /app
COPY . /app

# Install any needed packages specified in requirements.txt
RUN pip install --trusted-host -r requirements.txt

# Make port 80 available to the world outside this container

# Define environment variable

# Run when the container launches
CMD ["python", ""]

Volume Management

Basic Volume Commands

Command Description
docker volume ls List all volumes
docker volume create <volume_name> Create a new volume
docker volume inspect <volume_name> Display detailed information on one or more volumes
docker volume rm <volume_name> Remove one or more volumes
docker volume prune Remove all unused volumes

Advanced Volume Options

  • Create a Volume with Specific Options:
    docker volume create --name <volume_name> --driver local \
    --opt type=tmpfs \
    --opt device=tmpfs \
    --opt o=size=100m,uid=1000

Docker Networking


Removing a network

docker network rm MyOverlayNetwork

Listing networks

docker network ls

Getting information about a network

docker network inspect MyOverlayNetwork

Connecting a running container to a network

docker network connect MyOverlayNetwork nginx

Connecting a container to a network when it starts

docker run -it -d --network=MyOverlayNetwork nginx

Disconnecting a container from a network

docker network disconnect MyOverlayNetwork nginx

Creating Networks

docker network create -d overlay MyOverlayNetwork

docker network create -d bridge MyBridgeNetwork

docker network create -d overlay \
  --subnet= \
  --subnet= \
  --gateway= \
  --gateway= \
  --ip-range= \
  --aux-address="my-router=" \
  --aux-address="my-switch=" \
  --aux-address="my-printer=" \
  --aux-address="my-nas=" \

Clean Up

Clean All

Cleans up dangling images, containers, volumes, and networks (ie, not associated with a container)

docker system prune

Additionally, remove any stopped containers and all unused images (not just dangling images)

docker system prune -a


Stop all running containers

docker stop $(docker ps -a -q)

Delete stopped containers

docker container prune


Remove all dangling (not tagged and is not associated with a container) images:

docker image prune

Remove all images which are not used by existing containers

docker image prune -a


docker volume prune

Remove all volumes not used by at least one container

Docker Compose

Basic Commands

Docker Compose simplifies the management of multi-container Docker applications. Here are some essential commands:

Command Description
docker-compose up Create and start containers
docker-compose down Stop and remove containers, networks, images, and volumes
docker-compose build Build or rebuild services
docker-compose logs View output from containers
docker-compose restart Restart all services
docker-compose pull Pull service images
docker-compose stop Stop services
docker-compose start Start services
docker-compose run <service> <cmd> Run a one-time command on a service
docker-compose exec <service> <cmd> Execute a command in a running container

Other Useful

Configuration Files

  • Primary: docker-compose.yml
  • Overrides: docker-compose.override.yml


  • Specify the Compose file version at the top of the file: version: '3'


Define services that make up your application so they can be run together in an isolated environment.


Declare volumes for persistence or as shared directories between services.


Define networks to enable communication between containers.

Docker Security Practices

Security Scanning

  • Scan Images for Vulnerabilities:
    docker scan <image_name>

    Use Docker's built-in scanning capabilities to identify security issues within your images.

Running Containers Securely

  • Run as Non-Root User:

    USER nonrootuser

    In your Dockerfile, specify a non-root user for running the container to limit privileges.

  • Use Read-Only Filesystems:

    docker run --read-only <image_name>

    Where possible, run containers with a read-only filesystem to prevent modifications.

  • Limit Memory and CPU:

    docker run --memory=500m --cpus=2 <image_name>

    Prevent resource abuse by limiting the memory and CPU usage of your containers.

Secure Docker Daemon

  • Enable TLS: Secure the Docker daemon by enabling TLS, ensuring that all communications are encrypted and authenticated.
    dockerd --tlsverify --tlscacert=ca.pem --tlscert=server-cert.pem --tlskey=server-key.pem -H=

Networking Security

  • Use Custom Bridge Networks: Create custom bridge networks to control which containers can communicate with each other.

Best Practices

  • Regularly update Docker and container applications to the latest versions.
  • Apply the principle of least privilege in container permissions and capabilities.
  • Use Docker Bench for Security to check for common best practices around deploying Docker containers in production.


Docker Hub

Docker Syntax Description
docker search search_word Search docker hub for images.
docker pull user/image Downloads an image from docker hub.
docker login Authenticate to docker hub
docker push user/image Uploads an image to docker hub.

Registry commands

Login to a Registry

$ docker login
$ docker login localhost:8080

Logout from a Registry

$ docker logout
$ docker logout localhost:8080

Searching an Image

$ docker search nginx
$ docker search nginx --stars=3 --no-trunc busybox

Pulling an Image

$ docker pull nginx
$ docker pull eon01/nginx localhost:5000/myadmin/nginx

Pushing an Image

$ docker push eon01/nginx
$ docker push eon01/nginx localhost:5000/myadmin/nginx

Batch clean

Example Description
docker stop -f $(docker ps -a -q) Stopping all containers
docker rm -f $(docker ps -a -q) Removing all containers
docker rmi -f $(docker images -q) Removing all images


Check volumes

$ docker volume ls

Cleanup unused volumes

$ docker volume prune