How To Install and Use Docker on Ubuntu 16.04

Introduction

Docker is an application that makes it simple and easy to run application processes in a container, which are like virtual machines, only more portable, more resource-friendly, and more dependent on the host operating system. For a detailed introduction to the different components of a Docker container, check out The Docker Ecosystem: An Introduction to Common Components.

There are two methods for installing Docker on Ubuntu 16.04. One method involves installing it on an existing installation of the operating system. The other involves spinning up a server with a tool called Docker Machine that auto-installs Docker on it.

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to install and use it on an existing installation of Ubuntu 16.04.

 

Prerequisites

To follow this tutorial, you will need the following:

Note: Docker requires a 64-bit version of Ubuntu as well as a kernel version equal to or greater than 3.10. The default 64-bit Ubuntu 16.04 server meets these requirements.

All the commands in this tutorial should be run as a non-root user. If root access is required for the command, it will be preceded by sudoInitial Setup Guide for Ubuntu 16.04 explains how to add users and give them sudo access.

 

Step 1 — Installing Docker

The Docker installation package available in the official Ubuntu 16.04 repository may not be the latest version. To get the latest and greatest version, install Docker from the official Docker repository. This section shows you how to do just that.

First, add the GPG key for the official Docker repository to the system:

  • curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | sudo apt-key add -

Add the Docker repository to APT sources:

  • sudo add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu $(lsb_release -cs) stable"

Next, update the package database with the Docker packages from the newly added repo:

  • sudo apt-get update

Make sure you are about to install from the Docker repo instead of the default Ubuntu 16.04 repo:

  • apt-cache policy docker-ce

You should see output similar to the follow:

Output of apt-cache policy docker-ce
docker-ce:
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 17.03.1~ce-0~ubuntu-xenial
  Version table:
     17.03.1~ce-0~ubuntu-xenial 500
        500 https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu xenial/stable amd64 Packages
     17.03.0~ce-0~ubuntu-xenial 500
        500 https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu xenial/stable amd64 Packages

Notice that docker-ce is not installed, but the candidate for installation is from the Docker repository for Ubuntu 16.04. The docker-ce version number might be different.

Finally, install Docker:

  • sudo apt-get install -y docker-ce

Docker should now be installed, the daemon started, and the process enabled to start on boot. Check that it's running:

  • sudo systemctl status docker

The output should be similar to the following, showing that the service is active and running:

Output
● docker.service - Docker Application Container Engine
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/docker.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Sun 2016-05-01 06:53:52 CDT; 1 weeks 3 days ago
     Docs: https://docs.docker.com
 Main PID: 749 (docker)

Installing Docker now gives you not just the Docker service (daemon) but also the docker command line utility, or the Docker client. We'll explore how to use the docker command later in this tutorial.

 

Step 2 — Executing the Docker Command Without Sudo (Optional)

By default, running the docker command requires root privileges — that is, you have to prefix the command with sudo. It can also be run by a user in the docker group, which is automatically created during the installation of Docker. If you attempt to run the docker command without prefixing it with sudoor without being in the docker group, you'll get an output like this:

Output
docker: Cannot connect to the Docker daemon. Is the docker daemon running on this host?.
See 'docker run --help'.

If you want to avoid typing sudo whenever you run the docker command, add your username to the docker group:

  • sudo usermod -aG docker ${USER}

To apply the new group membership, you can log out of the server and back in, or you can type the following:

  • su - ${USER}

You will be prompted to enter your user's password to continue. Afterwards, you can confirm that your user is now added to the docker group by typing:

  • id -nG
Output
sammy sudo docker

If you need to add a user to the docker group that you're not logged in as, declare that username explicitly using:

  • sudo usermod -aG docker username

The rest of this article assumes you are running the docker command as a user in the docker user group. If you choose not to, please prepend the commands with sudo.

 

Step 3 — Using the Docker Command

With Docker installed and working, now's the time to become familiar with the command line utility. Using docker consists of passing it a chain of options and commands followed by arguments. The syntax takes this form:

  • docker [option] [command] [arguments]

To view all available subcommands, type:

  • docker

As of Docker 1.11.1, the complete list of available subcommands includes:

Output

    attach    Attach to a running container
    build     Build an image from a Dockerfile
    commit    Create a new image from a container's changes
    cp        Copy files/folders between a container and the local filesystem
    create    Create a new container
    diff      Inspect changes on a container's filesystem
    events    Get real time events from the server
    exec      Run a command in a running container
    export    Export a container's filesystem as a tar archive
    history   Show the history of an image
    images    List images
    import    Import the contents from a tarball to create a filesystem image
    info      Display system-wide information
    inspect   Return low-level information on a container or image
    kill      Kill a running container
    load      Load an image from a tar archive or STDIN
    login     Log in to a Docker registry
    logout    Log out from a Docker registry
    logs      Fetch the logs of a container
    network   Manage Docker networks
    pause     Pause all processes within a container
    port      List port mappings or a specific mapping for the CONTAINER
    ps        List containers
    pull      Pull an image or a repository from a registry
    push      Push an image or a repository to a registry
    rename    Rename a container
    restart   Restart a container
    rm        Remove one or more containers
    rmi       Remove one or more images
    run       Run a command in a new container
    save      Save one or more images to a tar archive
    search    Search the Docker Hub for images
    start     Start one or more stopped containers
    stats     Display a live stream of container(s) resource usage statistics
    stop      Stop a running container
    tag       Tag an image into a repository
    top       Display the running processes of a container
    unpause   Unpause all processes within a container
    update    Update configuration of one or more containers
    version   Show the Docker version information
    volume    Manage Docker volumes
    wait      Block until a container stops, then print its exit code

To view the switches available to a specific command, type:

  • docker docker-subcommand --help

To view system-wide information about Docker, use:

  • docker info
 

Step 4 — Working with Docker Images

Docker containers are run from Docker images. By default, it pulls these images from Docker Hub, a Docker registry managed by Docker, the company behind the Docker project. Anybody can build and host their Docker images on Docker Hub, so most applications and Linux distributions you'll need to run Docker containers have images that are hosted on Docker Hub.

To check whether you can access and download images from Docker Hub, type:

  • docker run hello-world

The output, which should include the following, should indicate that Docker in working correctly:

Output
Hello from Docker.
This message shows that your installation appears to be working correctly.
...

You can search for images available on Docker Hub by using the docker command with the searchsubcommand. For example, to search for the Ubuntu image, type:

  • docker search ubuntu

The script will crawl Docker Hub and return a listing of all images whose name match the search string. In this case, the output will be similar to this:

Output

NAME                              DESCRIPTION                                     STARS     OFFICIAL   AUTOMATED
ubuntu                            Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux operating s...   3808      [OK]       
ubuntu-upstart                    Upstart is an event-based replacement for ...   61        [OK]       
torusware/speedus-ubuntu          Always updated official Ubuntu docker imag...   25                   [OK]
rastasheep/ubuntu-sshd            Dockerized SSH service, built on top of of...   24                   [OK]
ubuntu-debootstrap                debootstrap --variant=minbase --components...   23        [OK]       
nickistre/ubuntu-lamp             LAMP server on Ubuntu                           6                    [OK]
nickistre/ubuntu-lamp-wordpress   LAMP on Ubuntu with wp-cli installed            5                    [OK]
nuagebec/ubuntu                   Simple always updated Ubuntu docker images...   4                    [OK]
nimmis/ubuntu                     This is a docker images different LTS vers...   4                    [OK]
maxexcloo/ubuntu                  Docker base image built on Ubuntu with Sup...   2                    [OK]
admiringworm/ubuntu               Base ubuntu images based on the official u...   1                    [OK]

...

In the OFFICIAL column, OK indicates an image built and supported by the company behind the project. Once you've identified the image that you would like to use, you can download it to your computer using the pull subcommand, like so:

  • docker pull ubuntu

After an image has been downloaded, you may then run a container using the downloaded image with the run subcommand. If an image has not been downloaded when docker is executed with the runsubcommand, the Docker client will first download the image, then run a container using it:

  • docker run ubuntu

To see the images that have been downloaded to your computer, type:

  • docker images

The output should look similar to the following:

Output
REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
ubuntu              latest              c5f1cf30c96b        7 days ago          120.8 MB
hello-world         latest              94df4f0ce8a4        2 weeks ago         967 B

As you'll see later in this tutorial, images that you use to run containers can be modified and used to generate new images, which may then be uploaded (pushed is the technical term) to Docker Hub or other Docker registries.

 

Step 5 — Running a Docker Container

The hello-world container you ran in the previous is an example of a container that runs and exits, after emitting a test message. Containers, however, can be much more useful than that, and they can be interactive. After all, they are similar to virtual machines, only more resource-friendly.

As an example, let's run a container using the latest image of Ubuntu. The combination of the -i and -tswitches gives you interactive shell access into the container:

  • docker run -it ubuntu

Your command prompt should change to reflect the fact that you're now working inside the container and should take this form:

Output
[email protected]:/#

Important: Note the container id in the command prompt. In the above example, it is d9b100f2f636.

Now you may run any command inside the container. For example, let's update the package database inside the container. No need to prefix any command with sudo, because you're operating inside the container with root privileges:

  • apt-get update

Then install any application in it. Let's install NodeJS, for example.

  • apt-get install -y nodejs
 

Step 6 — Committing Changes in a Container to a Docker Image

When you start up a Docker image, you can create, modify, and delete files just like you can with a virtual machine. The changes that you make will only apply to that container. You can start and stop it, but once you destroy it with the docker rm command, the changes will be lost for good.

This section shows you how to save the state of a container as a new Docker image.

After installing nodejs inside the Ubuntu container, you now have a container running off an image, but the container is different from the image you used to create it.

To save the state of the container as a new image, first exit from it:

  • exit

Then commit the changes to a new Docker image instance using the following command. The -m switch is for the commit message that helps you and others know what changes you made, while -a is used to specify the author. The container ID is the one you noted earlier in the tutorial when you started the interactive docker session. Unless you created additional repositories on Docker Hub, the repository is usually your Docker Hub username:

  • docker commit -m "What did you do to the image" -a "Author Name" container-id repository/new_image_name

For example:

<ul class="prefixed" sty

  • docker, ubuntu, ubuntu 16.04, ubuntu16, install docker, docker ubuntu, docker ubuntu 16.04
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