Getting Started with Docker

August 27, 2020

Docker is a virtualization platform used to deliver software in packages called containers. It allows an application to run instances inside of a container. Docker has become very popular nowadays.

Different Versions

Docker is divided into two categories:

Docker-CE is the Community Edition, this one is free to use. If any issue occurs, try to use the community forums and go through the documentation.

Docker-EE is the Enterprise Edition, which is a licensed and premium version of CE.


  • For Ubuntu:

First, update your packages:

 sudo apt update

Next, install docker with apt-get:

 sudo apt install

Finally, verify that docker is installed correctly:

 sudo docker version

You should see the installation details. It gives you information about the Client and Server version, the Go-lang version, so on and so forth.

If the output of your command is similar to the one below, Congrats!!!!!

Client: Docker Engine - Community
 Version:           19.03.5
 API version:       1.40
 Go version:        go1.12.12
 Git commit:        633a0ea838
 Built:             Wed Nov 13 07:25:58 2019
 OS/Arch:           linux/amd64
 Experimental:      false

Server: Docker Engine - Community
  Version:          19.03.5
  API version:      1.40 (minimum version 1.12)
  Go version:       go1.12.12
  Git commit:       633a0ea838
  Built:            Wed Nov 13 07:24:29 2019
  OS/Arch:          linux/amd64
  Experimental:     false
  Version:          1.2.10
  GitCommit:        b34a5c8af56e510852c35414db4c1f4fa6172339
  Version:          1.0.0-rc8+dev
  GitCommit:        3e425f80a8c931f88e6d94a8c831b9d5aa481657
  Version:          0.18.0
  GitCommit:        fec3683
  • For MacOSX: you can follow this link.

  • For Windows: you can follow this link.

With the basic installation of Docker you’ll need to run the docker command as sudo. However, you can add your user to the docker group, and you’ll be able to run the commands without sudo.

 sudo usermod -aG docker ${USER}
 su - ${USER}

Running these commands will add your user to the docker group. To verify this, run $ id -nG and if you get back an output with your username in the list rest assured you did everything right.

Creating Your First Docker Image

Now, let’s create our first docker image by pulling it from Docker Hub. First let’s search the Hub for an image called “hello-world”

docker search hello-world

This will list all the images called “hello-world”. From the result, you can see the first image called “hello-world”, pull the image and experiment with it.

docker pull hello-world


Using default tag: latest
latest: Pulling from library/hello-world
0e03bdcc26d7: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:49a1c8800c94df04e9658809b006fd8a686cab8028d33cfba2cc049724254202
Status: Downloaded newer image for hello-world:latest                                       

We just pulled our first docker image from the Docker Hub.

Docker Commands

Now let’s get to know some Docker commands;

docker create

Creates a container from an image.

 docker create hello-world



NOTE: When a container is created, it is given a unique ID.

docker ps

Lists running containers, optional -a flag to list all containers.

 docker ps -a


CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                        COMMAND                CREATED             STATUS                      PORTS               NAMES
1a203a1e19a2        dockerinaction/hello_world   "echo 'hello world'"   12 minutes ago      Exited (0) 12 minutes ago                       distracted_elion
1e752a38edab        hello-world                  "/hello"               26 minutes ago      Exited (0) 25 minutes ago                       reverent_mcclintock
fa622c1b5eec        hello-world                  "/hello"               31 minutes ago      Created                                         tender_lichterman
6ff606cb1715        fce289e99eb9                 "/hello"               13 days ago         Exited (0) 13 days ago                          sharp_cori
57f793054be9        fce289e99eb9                 "/hello"               10 months ago       Exited (0) 10 months ago                        cool_chaplygin

docker start

This command starts any stopped container(s).

docker start fa622

We need the container ID to start the container

docker stop

This command stops any running container(s).

 docker stop fa622

docker run

This command creates the container first, and then it starts the container. This command combines the docker create and the docker start command.

docker run ubuntu /bin/echo 'Hello world'


Unable to find image 'ubuntu:latest' locally  
latest: Pulling from library/ubuntu  
6b98dfc16071: Pull complete  
4001a1209541: Pull complete  
6319fc68c576: Pull complete  
b24603670dc3: Pull complete  
97f170c87c6f: Pull complete  
Status: Downloaded newer image for ubuntu:latest  
Hello world

docker images

This command lists out all the Docker Images.

 docker image ls

REPOSITORY                    TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
hello-world                   latest              bf756fb1ae65        6 months ago        13.3kB
hello-world                   <none>              fce289e99eb9        19 months ago       1.84kB
dockerinaction/hello_world    latest              a1a9a5ed65e9        4 years ago         2.43MB
kitematic/hello-world-nginx   latest              03b4557ad7b9        5 years ago         7.91MB

docker container rm

This command deletes container(s).

 docker container rm 1a203a1e19a2

NOTE: The containers have to be in a stopped state in order to be deleted.

docker image rm

This command deletes image(s). To remove a docker image, you will need the ID of the image. Use the docker images ls command to get the ID.

 docker image rm fce289e99eb9

NOTE: To remove the image, remove the container first.

You can also get help using the command below:

docker --help


Usage:	docker [OPTIONS] COMMAND

A self-sufficient runtime for containers

      --config string      Location of client config files (default
  -c, --context string     Name of the context to use to connect to the
                           daemon (overrides DOCKER_HOST env var and
                           default context set with "docker context use")
  -D, --debug              Enable debug mode
  -H, --host list          Daemon socket(s) to connect to
  -l, --log-level string   Set the logging level
                           (default "info")
      --tls                Use TLS; implied by --tlsverify
      --tlscacert string   Trust certs signed only by this CA (default
      --tlscert string     Path to TLS certificate file (default
      --tlskey string      Path to TLS key file (default
      --tlsverify          Use TLS and verify the remote
  -v, --version            Print version information and quit

Management Commands:
  builder     Manage builds
  config      Manage Docker configs
  container   Manage containers
  context     Manage contexts
  engine      Manage the docker engine
  image       Manage images
  network     Manage networks
  node        Manage Swarm nodes
  plugin      Manage plugins
  secret      Manage Docker secrets
  service     Manage services
  stack       Manage Docker stacks
  swarm       Manage Swarm
  system      Manage Docker
  trust       Manage trust on Docker images
  volume      Manage volumes

  attach      Attach local standard input, output, and error streams 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 to files or directories 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 Docker objects
  kill        Kill one or more running containers
  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
  pause       Pause all processes within one or more containers
  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 one or more containers
  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 (streamed to STDOUT by default)
  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 one or more running containers
  tag         Create a tag TARGET_IMAGE that refers to SOURCE_IMAGE
  top         Display the running processes of a container
  unpause     Unpause all processes within one or more containers
  update      Update configuration of one or more containers
  version     Show the Docker version information
  wait        Block until one or more containers stop, then print their exit codes

Run 'docker COMMAND --help' for more information on a command.

Writing Your First Dockerfile

Dockerfile is the text file that will contain the directives on how to build your docker image. Below are some Dockerfile instructions that you should know:

  • FROM — set the base image
  • RUN — execute a command in the container
  • COPY — supports the basic copying of local files into the container
  • ENV — set environment variable
  • WORKDIR — set the working directory
  • ENTRYPOINT — set the image’s main command, allowing that image to be run as though it was that command
  • VOLUME — create mount-point for a volume
  • CMD — set executable for container

For example, let’s see what a Dockerfile for a Go application could look like:

FROM golang:1.11-alpine

WORKDIR /go/src/app
COPY . .

RUN go get -d -v ./...
RUN go install -v ./...

CMD ["app"]

Be sure to always indicate a specific version of the base image you would like to use because you never know when the ‘Latest’ image will be changed.

You can then build and run the Docker image:

 docker build -t my-golang-app

This command will create an image tagged my-goland-app from your Dockerfile

 docker run -it --name my-running-app my-golang-app

With this, the container/image is production ready.


Docker is a strong tool for creating and running applications both locally and in production. Numerous CI/CD tools like Jenkins, TravisCI, CircleCI, etc. are now fully supported and integrated with Docker, which makes your changes from environment to environment very easy. This tutorial has just scratched the basic part of the Docker world. Below are some a few resources to help get you out.


Docker Guide

Docker Cheatsheet

Dockerfile Practices

Getting Started With Docker In Linux

Play with Docker, this is an online playground for Docker. It will allow you to practice any of the Docker commands we went over, without having to install anything onto your machine. The best part is it’s free and easy to use.