Dockerize your node.js application

In this article, we’re going to run a simple node application using docker. I’ll assume that you have some familiarity with docker and that you have docker installed and running. If not, visit to get set up.

Part 1: Setting up the node.js app

First, let’s build a simple node app and get it running locally without using docker. Make a new directory for this project and navigate to it in your terminal, then enter the following command:

Part 2: Dockerizing the node.js application

Now that we have our hello world app up and running, let’s run it in a docker container. First, we’ll need a Dockerfile. This is essentially a blueprint of instructions for setting up the environment in which our node.js application will run. We’ll use this Dockerfile to build a docker image, which we can run as a docker container.

  • Line 2 sets /app as the working directory inside our container. All commands run inside the container after this line will be run from this directory.
  • Line 3 copies the contents of our working directory on our host machine to the /app directory in the container
  • Line 4 runs the npm install command from the working directory in our container (which we set to /app on line 2). This will use our package.json file to install our specified dependencies.
  • Line 5 exposes port 3000 in our docker container, so that it can accept traffic to our app on that port.
  • Line 6 executes our javascript code in index.js to start up our express webserver. This command will execute immediately after our container is built and run.

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