Docker container will automatically stop after "docker run -d"

According to tutorial I read so far, use "docker run -d" will start a container from image, and the container will run in background. This is how it looks like, we can see we already have container id.

root@docker:/home/root# docker run -d centos

But if I ran "docker ps", nothing was returned.

So I tried "docker ps -a", I can see container already exited:

root@docker:/home/root# docker ps -a
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                 COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS                         PORTS               NAMES
605e3928cddd        centos:latest         "/bin/bash"         31 minutes ago      Exited (0) 31 minutes ago                          kickass_swartz

Anything I did wrong? How can I troubleshoot this issue?


The centos dockerfile has a default command bash.

That means, when run in background (-d), the shell exits immediately.

Update 2017

More recent versions of docker authorize to run a container both in detached mode and in foreground mode (-t, -i or -it)

In that case, you don't need any additional command and this is enough:

docker run -t -d centos

The bash will wait in the background. That was initially reported in kalyani-chaudhari's answer and detailed in jersey bean's answer.

vonc@voncvb:~$ d ps -a
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
4a50fd9e9189        centos              "/bin/bash"         8 seconds ago       Up 2 seconds                            wonderful_wright

Note that for alpine, Marinos An reports in the comments:

docker run -t -d alpine/git does not keep the process up. Had to do: docker run --entrypoint "/bin/sh" -it alpine/git

Original answer (2015)

As mentioned in this article:

Instead of running with docker run -i -t image your-command, using -d is recommended because you can run your container with just one command and you don’t need to detach terminal of container by hitting Ctrl + P + Q.

However, there is a problem with -d option. Your container immediately stops unless the commands are not running on foreground. Docker requires your command to keep running in the foreground. Otherwise, it thinks that your applications stops and shutdown the container.

The problem is that some application does not run in the foreground. How can we make it easier?

In this situation, you can add tail -f /dev/null to your command. By doing this, even if your main command runs in the background, your container doesn’t stop because tail is keep running in the foreground.

So this would work:

docker run -d centos tail -f /dev/null

A docker ps would show the centos container still running.

From there, you can attach to it or detach from it (or docker exec some commands).

According to this answer, adding the -t flag will prevent the container from exiting when running in the background. You can then use docker exec -i -t <image> /bin/bash to get into a shell prompt.

docker run -t -d <image> <command>

It seems that the -t option isn't documented very well, though the help says that it "allocates a pseudo-TTY."


A Docker container runs a process (the "command" or "entrypoint") that keeps it alive. The container will continue to run as long as the command continues to run.

In your case, the command (/bin/bash, by default, on centos:latest) is exiting immediately (as bash does when it's not connected to a terminal and has nothing to run).

Normally, when you run a container in daemon mode (with -d), the container is running some sort of daemon process (like httpd). In this case, as long as the httpd daemon is running, the container will remain alive.

What you appear to be trying to do is to keep the container alive without a daemon process running inside the container. This is somewhat strange (because the container isn't doing anything useful until you interact with it, perhaps with docker exec), but there are certain cases where it might make sense to do something like this.

(Did you mean to get to a bash prompt inside the container? That's easy! docker run -it centos:latest)


A simple way to keep a container alive in daemon mode indefinitely is to run sleep infinity as the container's command. This does not rely doing strange things like allocating a TTY in daemon mode. Although it does rely on doing strange things like using sleep as your primary command.

$ docker run -d centos:latest sleep infinity
$ docker ps
d651c7a9e0ad  centos:latest "sleep infinity" 2 seconds ago Up 2 seconds       nervous_visvesvaraya
Alternative Solution

As indicated by cjsimon, the -t option allocates a "pseudo-tty". This tricks bash into continuing to run indefinitely because it thinks it is connected to an interactive TTY (even though you have no way to interact with that particular TTY if you don't pass -i). Anyway, this should do the trick too:

$ docker run -t -d centos:latest

Not 100% sure whether -t will produce other weird interactions; maybe leave a comment below if it does.

Hi this issue is because docker containers exit if there is no running application in the container.


option is just to run a container in deamon mode.

So the trick to make your container continuously running is point to a shell file in docker which will keep your application running.You can try with a file

Eg: docker run -d centos sh /yourlocation/

This should point to a never ending application.

In case if you dont want any application to be running,you can install monit which will keep your docker container running. Please let us know if these two cases worked for you to keep your container running.

All the best

You can accomplish what you want with either:

docker run -t -d <image-name>


docker run -i -d <image-name>


docker run -it -d <image-name>

The command parameter as suggested by other answers (i.e. tail -f /dev/null) is completely optional, and is NOT required to get your container to stay running in the background.

Also note the Docker documentation suggests that combining -i and -t options will cause it to behave like a shell.


execute command as follows :

docker run -t -d <image-name>

if you want to specify port then command as below:

docker run -t -d -p <port-no> <image-name>

verify the running container using following command:

docker ps

Docker requires your command to keep running in the foreground. Otherwise, it thinks that your applications stops and shutdown the container.

So if your docker entry script is a background process like following:

/usr/local/bin/confd -interval=30 -backend etcd -node $CONFIG_CENTER &

The '&' makes the container stop and exit if there are no other foreground process triggered later. So the solution is just remove the '&' or have another foreground CMD running after it, such as

tail -f server.log

Maybe it is just me but on CentOS 7.3.1611 and Docker 1.12.6 but I ended up having to use a combination of the answers posted by @VonC & @Christopher Simon to get this working reliably. Nothing I did before this would stop the container from exiting after it ran CMD successfully. I am starting oracle-xe-11Gr2 and sshd.


RUN ssh-keygen -t rsa -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key -N '' && systemctl enable sshd
CMD /etc/init.d/oracle-xe start && /sbin/sshd && tail -f /dev/null

Then adding -d -t and -i to run

docker run --shm-size=2g --name oracle-db -d -t -i -p 5022:22 -p 5080:8080 -p 1521:1521 centos-oracle:7.3.1611 

Finally after hours of bashing my head against the wall

ssh -v root@ -p 5022
root@'s password: 
debug1: Authentication succeeded (password).

For whatever reason the above will exit after executing CMD if the tail -f is removed, or any of the -t -d -i options are omitted.

I have explained it in the following post that has the same question.

How to retain docker alpine container after "exit" is used?

I have this code snippet run from the ENTRYPOINT in my docker file:

while true
    echo "Press [CTRL+C] to stop.."
    sleep 1

Run the built docker image as:

docker run -td <image name>

Log in to the container shell:

docker exec -it <container id> /bin/bash

Argument order matters

Jersey Beans answer (all 3 examples) worked for me. After quite a bit of trial and error I realized that the order of the arguments matter.

Keeps the container running in the background: docker run -t -d <image-name>

Keeps the container running in the foreground: docker run <image-name> -t -d

It wasn't obvious to me coming from a Powershell background.

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