How to use environment variables in docker compose

I would like to be able to use env variables inside docker-compose.yml, with values passed in at the time of docker-compose up. This is the example. I am doing this today with basic docker run command, which is wrapped around my own script. Is there a way to achieve it with compose, without any such bash wrappers?

proxy:
  hostname: $hostname
  volumes:
    - /mnt/data/logs/$hostname:/logs
    - /mnt/data/$hostname:/data

Answers


  1. Create a template.yml, which is your docker-compose.yml with environment variable.
  2. Suppose your environment variables are in a file 'env.sh'
  3. Put the below piece of code in a sh file and run it.

source env.sh; rm -rf docker-compose.yml; envsubst < "template.yml" > "docker-compose.yml";

A new file docker-compose.yml will be generated with the correct values of environment variables.

Sample template.yml file:

oracledb:
        image: ${ORACLE_DB_IMAGE}
        privileged: true
        cpuset: "0"
        ports:
                - "${ORACLE_DB_PORT}:${ORACLE_DB_PORT}"
        command: /bin/sh -c "chmod 777 /tmp/start; /tmp/start"
        container_name: ${ORACLE_DB_CONTAINER_NAME}

Sample env.sh file:

#!/bin/bash 
export ORACLE_DB_IMAGE=<image-name> 
export ORACLE_DB_PORT=<port to be exposed> 
export ORACLE_DB_CONTAINER_NAME=ORACLE_DB_SERVER

The DOCKER solution:

It looks like docker-compose 1.5+ has enabled variables substitution: https://github.com/docker/compose/releases

The latest Docker Compose allows you to access environment variables from your compose file. So you can source your environment variables, then run Compose like so:

set -a
source .my-env
docker-compose up -d

Then you can reference the variables in docker-compose.yml using ${VARIABLE}, like so:

db:
  image: "postgres:${POSTGRES_VERSION}"

And here is more info from the docs, taken here: https://docs.docker.com/compose/compose-file/#variable-substitution

When you run docker-compose up with this configuration, Compose looks for the POSTGRES_VERSION environment variable in the shell and substitutes its value in. For this example, Compose resolves the image to postgres:9.3 before running the configuration.

If an environment variable is not set, Compose substitutes with an empty string. In the example above, if POSTGRES_VERSION is not set, the value for the image option is postgres:.

Both $VARIABLE and ${VARIABLE} syntax are supported. Extended shell-style features, such as ${VARIABLE-default} and ${VARIABLE/foo/bar}, are not supported.

If you need to put a literal dollar sign in a configuration value, use a double dollar sign ($$).

And I believe this feature was added in this pull request: https://github.com/docker/compose/pull/1765

The BASH solution:

I notice folks have issues with Docker's environment variables support. Instead of dealing with environment variables in Docker, let's go back to basics, like bash! Here is a more flexible method using a bash script and a .env file.

An example .env file:

EXAMPLE_URL=http://example.com
# Note that the variable below is commented out and will not be used:
# EXAMPLE_URL=http://example2.com 
SECRET_KEY=ABDFWEDFSADFWWEFSFSDFM

# You can even define the compose file in an env variable like so:
COMPOSE_CONFIG=my-compose-file.yml
# You can define other compose files, and just comment them out
# when not needed:
# COMPOSE_CONFIG=another-compose-file.yml

then run this bash script in the same directory, which should deploy everything properly:

#!/bin/bash

docker rm -f `docker ps -aq -f name=myproject_*`
set -a
source .env
cat ${COMPOSE_CONFIG} | envsubst | docker-compose -f - -p "myproject" up -d

Just reference your env variables in your compose file with the usual bash syntax (ie ${SECRET_KEY} to insert the SECRET_KEY from the .env file).

Note the COMPOSE_CONFIG is defined in my .env file and used in my bash script, but you can easily just replace {$COMPOSE_CONFIG} with the my-compose-file.yml in the bash script.

Also note that I labeled this deployment by naming all of my containers with the "myproject" prefix. You can use any name you want, but it helps identify your containers so you can easily reference them later. Assuming that your containers are stateless, as they should be, this script will quickly remove and redeploy your containers according to your .env file params and your compose YAML file.

Update Since this answer seems pretty popular, I wrote a blog post that describes my Docker deployment workflow in more depth: http://lukeswart.net/2016/03/lets-deploy-part-1/ This might be helpful when you add more complexity to a deployment configuration, like nginx configs, LetsEncrypt certs, and linked containers.


It seems that docker-compose has native support now for default environment variables in file.

all you need to do is declare your variables in a file named .env and they will be available in docker-compose.yml.

For example, for .env file with contents:

MY_SECRET_KEY=SOME_SECRET
IMAGE_NAME=docker_image

You could access your variable inside docker-compose.yml or forward them into the container:

my-service:
  image: ${IMAGE_NAME}
  environment:
    MY_SECRET_KEY: ${MY_SECRET_KEY}

When using environment variables for volumes you need:

  1. create .env file in the same folder which contains docker-compose.yaml file

  2. declare variable in the .env file:

    HOSTNAME=your_hostname
    
  3. Change $hostname to ${HOSTNAME} at docker-compose.yaml file

    proxy:
      hostname: ${HOSTNAME}
      volumes:
        - /mnt/data/logs/${HOSTNAME}:/logs
        - /mnt/data/${HOSTNAME}:/data
    

Of course you can do that dynamically on each build like:

echo "HOSTNAME=your_hostname" > .env && sudo docker-compose up

The following is applicable for docker-compose 3.x Set environment variables inside the container

method - 1 Straight method

web:
  environment:
    - DEBUG=1
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: 'postgres'
      POSTGRES_USER: 'postgres'

method - 2 The “.env” file

Create a .env file in the same location as the docker-compose.yml

$ cat .env
TAG=v1.5
POSTGRES_PASSWORD: 'postgres'

and your compose file will be like

$ cat docker-compose.yml
version: '3'
services:
  web:
    image: "webapp:${TAG}"
    postgres_password: "${POSTGRES_PASSWORD}"

source


The best way is to specify environment variables outside the docker-compose.yml file. You can use env_file setting, and define your environment file within the same line. Then doing a docker-compose up again should recreate the containers with the new environment variables.

Here is how my docker-compose.yml looks like:

services:
  web:
    env_file: variables.env

Note: docker-compose expects each line in an env file to be in VAR=VAL format. Avoid using export inside the .env file. Also, the .env file should be placed in the folder where the docker-compose command is executed.


You cannot ... yet. But this is an alternative, think like a docker-composer.yml generator:

https://gist.github.com/Vad1mo/9ab63f28239515d4dafd

Basically a shell script that will replace your variables. Also you can use Grunt task to build your docker compose file at the end of your CI process.


I have a simple bash script I created for this it just means running it on your file before use: https://github.com/antonosmond/subber

Basically just create your compose file using double curly braces to denote environment variables e.g:

app:
    build: "{{APP_PATH}}"
ports:
    - "{{APP_PORT_MAP}}"

Anything in double curly braces will be replaced with the environment variable of the same name so if I had the following environment variables set:

APP_PATH=~/my_app/build
APP_PORT_MAP=5000:5000

on running subber docker-compose.yml the resulting file would look like:

app:
    build: "~/my_app/build"
ports:
    - "5000:5000"

As far as I know, this is a work-in-progress. They want to do it, but it's not released yet. See 1377 (the "new" 495 that was mentioned by @Andy).

I ended up implementing the "generate .yml as part of CI" approach as proposed by @Thomas.


add env to .env file

Such as

VERSION=1.0.0

then save it to deploy.sh

INPUTFILE=docker-compose.yml
RESULT_NAME=docker-compose.product.yml
NAME=test

prepare() {
        local inFile=$(pwd)/$INPUTFILE
        local outFile=$(pwd)/$RESULT_NAME
        cp $inFile $outFile
        while read -r line; do
            OLD_IFS="$IFS"
            IFS="="
            pair=($line)
            IFS="$OLD_IFS"
               sed -i -e "s/\${${pair[0]}}/${pair[1]}/g" $outFile
            done <.env
     }

deploy() {
        docker stack deploy -c $outFile $NAME
}


prepare
deploy

Use .env file to define dynamic values in docker-compse.yml. Be it port or any other value.

Sample docker-compose:

testcore.web:
       image: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.dkr.ecr.ap-northeast-2.amazonaws.com/testcore:latest
       volumes: 
            - c:/logs:c:/logs
       ports:
            - ${TEST_CORE_PORT}:80
       environment:
            - CONSUL_URL=http://${CONSUL_IP}:8500 
            - HOST=${HOST_ADDRESS}:${TEST_CORE_PORT}

Inside .env file you can define the value of these variables:

CONSUL_IP=172.31.28.151
HOST_ADDRESS=172.31.16.221
TEST_CORE_PORT=10002

Need Your Help

Create web service proxy in Visual Studio from a WSDL file

c# .net visual-studio web-services wsdl

My application needs to talk to a web service that hasn't got an online WSDL definition. The developers however supplied me with a WSDL file.

TSQL left join and only last row from right

sql sql-server tsql left-join

I'm writing sql query to get post and only last comment of this post(if exists).