From inside of a Docker container, how do I connect to the localhost of the machine?

So I have a Nginx running inside a docker container, I have a mysql running on localhost, I want to connect to the MySql from within my Nginx. The MySql is running on localhost and not exposing a port to the outside world, so its bound on localhost, not bound on the ip address of the machine.

Is there any way to connect to this MySql or any other program on localhost from within this docker container?


Edit: If you are using Docker-for-mac or Docker-for-Windows 18.03+, just connect to your mysql service using the host host.docker.internal.

As of Docker 18.09.3, this does not work on Docker-for-Linux. A fix has been submitted on March the 8th, 2019 and will hopefully be merged to the code base. Until then, a workaround is to use a container as described in qoomon's answer.


Use --network="host" in your docker run command, then in your docker container will point to your docker host.

Note: This mode only works on Docker for Linux, per the documentation.

Note on docker container networking modes

Docker offers different networking modes when running containers. Depending on the mode you choose you would connect to your MySQL database running on the docker host differently.

docker run --network="bridge" (default)

Docker creates a bridge named docker0 by default. Both the docker host and the docker containers have an IP address on that bridge.

on the Docker host, type sudo ip addr show docker0 you will have an output looking like:

[vagrant@docker:~] $ sudo ip addr show docker0
4: docker0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state UP group default
    link/ether 56:84:7a:fe:97:99 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet scope global docker0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::5484:7aff:fefe:9799/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

So here my docker host has the IP address on the docker0 network interface.

Now start a new container and get a shell on it: docker run --rm -it ubuntu:trusty bash and within the container type ip addr show eth0 to discover how its main network interface is set up:

root@e77f6a1b3740:/# ip addr show eth0
863: eth0: <BROADCAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 66:32:13:f0:f1:e3 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet scope global eth0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::6432:13ff:fef0:f1e3/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

Here my container has the IP address Now look at the routing table:

root@e77f6a1b3740:/# route
Kernel IP routing table
Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags Metric Ref    Use Iface
default         UG    0      0        0 eth0      *          U     0      0        0 eth0

So the IP Address of the docker host is set as the default route and is accessible from your container.

root@e77f6a1b3740:/# ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.070 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.201 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.116 ms
docker run --network="host"

Alternatively you can run a docker container with network settings set to host. Such a container will share the network stack with the docker host and from the container point of view, localhost (or will refer to the docker host.

Be aware that any port opened in your docker container would be opened on the docker host. And this without requiring the -p or -P docker run option.

IP config on my docker host:

[vagrant@docker:~] $ ip addr show eth0
2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 08:00:27:98:dc:aa brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet brd scope global eth0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::a00:27ff:fe98:dcaa/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

and from a docker container in host mode:

[vagrant@docker:~] $ docker run --rm -it --network=host ubuntu:trusty ip addr show eth0
2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UP group default qlen 1000
    link/ether 08:00:27:98:dc:aa brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet brd scope global eth0
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
    inet6 fe80::a00:27ff:fe98:dcaa/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

As you can see both the docker host and docker container share the exact same network interface and as such have the same IP address.

Connecting to MySQL from containers

bridge mode

To access MySQL running on the docker host from containers in bridge mode, you need to make sure the MySQL service is listening for connections on the IP address.

To do so, make sure you have either bind-address = or bind-address = in your MySQL config file (my.cnf).

If you need to set an environment variable with the IP address of the gateway, you can run the following code in a container :

export DOCKER_HOST_IP=$(route -n | awk '/UG[ \t]/{print $2}')

then in your application, use the DOCKER_HOST_IP environment variable to open the connection to MySQL.

Note: if you use bind-address = your MySQL server will listen for connections on all network interfaces. That means your MySQL server could be reached from the Internet ; make sure to setup firewall rules accordingly.

Note 2: if you use bind-address = your MySQL server won't listen for connections made to Processes running on the docker host that would want to connect to MySQL would have to use the IP address.

host mode

To access MySQL running on the docker host from containers in host mode, you can keep bind-address = in your MySQL configuration and all you need to do is to connect to from your containers:

[vagrant@docker:~] $ docker run --rm -it --network=host mysql mysql -h -uroot -p
Enter password:
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 36
Server version: 5.5.41-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 (Ubuntu)

Copyright (c) 2000, 2014, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


note: Do use mysql -h and not mysql -h localhost; otherwise the MySQL client would try to connect using a unix socket.

For macOS and Windows

Docker v 18.03 and above (since March 21st 2018)

Use your internal IP address or connect to the special DNS name host.docker.internal which will resolve to the internal IP address used by the host.

Linux support pending

MacOS with earlier versions of Docker

Docker for Mac v 17.12 to v 18.02

Same as above but use instead.

Docker for Mac v 17.06 to v 17.11

Same as above but use docker.for.mac.localhost instead.

Docker for Mac 17.05 and below

To access host machine from the docker container you must attach an IP alias to your network interface. You can bind whichever IP you want, just make sure you're not using it to anything else.

sudo ifconfig lo0 alias

Then make sure that you server is listening to the IP mentioned above or If it's listening on localhost it will not accept the connection.

Then just point your docker container to this IP and you can access the host machine!

To test you can run something like curl -X GET inside the container.

The alias will reset on every reboot so create a start-up script if necessary.

Solution and more documentation here:

I doing a hack similar to above posts of get the local IP to map to a alias name (DNS) in the container. The major problem is to get dynamically with a simple script that works both in Linux and OSX the host IP address. I did this script that works in both environments (even in Linux distribution with "$LANG" != "en_*" configured):

ifconfig | grep -E "([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}" | grep -v | awk '{ print $2 }' | cut -f2 -d: | head -n1

So, using Docker Compose, the full configuration will be:

Startup script (

export DOCKERHOST=$(ifconfig | grep -E "([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}" | grep -v | awk '{ print $2 }' | cut -f2 -d: | head -n1)
docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml up


  build: .
    - "80:80"
    - "dockerhost:$DOCKERHOST"

Then change http://localhost to http://dockerhost in your code.

For a more advance guide of how to customize the DOCKERHOST script, take a look at this post with a explanation of how it works.

This worked for me on an NGINX/PHP-FPM stack without touching any code or networking where the app's just expecting to be able to connect to localhost

Mount mysqld.sock from the host to inside the container.

Find the location of the mysql.sock file on the host running mysql: netstat -ln | awk '/mysql(.*)?\.sock/ { print $9 }'

Mount that file to where it's expected in the docker: docker run -v /hostpath/to/mysqld.sock:/containerpath/to/mysqld.sock

Possible locations of mysqld.sock:

/Applications/MAMP/tmp/mysql/mysql.sock # if running via MAMP

Solution for Windows 10

Docker Community Edition 17.06.0-ce-win18 2017-06-28 (stable)

You can use DNS name of the host, to resolve to the internal IP. (Warning some sources mentioned windows but it should be win)

Overview I needed to do something similar, that is connect from my Docker container to my localhost, which was running the Azure Storage Emulator and CosmosDB Emulator.

The Azure Storage Emulator by default listens on, while you can change the IP its bound too, I was looking for a solution that would work with default settings.

This also works for connecting from my Docker container to SQL Server and IIS, both running locally on my host with default port settings.

Solution for Linux (kernel >=3.6).

Ok, your localhost server has default docker interface docker0 with ip address Your container started with default network settings --net="bridge".

  1. Enable route_localnet for docker0 interface: $ sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.docker0.route_localnet=1
  2. Add this rules to iptables: $ iptables -t nat -I PREROUTING -i docker0 -d -p tcp --dport 3306 -j DNAT --to $ iptables -t filter -I INPUT -i docker0 -d -p tcp --dport 3306 -j ACCEPT
  3. Create mysql user with access from '%' that mean - from anyone, excluding localhost: CREATE USER 'user'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
  4. Change in your script the mysql-server address to

From the kernel documentation:

route_localnet - BOOLEAN: Do not consider loopback addresses as martian source or destination while routing. This enables the use of 127/8 for local routing purposes (default FALSE).

For those on Windows, assuming you're using the bridge network driver, you'll want to specifically bind MySQL to the ip address of the hyper-v network interface.

This is done via the configuration file under the normally hidden C:\ProgramData\MySQL folder.

Binding to will not work. The address needed is shown in the docker configuration as well, and in my case was

Until host.docker.internal is working for every platform, you can use my container acting as a NAT gateway without any manual setup:

Edit: I ended up prototyping out the concept on GitHub. Check out:

First, my answer is geared towards 2 groups of people: those who use a Mac, and those who use Linux.

The host network mode doesn't work on a Mac. You have to use an IP alias, see:

What is a host network mode? See:

Secondly, for those of you who are using Linux (my direct experience was with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and I'm upgrading to 16.04 LTS in production soon), yes, you can make the service running inside a Docker container connect to localhost services running on the Docker host (eg. your laptop).


The key is when you run the Docker container, you have to run it with the host mode. The command looks like this:

docker run --network="host" -id <Docker image ID>

When you do an ifconfig (you will need to apt-get install net-tools your container for ifconfig to be callable) inside your container, you will see that the network interfaces are the same as the one on Docker host (eg. your laptop).

It's important to note that I'm a Mac user, but I run Ubuntu under Parallels, so using a Mac is not a disadvantage. ;-)

And this is how you connect NGINX container to the MySQL running on a localhost.

Simplest solution for Mac OSX

Just use the IP address of your Mac. On the Mac run this to get the IP address and use it from within the container:

$ ifconfig | grep 'inet 192'| awk '{ print $2}'

As long as the server running locally on your Mac or in another docker container is listening to, the docker container will be able to reach out at that address.

If you just want to access another docker container that is listening on you can use

Here is my solution : it works for my case

  • set local mysql server to public access by comment #bind-address = in /etc/mysql/mysql.conf.d

  • restart mysql server sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart

  • run the following command to open user root access any host mysql -uroot -proot GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* TO 'root'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'root' WITH GRANT OPTION; FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

  • create sh script :


    HOSTIP=`ip -4 addr show scope global dev eth0 | grep inet | awk '{print \$2}' | cut -d / -f 1`

      docker run -it -d --name web-app \
                  --add-host=local:${HOSTIP} \
                  -p 8080:8080 \
                  -e DATABASE_HOST=${HOSTIP} \
                  -e DATABASE_PORT=3306 \
                  -e DATABASE_NAME=demo \
                  -e DATABASE_USER=root \
                  -e DATABASE_PASSWORD=root \

  • run with docker-composer

    version: '2.1'

    services: tomcatwar: extra_hosts: - "local:" image: sopheamak/springboot_docker_mysql ports: - 8080:8080 environment: - DATABASE_HOST=local - DATABASE_USER=root - DATABASE_PASSWORD=root - DATABASE_NAME=demo - DATABASE_PORT=3306

You can get the host ip using alpine image

docker run --rm alpine ip route | awk 'NR==1 {print $3}'

This would be more consistent as you're always using alpine to run the command.

Similar to Mariano's answer you can use same command to set an environment variable

DOCKER_HOST=$(docker run --rm alpine ip route | awk 'NR==1 {print $3}') docker-compose up

I disagree with the answer from Thomasleveil.

Making mysql bind to will prevent other programs using the database on the host to reach it. This will only work if all your database users are dockerized.

Making mysql bind to will open the db to outside world, which is not only a very bad thing to do, but also contrary to what the original question author wants to do. He explicitly says "The MySql is running on localhost and not exposing a port to the outside world, so its bound on localhost"

To answer the comment from ivant

"Why not bind mysql to docker0 as well?"

This is not possible. The mysql/mariadb documentation explicitly says it is not possible to bind to several interfaces. You can only bind to 0, 1, or all interfaces.

As a conclusion, I have NOT found any way to reach the (localhost only) database on the host from a docker container. That definitely seems like a very very common pattern, but I don't know how to do it.

The CGroups and Namespaces are playing major role in the Container Ecosystem.

Namespace provide a layer of isolation. Each container runs in a separate namespace and its access is limited to that namespace. The Cgroups controls the resource utilization of each container, whereas Namespace controls what a process can see and access the respective resource.

Here is the basic understanding of the solution approach you could follow,

Use Network Namespace

When a container spawns out of image, a network interface is defined and create. This gives the container unique IP address and interface.

$ docker run -it alpine ifconfig

By changing the namespace to host, cotainers networks does not remain isolated to its interface, the process will have access to host machines network interface.

$ docker run -it --net=host alpine ifconfig

If the process listens on ports, they'll be listened on the host interface and mapped to the container.

Use PID Namespace By changing the Pid namespace allows a container to interact with other process beyond its normal scope.

This container will run in its own namespace.

$ docker run -it alpine ps aux

By changing the namespace to the host, the container can also see all the other processes running on the system.

$ docker run -it --pid=host alpine ps aux

Sharing Namespace

This is a bad practice to do this in production because you are breaking out of the container security model which might open up for vulnerabilities, and easy access to eavesdropper. This is only for debugging tools and understating the loopholes in container security.

The first container is nginx server. This will create a new network and process namespace. This container will bind itself to port 80 of newly created network interface.

$ docker run -d --name http nginx:alpine

Another container can now reuse this namespace,

$ docker run --net=container:http mohan08p/curl curl -s localhost

Also, this container can see the interface with the processes in a shared container.

$ docker run --pid=container:http alpine ps aux

This will allow you give more privileges to containers without changing or restarting the application. In the similar way you can connect to mysql on host, run and debug your application. But, its not recommend to go by this way. Hope it helps.

For Windows Machine :-

Run the below command to Expose docker port randomly during build time

$docker run -d --name MyWebServer -P mediawiki

In the above container list you can see the port assigned as 32768. Try accessing


You can see the mediawiki page

None of the answers worked for me when using Docker Toolbox on Windows 10 Home, but did, since it uses VirtualBox which exposes the host to the VM on this address.

Very simple and quick, check your host IP with ifconfig (linux) or ipconfig (windows) and then create a


version: '3' # specify docker-compose version

    build: ./ # specify the directory of the Dockerfile
      - "8080:80" # specify port mapping
      - "dockerhost:<yourIP>"

This way, your container will be able to access your host. When accessing your DB, remember to use the name you specified before, in this case "dockerhost" and the port of your host in which the DB is running

Until fix is not merged into master branch, to get host IP just run from inside of the container:

ip -4 route list match 0/0 | cut -d' ' -f3

(as suggested by @Mahoney here).

You can use ngrok to create a secure tunnel to your localhost machine and then expose that tunnel to your docker container.

ngrok is free to use as of 05/22/2017.


1) go to ngrok

2) download the ngrok client and follow installation instructions

3) SIGN UP for an account and they will provide an authentication token. Signing up is required because ngrok only give you tcp port tunnel after signing up. There is no cost or credit card required to sign up.

4) in your terminal do ngrok tcp 3306. 3306 is the port that mysql runs on my local, you can do it with any other port as well.

5) You will receive an address from step 4 such as this: tcp:// This is the tunnel connection to your local machine. is mapped to your localhost and port 10117 is mapped to your local port 3306. Now you can access your localhost port 3306 from anywhere using this address, including any docker container running on this machine. In your docker container(wherever it is), assuming you have mysql client already installed, do the following:

mysql --host --port 10117 -u root

You will be able to log into your root account of your local machine from inside of the docker container!

I've blogged about this solution see more details here

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