Interactive shell using Docker Compose

Is there any way to start a interactive shell in a container using Docker Compose only? I've tried something like this, in my docker-compose.yml:

  image: alpine:latest
  entrypoint: /bin/sh

When I start this container using docker-compose up it's exited immediately. Are there any flags I can add to the entrypoint command, or as and additional option to myapp, to start as interactive shell?

I know there are native docker command options to achieve this, just curious if it's possible using only Docker Compose, too.


You need to include the following lines in your docker-compose.yml:

stdin_open: true
tty: true

The first corresponds to -i in docker run and the second to -t.

The canonical way to get an interactive shell with docker-compose is to use: docker-compose run --rm myapp

You can set stdin_open: true, tty: true, however that won't actually give you a proper shell with up, because logs are being streamed from all the containers.

You can also use

docker exec -ti <container name> /bin/bash

to get a shell on a running container.

In the official getting started example ( with the following docker-compose.yml:

version: '3'
    build: .
     - "5000:5000"
    image: "redis:alpine"

After you start this with docker-compose up, you can easily shell into either your redis container or your web container with:

docker-compose exec redis sh
docker-compose exec web sh 

docker-compose run myapp sh should do the deal.

There is some confusion with up/run, but docker-compose run docs have great explanation:

Using docker-compose, I found the easiest way to do this is to do a docker ps -a (after starting my containers with docker-compose up) and get the ID of the container I want to have an interactive shell in (let's call it xyz123).

Then it's a simple matter to execute docker exec -ti xyz123 /bin/bash

and voila, an interactive shell.

If anyone from the future also wonders up here:

docker-compose exec container_name sh


docker-compose exec container_name bash

or you can run single lines like

docker-compose exec container_name php -v

That is after you already have your containers up and running

You can do docker-compose exec SERVICE_NAME sh on the command line. The SERVICE_NAME is defined in your docker-compose.yml. For example,

        image: wurstmeister/zookeeper
          - "2181:2181"

The SERVICE_NAME would be zookeeper.

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