Configuring Docker environments - AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Configuring Docker environments

There are several ways to configure the behavior of your Elastic Beanstalk Docker environment.


If your Elastic Beanstalk environment uses an Amazon Linux AMI Docker platform version (preceding Amazon Linux 2), be sure to read the additional information in Docker configuration on Amazon Linux AMI (preceding Amazon Linux 2).

Configuring software in Docker environments

You can use the Elastic Beanstalk console to configure the software running on your environment's instances.

To configure your Docker environment in the Elastic Beanstalk console

  1. Open the Elastic Beanstalk console, and in the Regions list, select your AWS Region.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Environments, and then choose the name of your environment from the list.


    If you have many environments, use the search bar to filter the environment list.

  3. In the navigation pane, choose Configuration.

  4. In the Software configuration category, choose Edit.

  5. Make necessary configuration changes.

  6. Choose Apply.

For information about configuring software settings in any environment, see Environment properties and other software settings. The following sections cover Docker specific information.

Container options

The Container options section has platform-specific options. For Docker environments, it lets you choose whether or not your environment includes the Nginx proxy server.

Environments with Docker Compose

If you manage your Docker environment with Docker Compose, Elastic Beanstalk assumes that you run a proxy server as a container. Therefore it defaults to None for the Proxy server setting, and Elastic Beanstalk does not provide an NGINX configuration.


Even if you select NGINX as a proxy server, this setting is ignored in an environment with Docker Compose. The Proxy server setting still defaults to None.

Since the NGINX web server proxy is disabled for the Docker on Amazon Linux 2 platform with Docker Compose, you must follow the instructions for generating logs for enhanced health reporting. For more information, see Generating logs for enhanced health reporting (Docker Compose).

Environment properties and Environment Variables

The Environment properties section lets you specify environment configuration settings on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances that are running your application. Environment properties are passed in as key-value pairs to the application. In a Docker environment, Elastic Beanstalk passes environment properties to containers as environment variables.

Your application code running in a container can refer to an environment variable by name and read its value. The source code that reads these environment variables will vary by progamming language. You can find instructions for reading environment variable values in the programming languages that Elastic Beanstalk managed platforms support in the respective platform topic. For a list of links to these topics, see Environment properties and other software settings.

Environments with Docker Compose

If you manage your Docker environment with Docker Compose, you must make some additional configuration to retrieve the environment variables in the containers. In order for the executables running in your container to access these enrironment variables, you must reference them in the docker-compose.yml. For more information see Referencing environment variables in containers.

Referencing environment variables in containers

If you are using the Docker Compose tool on the Amazon Linux 2 Docker platform, Elastic Beanstalk generates a Docker Compose environment file called .env in the root directory of your application project. This file stores the environment variables you configured for Elastic Beanstalk.


If you include a .env file in your application bundle, Elastic Beanstalk will not generate an .env file.

In order for a container to reference the environment variables you define in Elastic Beanstalk, you must follow one or both of these configuration approaches.

  • Add the .env file generated by Elastic Beanstalk to the env_file configuration option in the docker-compose.yml file.

  • Directly define the environment variables in the docker-compose.yml file.

The following files provide an example. The sample docker-compose.yml file demonstrates both approaches.

  • If you define environment properties DEBUG_LEVEL=1 and LOG_LEVEL=error, Elastic Beanstalk generates the following .env file for you:

  • In this docker-compose.yml file, the env_file configuration option points to the .env file, and it also defines the environment variable DEBUG=1 directly in the docker-compose.yml file.

    services: web: build: . environment: - DEBUG=1 env_file: - .env
  • If you set the same environment variable in both files, the variable defined in the docker-compose.yml file has higher precedence than the variable defined in the .env file.

  • Be careful to not leave spaces between the equal sign (=) and the value assigned to your variable in order to prevent spaces from being added to the string.

To learn more about environment variables in Docker Compose, see Environment variables in Compose

Generating logs for enhanced health reporting (Docker Compose)

The Elastic Beanstalk health agent provides operating system and application health metrics for Elastic Beanstalk environments. It relies on web server log formats that relay information in a specific format.

Elastic Beanstalk assumes that you run a web server proxy as a container. As a result the NGINX web server proxy is disabled for Docker environments running Docker Compose. You must configure your server to write logs in the location and format that the Elastic Beanstalk health agent uses. Doing so allows you to make full use of enhanced health reporting, even if the web server proxy is disabled.

For instructions on how to do this, see Web server log configuration

Docker container customized logging (Docker Compose)

In order to efficiently troubleshoot issues and monitor your containerized services, you can request instance logs from Elastic Beanstalk through the environment management console or the EB CLI. Instance logs are comprised of bundle logs and tail logs, combined and packaged to allow you to view logs and recent events in an efficient and straightforward manner.

Elastic Beanstalk creates log directories on the container instance, one for each service defined in the docker-compose.yml file, at /var/log/eb-docker/containers/<service name>. If you are using the Docker Compose feature on the Amazon Linux 2 Docker platform, you can mount these directories to the location within the container file structure where logs are written. When you mount log directories for writing log data, Elastic Beanstalk can gather log data from these directories.

If your applications are on a Docker platform that is not using Docker Compose, you can follow the standard procedure desribed in Docker container customized logging (Docker Compose).

To configure your service's logs files to be retreivable tail files and bundle logs

  1. Edit the docker-compose.yml file.

  2. Under the volumes key for your service add a bind mount to be the following:

    "${EB_LOG_BASE_DIR}/<service name>:<log directory inside container>

    In the sample docker-compose.yml file below:

    • nginx-proxy is <service name>

    • /var/log/nginx is <log directory inside container>

    services: nginx-proxy: image: "nginx" volumes: - "${EB_LOG_BASE_DIR}/nginx-proxy:/var/log/nginx"
  • The var/log/nginx directory contains the logs for the nginx-proxy service in the container, and it will be mapped to the /var/log/eb-docker/containers/nginx-proxy directory on the host.

  • All of the logs in this directory are now retrievable as bundle and tail logs through Elastic Beanstalk's request instance logs functionality.

  • ${EB_LOG_BASE_DIR} is an environment variable set by Elastic Beanstalk with the value /var/log/eb-docker/containers.

  • Elastic Beanstalk automatically creates the /var/log/eb-docker/containers/<service name> directory for each service in the docker-compose.ymlfile.

Docker images

The Docker and Multicontainer Docker platforms for Elastic Beanstalk support the use of Docker images stored in a public or private online image repository.

Specify images by name in Note these conventions:

  • Images in official repositories on Docker Hub use a single name (for example, ubuntu or mongo).

  • Images in other repositories on Docker Hub are qualified with an organization name (for example, amazon/amazon-ecs-agent).

  • Images in other online repositories are qualified further by a domain name (for example, or

For environments using the Docker platform only, you can also build your own image during environment creation with a Dockerfile. See Building custom images with a Dockerfile for details. The Multicontainer Docker platform doesn't support this functionality.

You can store your custom Docker images in AWS with Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR). When you store your Docker images in Amazon ECR, Elastic Beanstalk automatically authenticates to the Amazon ECR registry with your environment's instance profile, so you don't need to generate an authentication file and upload it to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

You do, however, need to provide your instances with permission to access the images in your Amazon ECR repository by adding permissions to your environment's instance profile. You can attach the AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryReadOnly managed policy to the instance profile to provide read-only access to all Amazon ECR repositories in your account, or grant access to single repository by using the following template to create a custom policy:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Sid": "AllowEbAuth", "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "ecr:GetAuthorizationToken" ], "Resource": [ "*" ] }, { "Sid": "AllowPull", "Effect": "Allow", "Resource": [ "arn:aws:ecr:us-east-2:account-id:repository/repository-name" ], "Action": [ "ecr:GetAuthorizationToken", "ecr:BatchCheckLayerAvailability", "ecr:GetDownloadUrlForLayer", "ecr:GetRepositoryPolicy", "ecr:DescribeRepositories", "ecr:ListImages", "ecr:BatchGetImage" ] } ] }

Replace the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) in the above policy with the ARN of your repository.

In your file, refer to the image by URL. For the Docker platform, the URL goes in the Image definition:

"Image": { "Name": "", "Update": "true" },

For the Multicontainer Docker platform, use the image key in a container definition object:

"containerDefinitions": [ { "name": "my-image", "image": "",

To use a Docker image in a private repository hosted by an online registry, you must provide an authentication file that contains information required to authenticate with the registry.

Generate an authentication file with the docker login command. For repositories on Docker Hub, run docker login:

$ docker login

For other registries, include the URL of the registry server:

$ docker login registry-server-url

If your Elastic Beanstalk environment uses an Amazon Linux AMI Docker platform version (preceding Amazon Linux 2), read the additional information in Docker configuration on Amazon Linux AMI (preceding Amazon Linux 2).

Upload a copy named .dockercfg of the authentication file to a secure Amazon S3 bucket. The Amazon S3 bucket must be hosted in the same AWS Region as the environment that is using it. Elastic Beanstalk cannot download files from an Amazon S3 bucket hosted in other Regions. Grant permissions for the s3:GetObject operation to the IAM role in the instance profile. For details, see Managing Elastic Beanstalk instance profiles.

Include the Amazon S3 bucket information in the Authentication (v1) or authentication (v2) parameter in your file.

For more information about the format for Docker environments, see Docker configuration. For multicontainer environments, see Multicontainer Docker configuration.

For more information about the authentication file, see Store images on Docker Hub and docker login on the Docker website.

Reclaiming Docker storage space

Docker does not clean up (delete) the space used when a file is created and then deleted from within a running container; the space is only returned to the pool once the container is deleted. This becomes an issue if a container process creates and deletes many files, such as regularly dumping database backups, filling up the application storage space.

One solution is to increase the size of the application storage space, as described in the previous section. The other option is less-performant: run fstrim on the host OS periodically, such as using cron, against container free space to reclaim the unused container data blocks.

docker ps -q | xargs docker inspect --format='{{ .State.Pid }}' | xargs -IZ sudo fstrim /proc/Z/root/

Configuring managed updates for Docker environments

With managed platform updates, you can configure your environment to automatically update to the latest version of a platform on a schedule.

In the case of Docker environments, you might want to decide if an automatic platform update should happen across Docker versions—when the new platform version includes a new Docker version. Elastic Beanstalk supports managed platform updates across Docker versions when updating from an environment running a Docker platform version newer than 2.9.0. When a new platform version includes a new version of Docker, Elastic Beanstalk increments the minor update version number. Therefore, to allow managed platform updates across Docker versions, enable managed platform updates for both minor and patch version updates. To prevent managed platform updates across Docker versions, enable managed platform updates to apply patch version updates only.

For example, the following configuration file enables managed platform updates at 9:00 AM UTC each Tuesday for both minor and patch version updates, thereby allowing for managed updates across Docker versions:

Example .ebextensions/managed-platform-update.config

option_settings: aws:elasticbeanstalk:managedactions: ManagedActionsEnabled: true PreferredStartTime: "Tue:09:00" aws:elasticbeanstalk:managedactions:platformupdate: UpdateLevel: minor

For environments running Docker platform versions 2.9.0 or earlier, Elastic Beanstalk never performs managed platform updates if the new platform version includes a new Docker version.

Docker configuration namespaces

You can use a configuration file to set configuration options and perform other instance configuration tasks during deployments. Configuration options can be defined by the Elastic Beanstalk service or the platform that you use and are organized into namespaces.


This information only applies to Docker environment that are not running Docker Compose. This option has a different behavior with Docker environments that run Docker Compose. For further information on proxy services with Docker Compose see Container options.

The Docker platform supports options in the following namespaces, in addition to the options supported for all Elastic Beanstalk environments:

  • aws:elasticbeanstalk:environment:proxy – Choose the proxy server for your environment. Docker supports either running Nginx or no proxy server.

The following example configuration file configures a Docker environment to run no proxy server.

Example .ebextensions/docker-settings.config

option_settings: aws:elasticbeanstalk:environment:proxy: ProxyServer: none

Docker configuration on Amazon Linux AMI (preceding Amazon Linux 2)

If your Elastic Beanstalk Docker environment uses an Amazon Linux AMI platform version (preceding Amazon Linux 2), read the additional information in this section.

This information is relevant to you if you are using images from a private repository. Beginning with Docker version 1.7, the docker login command changed the name of the authentication file, and the format of the file. Amazon Linux AMI Docker platform versions (preceding Amazon Linux 2) require the older ~/.dockercfg format configuration file.

With Docker version 1.7 and later, the docker login command creates the authentication file in ~/.docker/config.json in the following format.

{ "auths":{ "server":{ "auth":"key" } } }

With Docker version 1.6.2 and earlier, the docker login command creates the authentication file in ~/.dockercfg in the following format.

{ "server" : { "auth" : "auth_token", "email" : "email" } }

To convert a config.json file, remove the outer auths key, add an email key, and flatten the JSON document to match the old format.

On Amazon Linux 2 Docker platform versions, Elastic Beanstalk uses the newer authentication file name and format. If you're using an Amazon Linux 2 Docker platform version, you can use the authentication file that the docker login command creates without any conversion.

For improved performance on Amazon Linux AMI, Elastic Beanstalk configures two Amazon EBS storage volumes for your Docker environment's Amazon EC2 instances. In addition to the root volume provisioned for all Elastic Beanstalk environments, a second 12GB volume named xvdcz is provisioned for image storage on Docker environments.

If you need more storage space or increased IOPS for Docker images, you can customize the image storage volume by using the BlockDeviceMapping configuration option in the aws:autoscaling:launchconfiguration namespace.

For example, the following configuration file increases the storage volume's size to 100 GB with 500 provisioned IOPS:

Example .ebextensions/blockdevice-xvdcz.config

option_settings: aws:autoscaling:launchconfiguration: BlockDeviceMappings: /dev/xvdcz=:100::io1:500

If you use the BlockDeviceMappings option to configure additional volumes for your application, you should include a mapping for xvdcz to ensure that it is created. The following example configures two volumes, the image storage volume xvdcz with default settings and an additional 24 GB application volume named sdh:

Example .ebextensions/blockdevice-sdh.config

option_settings: aws:autoscaling:launchconfiguration: BlockDeviceMappings: /dev/xvdcz=:12:true:gp2,/dev/sdh=:24

When you change settings in this namespace, Elastic Beanstalk replaces all instances in your environment with instances running the new configuration. See Configuration changes for details.