As I hosted a WordPress site in docker containers and i want these containers to be started at boot time always, so need to done it manually.

  • which ubuntu version do you use? – Maythux May 8 '15 at 7:47
  • using ubuntu server 14.04 – nayan tiwari May 8 '15 at 8:01
  • This has been asked on ServerFault. – Dan Dascalescu Feb 22 '16 at 2:08
  • Crossposted. Please pick one site, not many, for posting things on. – Thomas Ward Jan 19 '17 at 20:12

Till now I don't think there is a way to do that normally. A tricky solution is to use restart policy

sudo docker run --restart=always -d your_image

This means whenever you shut down this will exit your container so as you start your host then this lead to restart the docker.


It is a very common use case to add the restart policy on an existing container.

This could be done with the following command: docker update --restart {no,on-failure,unless-stopped,always} container_name

More details: Docker - Start containers automatically

  • 2
    This solved my problem perfectly! I had a container with my database, and wanted it to start when my Mac started. By specifying that its image was always restarted (unless stopped), this did the trick! – Colin Aug 22 '18 at 15:20

As ubuntu 15 now supports systemd, sample for this manager:


Description=Some service

ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker start -a container_name
ExecStop=/usr/bin/docker stop -t 2 container_name


More available on docker site

P.S. Pretty cute config :)


What I did is to use Upstart files.

You can find some examples and other solutions in the Docker website.

Create a file such like that in /etc/init :

Description "My container"
start on filesystem and started docker
stop on runlevel [!2345]
   /usr/bin/docker start -a mycontainer
end script
pre-stop script
  /usr/bin/docker stop mycontainer
end script

Note, as from Docker 1.2, there are restart policies which may also help to automatically restart containers when the docker service is run (after boot for example).

Personnaly, I use puppet to provision my workstation and use this Docker module to automatically create the startup scripts which are more complete (start, stop, restart, clean options...)

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