DockerConnecting Containers


tty:trueIn docker-compose.yml, the tty: true flag keeps the container's sh command running waiting for input.


The host and bridge network drivers are able to connect containers on a single docker host. To allow containers to communicate beyond one machine, create an overlay network. Steps to create the network depend on how your docker hosts are managed.

Docker network

Containers in the same docker network have access to exposed ports.

docker network create sample
docker run --net sample --name keys consul agent -server -client= -bootstrap

Consul's Dockerfile exposes 8500, 8600, and several more ports. To demonstrate, run another container in the same network:

docker run --net sample -ti alpine sh
/ # wget -qO- keys:8500/v1/catalog/nodes

Here the consul container is resolved from keys, the name given in the first command. Docker provides dns resolution on this network, to find containers by their --name.


Networks can be specified in a compose file (v2). By default all the containers are in a shared network.

Start with this file: example/docker-compose.yml:

version: '2'
    image: consul
    command: agent -server -client= -bootstrap
    image: alpine
    tty: true
    command: sh

Starting this stack with docker-compose up -d will create a network named after the parent directory, in this case example_default. Check with docker network ls

 > docker network ls
NETWORK ID          NAME                    DRIVER              SCOPE
719eafa8690b        example_default         bridge              local

Connect to the alpine container to verify the containers can resolve and communicate:

 > docker exec -ti example_test_1 sh
/ # nslookup keys
/ # wget -qO- keys:8500/v1/kv/?recurse

A compose file can have a networks: top level section to specify the network name, driver, and other options from the docker network command.

Container Linking

The docker --link argument, and link: sections docker-compose make aliases to other containers.

docker network create sample
docker run -d --net sample --name redis redis

With link either the original name or the mapping will resolve the redis container.

> docker run --net sample --link redis:cache -ti python:alpine sh -c "pip install redis && python"
>>> import redis
>>> r = redis.StrictRedis(host='cache')
>>> r.set('key', 'value')

Before docker 1.10.0 container linking also setup network connectivity - behavior now provided by docker network. Links in later versions only provide legacy effect on the default bridge network.