How to copy files between a host and a Docker container

In case you’re new to creating with Docker containers, there are a couple of tips you are going to wish to have up your sleeve. Jack Wallen reveals you find out how to copy recordsdata from host to container.


Picture: o_m/Shutterstock

Your corporation relies on containers. If not now, it can. Your builders know this, and so they’re both prepared for the duty or they’re gearing up for it. For many who do not know, container growth is not fairly so simple as commonplace software growth. With containers, there are significantly extra transferring elements concerned and extra cooks within the kitchen.

SEE: Kubernetes: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

However as soon as you have settled on a course of, it may go easily. For that, it is all a matter of realizing how simple Docker containers are to work with. Take, as an example, the method of copying recordsdata from the host to a operating container. It is fairly simple.

Why would you do that? It is truly easy. A developer would possibly wish to write code outdoors of the container (say, in an IDE). Or possibly a couple of software program engineer is engaged on the mission, however just one member of the staff has entry to the operating container. In such a case, the staff members would share their code, and the lead would then have to get the brand new code into the container. Certain, the lead might lower and paste, however why not simply copy the brand new file with a single command?

Let me present you ways that is achieved.

What you may want

To make this work, you may want a operating occasion of Docker and a consumer that is a member of the docker group. That is it. Let’s get our container on.

The way to deploy NGINX

We’ll exhibit this utilizing the tried and true NGINX container. Why? As a result of it is the best strategy to see the outcomes of this copy command. 

First, let’s deploy the NGINX container. We’ll deploy it in indifferent mode listening to exterior port 8080 and inner port 80. Our container title will probably be docker-nginx and is deployed with the command:

docker run --name docker-nginx -p 8080:80 -d nginx

As soon as the container is up and operating, level an online browser to http://SERVER:8080 (the place SERVER is the IP deal with of container host). You must see the NGINX welcome web page (Determine A).

Determine A


The NGINX Welcome web page displayed by our operating container.

The way to copy a file to the operating container

Let’s create a brand new Welcome web page for the container. Create this file with the command:

nano index.html

In that file, paste the next:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<h1>Hiya, TechRepublic</h1>


Save and shut the file. 

Now, we are able to copy the brand new index file into the container. The factor to know concerning the NGINX Docker container is that the doc root (the listing from which internet pages are served) is /usr/share/nginx/html (as a substitute of /var/www/html). In order that’s our vacation spot. The command to repeat recordsdata is:


The place FILE is the file title to be copied, CONTAINER is the title of the operating container, and DESTINATION is the listing inside the container that may home the brand new file. In our occasion, the command can be:

docker cp index.html docker-ngxin:/usr/share/nginx/html

After copying the file, refresh your browser web page and the welcome web page ought to now say Hiya, TechRepublic (Determine B).

Determine B


Our new NGINX welcome web page has been copied to the operating container.

You need to use the identical command to repeat a whole listing as properly. Say you have created a brand new web site referred to as ecommerce and also you wish to copy that to the NGINX doc root. You’d do this with an analogous command:

docker cp ecommerce docker-nginx:/usr/share/nginx/html

The above command would copy the listing and all of its contents.

And that is all there’s to copying recordsdata and folders from a bunch to a operating Docker container. 

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