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Last pushed: 5 months ago
Short Description
Containerized Node Express Web Server -- Use on AWS ECS & Fargate, Heroku, Digital Ocean, Zeit Now
Full Description

Looking for npm scripts for Docker? Go here!
Looking for npm scripts for AWS ECS? Go here!

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Quick Start

Using this image as your web server is super easy.

  1. Create a Dockerfile on your projects new folder.
  2. Using FROM inherit from this image.
  3. Set the WORKDIR to /usr/src/app
  4. COPY your local dist, build, public or the folder that contains your finalized (transpiled, compiled, minified) output to the server's public folder.
  5. Want to enforce HTTPS? See below.

Dockerfile HTTP Example

FROM duluca/minimal-node-web-server

WORKDIR /usr/src/app

# (optional) ENV NODE_ENV=local

#COPY "your local folder on your development environment (dist, build, public, etc)" "server's public content folder inside the container (public)"
COPY dist public

See project as an example of how to use this container with your own front-end project.

Why Should You Use This Image?

A simple Express.js server to serve web content from the public folder. Alpine Linux is utilized to achieve absolute minimal memory footprint (~25mb).

This is will work great, if all you're doing is serving static content. If you intend to run a full-stack Node.js application, then your mileage may vary for intense and highly sensitive workloads.

HTTPS Forwarding

You may set ENV ENFORCE_HTTPS=true in your Dockerfile to forward all HTTP requests to HTTPS.

FROM duluca/minimal-node-web-server

WORKDIR /usr/src/app
COPY dist public

# Options [true | xProto | xArrSsl | forwardedHost]

Beware: Setting up HTTPS in production is not a straight forward process. For the most part you'll be relying on your cloud provider to the complicated stuff for you, like housing your private keys, reverse proxying or load balancing. In that case use the settings detailed in the HTTP Forwarding section of

For instance health checks use /healthCheck to bypass HTTPS enforcement.

See for additional information.

Reverse Proxy

If you're not using a cloud provider and would like to setup a reverse proxy, you can always roll your own. You would want to create a docker-compose.yml file, and use jwilder/nginx-proxy with this server.

There's a treasure trove of information linked from, if you'd like to set up your own reverse proxy.

Multi-environment Support

This Docker image, by default, sets process.env.NODE_ENV to production. A production setting is required to enforce features like HTTPS, which is not something you would like to do on your local development environment. However you may have test, beta or staging environments. To treat these environment as production, specify them in a common seperated format as shown in the example below.

FROM duluca/minimal-node-web-server

WORKDIR /usr/src/app
COPY dist public


How To Use This Image?

You can fork it, modify it and go on your merry way. However, the intent is to even avoid that. Using the source code for this image as example, you can containirize your front-end application and with Docker Compose you can add this image as a dependency and host your Single Page Application (SPA) in its own container.

In any case, my recommendation would be to host your front-end and back-end code in seperate containers. This is in the spirit of a micro-services architecture. In addition, this approach physically enforces a seperation of concerns that is usually only implemented logically.

New to Docker?

I intentionally kept the code simple and easy to read. It would be great exercise for you to understand how it exactly works end to end.

Read more about what Docker is, why it's important and how you can benefit from it here.

How to Build, Run and Publish

There are three scripts in package.json

  • npm run docker:build will rebuild the Docker image with any changes
  • npm run docker:run will run the Docker image locally without having to publish it first
  • npm run docker:publish will publish the image to


The environment is configured following best practices from NodeSource.

If you're interested in more advanced Node.js containers I recommend checking out official NodeSource containers.

Docker Pull Command