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Last pushed: a year ago
Short Description
Automated nginx proxy for Docker containers using docker-gen based on jwilder version.
Full Description

Docker Compose

version: '2'
    image: marcinpiela/nginx-proxy
    container_name: nginx-proxy
      - "80:80"
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro

    image: jwilder/whoami
    container_name: whoami
      - VIRTUAL_HOST=whoami.local

Additional redirects

If you want to add additional redirect ex. whoami2.local:443 to whoami.local:

      - VIRTUAL_HOST=whoami.local
      - REDIRECT_PORT: 443
      - REDIRECT_VIRTUAL_HOST: whoami2.local

Multiple Ports

If your container exposes multiple ports, nginx-proxy will default to the service running on port 80. If you need to specify a different port, you can set a VIRTUAL_PORT env var to select a different one. If your container only exposes one port and it has a VIRTUAL_HOST env var set, that port will be selected.

Multiple Hosts

If you need to support multiple virtual hosts for a container, you can separate each entry with commas. For example,,, and each host will be setup the same.

Wildcard Hosts

You can also use wildcards at the beginning and the end of host name, like * or*. Or even a regular expression, which can be very useful in conjunction with a wildcard DNS service like, using ~^foo\.bar\..*\.xip\.io will match, and all other given IPs. More information about this topic can be found in the nginx documentation about server_names.

Multiple Networks

With the addition of overlay networking in Docker 1.9, your nginx-proxy container may need to connect to backend containers on multiple networks. By default, if you don't pass the --net flag when your nginx-proxy container is created, it will only be attached to the default bridge network. This means that it will not be able to connect to containers on networks other than bridge.

If you want your nginx-proxy container to be attached to a different network, you must pass the --net=my-network option in your docker create or docker run command. At the time of this writing, only a single network can be specified at container creation time. To attach to other networks, you can use the docker network connect command after your container is created:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro \
    --name my-nginx-proxy --net my-network jwilder/nginx-proxy
$ docker network connect my-other-network my-nginx-proxy

In this example, the my-nginx-proxy container will be connected to my-network and my-other-network and will be able to proxy to other containers attached to those networks.

SSL Backends

If you would like to connect to your backend using HTTPS instead of HTTP, set VIRTUAL_PROTO=https on the backend container.

uWSGI Backends

If you would like to connect to uWSGI backend, set VIRTUAL_PROTO=uwsgi on the
backend container. Your backend container should than listen on a port rather
than a socket and expose that port.

Default Host

To set the default host for nginx use the env var for example

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -e -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy

Separate Containers

nginx-proxy can also be run as two separate containers using the jwilder/docker-gen
image and the official nginx image.

You may want to do this to prevent having the docker socket bound to a publicly exposed container service.

You can demo this pattern with docker-compose:

$ docker-compose --file docker-compose-separate-containers.yml up
$ curl -H "Host: whoami.local" localhost
I'm 5b129ab83266

To run nginx proxy as a separate container you'll need to have nginx.tmpl on your host system.

First start nginx with a volume:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 --name nginx -v /tmp/nginx:/etc/nginx/conf.d -t nginx

Then start the docker-gen container with the shared volume and template:

$ docker run --volumes-from nginx \
    -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro \
    -v $(pwd):/etc/docker-gen/templates \
    -t jwilder/docker-gen -notify-sighup nginx -watch /etc/docker-gen/templates/nginx.tmpl /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf

Finally, start your containers with VIRTUAL_HOST environment variables.

$ docker run -e  ...

SSL Support

SSL is supported using single host, wildcard and SNI certificates using naming conventions for
certificates or optionally specifying a cert name (for SNI) as an environment variable.

To enable SSL:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -v /path/to/certs:/etc/nginx/certs -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy

The contents of /path/to/certs should contain the certificates and private keys for any virtual
hosts in use. The certificate and keys should be named after the virtual host with a .crt and
.key extension. For example, a container with should have a and file in the certs directory.

Diffie-Hellman Groups

If you have Diffie-Hellman groups enabled, the files should be named after the virtual host with a
dhparam suffix and .pem extension. For example, a container with
should have a file in the certs directory.

Wildcard Certificates

Wildcard certificates and keys should be named after the domain name with a .crt and .key extension.
For example would use cert name and


If your certificate(s) supports multiple domain names, you can start a container with CERT_NAME=<name>
to identify the certificate to be used. For example, a certificate for * and *
could be named shared.crt and shared.key. A container running with
and CERT_NAME=shared will then use this shared cert.

How SSL Support Works

The SSL cipher configuration is based on mozilla nginx intermediate profile which
should provide compatibility with clients back to Firefox 1, Chrome 1, IE 7, Opera 5, Safari 1,
Windows XP IE8, Android 2.3, Java 7. The configuration also enables HSTS, and SSL
session caches.

The default behavior for the proxy when port 80 and 443 are exposed is as follows:

  • If a container has a usable cert, port 80 will redirect to 443 for that container so that HTTPS
    is always preferred when available.
  • If the container does not have a usable cert, a 503 will be returned.

Note that in the latter case, a browser may get an connection error as no certificate is available
to establish a connection. A self-signed or generic cert named default.crt and default.key
will allow a client browser to make a SSL connection (likely w/ a warning) and subsequently receive
a 503.

To serve traffic in both SSL and non-SSL modes without redirecting to SSL, you can include the
environment variable HTTPS_METHOD=noredirect (the default is HTTPS_METHOD=redirect). You can also
disable the non-SSL site entirely with HTTPS_METHOD=nohttp. HTTPS_METHOD must be specified
on each container for which you want to override the default behavior. If HTTPS_METHOD=noredirect is
used, Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is disabled to prevent HTTPS users from being redirected by the
client. If you cannot get to the HTTP site after changing this setting, your browser has probably cached
the HSTS policy and is automatically redirecting you back to HTTPS. You will need to clear your browser's
HSTS cache or use an incognito window / different browser.

Basic Authentication Support

In order to be able to secure your virtual host, you have to create a file named as its equivalent VIRTUAL_HOST variable on directory

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 443:443 \
    -v /path/to/htpasswd:/etc/nginx/htpasswd \
    -v /path/to/certs:/etc/nginx/certs \
    -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro \

You'll need apache2-utils on the machine where you plan to create the htpasswd file. Follow these instructions

Custom Nginx Configuration

If you need to configure Nginx beyond what is possible using environment variables, you can provide custom configuration files on either a proxy-wide or per-VIRTUAL_HOST basis.

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