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Short Description
DVWA (Damn Vulnerable Web Application) Docker image
Full Description

DVWA Docker image

This Docker image contains DVWA which is a "web application that is damn vulnerable".
It's purpose is to demonstrate the most common web related vulnerabilities.


Since it includes SERIOUS ones, it's highly unrecommended to put it anywhere close to a production system.
(You have been warned)

To even more lower the risks when running it on your own computer, it is recommended to isolate it.
A Docker image or a VM should be fine, but no warranties.

Read the original DVWA disclaimer as well!


First of all pull the image from Docker Hub:

$ docker pull sagikazarmark/dvwa

Then start it with the following command:

$ docker run --rm -it -p 8080:80 sagikazarmark/dvwa

(Note: -it is required so that you can stop the container with SIGINT)

Now head to http://localhost:8080 in your browser. Login with admin and password (hard to guess) credentials.
You should see an installation screen with all options green (except captcha, we will get back to that later).
Click on the Create / Reset Database button. When the process is finished,
click on the login link and login in again. That's it, you are ready for hacking.

When you are done with playing don't forget to stop the container!!!


Since the purpose of this image is to model an average (vulnerable) application, I wanted to keep the environment
as close to a "usual" one as possible. Despite Docker suggests running one process per container,
this image is self-contained: it includes a whole LAMP stack.

The OS of the image is Debian Jessie, all softwares are installed from official repositories:

  • PHP 5.6.30
  • Apache 2.4.10
  • MySQL 5.5.54

MySQL credentials are configured to be the DVWA defaults:

  • User: root
  • Password: p@ssw0rd
  • Database: dvwa

Further changes:

  • allow_url_include PHP option is turned On (required by DVWA)
  • MySQL bind_address option is disabled as well as root user is allowed to login from any addresses so that you can access the database from your host computer
  • MySQL general_log is turned on (default location: /var/log/mysql/mysql.log) so that queries can be monitored
  • MySQL secure-file-priv is turned off to allow SQLi OS Shell hacks
  • /var/www/html is world writable to make it even more vulnerable
  • recaptcha is configured in the DVWA configuration to look for RECAPTCHA_PUBLIC_KEY and RECAPTCHA_PRIVATE_KEY environment variables


Start as daemon

This is NOT recommended as you might forget to stop the container (like I do all the times),
but it can be useful if you don't want the container to consume your shell.
You can start the container as a daemon by replacing --rm with -d:

$ docker run -d -p 8080:80 sagikazarmark/dvwa

You might also want to give it a name, so that you can refer to it easily (instead of it's generated name or ID):

$ docker run -d --name dvwa -p 8080:80 sagikazarmark/dvwa

When you are done, please STOP the container (or even delete it):

$ docker stop dvwa
$ docker delete dvwa

Expose MySQL to the host

The MySQL server running in the container can be exposed to the host so that you can access the database itself.
All you need to do is adding -p 3336:3306 to the Docker run command,
where 3336 is the port which you can connect to on your localhost:

$ docker run --rm -it -p 8080:80 -p 3336:3306 sagikazarmark/dvwa

After that you can easily connect to the MySQL server:

$ mysql -h -P 3336 -u root -pp@ssw0rd

Or you can easily monitor the server with mytop:

$ mytop --password="p@ssw0rd" --port=3346 --database="dvwa" --host=""


Since recaptcha requires registration, I couldn't build it into the image.
If you need it, head to and register a key.

After that start the container with the following parameters:

$ docker run -d --name dvwa -p 8080:80 -e RECAPTCHA_PUBLIC_KEY=YOUR_KEY -e RECAPTCHA_PRIVATE_KEY=YOUR_KEY sagikazarmark/dvwa

Check logs with lnav

lnav is an extremely powerful log analyzer and can easily become the developer's best friend.
It allows you to filter/search/highlight or save logs in the console. It knows all kinds of log formats including
Apache log and it can even highlight SQL queries, which makes it a perfect tool for us.

There are two kinds of logs which might be useful in the current scenario:

  • Apache access and error logs
  • MySQL error and general query logs

Fortunately the container automatically tails the Apache logs to the STDOUT, so we can use the built-in Docker logging:

$ docker logs -f dvwa | lnav

We are mostly interested in access logs for the vulnerability pages, so start with filtering out all non-relevant log entries.
Type the following (or at least the colon, you can copy-paste the rest):

:filter-in GET /vulnerabilities

It can also be useful to search for and highlight certain parts of the log (for example the posted form in case of SQLi).
For that you can either use the highlight command or the search function (let's use this one).
As in the previous case, you need to type the slash, but you can copy-paste the rest:

/(?<=id=)(.*)(?=&Submit=Submit HTTP)

This will highlight the contents of the id field sent as a query parameter.

Sticking to the SQLi example, observing the injected code itself can be useful, but sometimes it's better to
examine the executed SQL query itself. Unfortunately the MySQL query log is not tailed into the container's STDOUT,
but all is not lost, we can still use lnav and a bit of hack:

$ docker exec dvwa sh -c "tail -f /var/log/mysql/mysql.log" | lnav

The general log contains all kinds of queries, let's take a look at the SELECT ones, filter them:

:filter-in SELECT

You can always go back to the unfiltered state with the Ctrl+R keystroke.

Why this image? (aka. Do I suffer from the NIH syndrome?)

I usually try to fight against the Not invented here syndrome
and contribute to existing software In this particular case there are already 27 existing Docker images of the
very same DVWA, so it's a valid question to ask why I created another one.

Quality and reliability

Besides being a NIH fighter, I am also allergic to low quality. This includes everything from code to documentation.
Although there are not too much code in this case that could be wrong, the existing images are highly underdocumented.
My purpose was to provide an image AND a guide with tips, so that it can actually be useful.

Last, but not least: I am not a big fan of running images which does not publish a Dockerfile as well.


Most of the images either do not provide any information about their environment or use "special"
dockerized LAMP stacks (mostly tutum/lamp).

One of my goals was creating an image as close to "usual" production environments as possible.


The size of the image is around 360 MB which is relatively small compared to the already existing images.
It's also small in terms of image layers: it has only 5 layers compared to the most popular image which has 41
(mostly because of using tutum/lamp as a base image).


The MIT License (MIT). Please see License File for more information.

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