2023 Top Docker Interview Questions and Answers - IQCode

Introduction to Docker

Docker is an open-source containerization platform used for building, deploying, and running applications. It allows you to separate the application from the underlying infrastructure.

A container is a unit of software bundled with dependencies to deploy applications quickly and reliably between different computing platforms.

Docker can be visualized as a big ship ('docker') carrying huge boxes of products ('containers'). A Docker container does not require the installation of a separate operating system. It uses the kernel's resources and functionality to allocate CPU and memory, while isolating resources and using separate namespaces to isolate the application's view of the OS.

Developers need to learn Docker as it helps to simplify and accelerate the application workflow while also allowing them to use their own choice of technology and development environments. Containers are lightweight preinstalled boxes with all the packages and software required by the application that can be deployed to production with minimal configuration changes. Docker is used by companies such as PayPal, Spotify, and Uber to simplify operations and bring infrastructure and security closer together.

Containers are portable and can be deployed on various platforms such as bare instances, virtual machines, Kubernetes platforms, etc. based on the required scale or desired platform.

Docker Basic Interview Questions

  1. Can you explain what a Docker container is?

A Docker container is a standard unit of software bundled with all its dependencies needed for the application stack. It is a standalone and executable package that can run applications quickly and reliably between different environments or computing platforms. Docker containers use namespaces and control groups to isolate system resources and their dependencies.

Understanding Docker Images

Docker images are the basic building blocks of a Docker container. They are like templates or blueprints that define what components, libraries, and software should be included in a container. Docker images are designed to be lightweight and portable, so they can be easily shared and deployed across different environments. Essentially, a Docker image contains a snapshot of a specific environment or application, including all of its dependencies and configurations. Each image has a unique identifier, called a Docker image ID, which is used to manage and reference the image in a container. By using Docker images, developers and system administrators can create and deploy applications quickly and consistently, without the need to worry about differences in operating systems or hardware.

What is a Dockerfile?

A Dockerfile is a text file that contains instructions on how to build a Docker image. Each instruction in the Dockerfile represents a layer in the image, and the combination of all instructions creates the final image. The Dockerfile also includes metadata such as the image name, description, and version. With a Dockerfile, you can automate the build process and ensure consistency in your image builds.

The Functionality of a Hypervisor

A hypervisor is a software layer that enables multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical host server. Its main functionality is to manage these virtual machines, allowing them to share the physical resources of the host server such as CPU, memory, and storage. The hypervisor also provides an abstraction layer between the virtual machines and the underlying hardware, ensuring that each VM runs independently and securely without interfering with other VMs or the host operating system. In other words, it acts as a mediator between the virtual machines and the physical system, allowing them to coexist and operate efficiently.

Docker Compose: Overview

Docker Compose is a tool used for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. It allows developers to configure all the services needed for their application using a YAML file, making it easy to deploy and manage containers in a production environment. With Docker Compose, you can specify the configuration for multiple containers, their network connections, and the volumes they share in a single file, making it easier to work with and maintain a complex application. Overall, it simplifies the process of deploying and managing containers and provides a more efficient way of working with Docker.

Docker Namespace

In the Docker environment, a namespace is a feature that allows creating isolated environments where different processes can run without interfering with each other. Each namespace provides a unique scope for system resources like network interfaces, mount points, and process trees.

There are several types of namespaces provided by Docker, including the network namespace, mount namespace, process namespace, and more. Using namespaces, Docker ensures that each container has access only to the resources that are explicitly given to it, ensuring enhanced security and isolation.

Docker Command to List Status of all Containers

The Docker command that lists the status of all Docker containers is:

docker ps -a

This will display a list of all containers and their status, including running and stopped containers.

Note that the `-a` flag is used to show all containers, including those that are not currently running. If you only want to see running containers, omit the flag.

Also, you can use the `docker container ls` command instead of `docker ps` to achieve the same result with a different syntax.

Circumstances that can lead to data loss in a container

There are several situations where data loss can occur in a container:

1. Deleting a container: If a container is deleted intentionally or unintentionally, all data stored in it will be lost.

2. Container failure: In the event of a container failure, the data stored in the container may become corrupted or lost.

3. Image update: If an image is updated and the container is recreated using the new image, any changes made to the old container will be lost.

4. Volume loss: If a container is using a volume to store data and the volume is deleted or corrupted, the data stored in it will be lost.

5. Host failure: If the host system that the container is running on fails, the container may become inaccessible, resulting in data loss.

Understanding Docker Image Registry

A Docker Image Registry is a central location where Docker users can store and distribute their container images. It acts as a hub for Docker images and allows users to share container images with others. The most popular Docker registry is Docker Hub, which is a public registry where users can find and download images or upload their own images. Users can also set up their own private Docker registry, which provides them with greater control and security over their images. Overall, a Docker Image Registry makes the distribution and management of Docker images much easier and more efficient.

How many components does Docker have?

The Docker platform comprises three primary components:

    1. Docker Engine - responsible for building, running, and distributing Docker containers<br>
    2. Docker Hub - a cloud-based registry service for sharing images and automating workflows<br>
    3. Docker CLI - a command-line interface tool used to interact with the Docker Engine<br>

Other components include Docker Compose, Docker Swarm, and Docker Machine, which are used for container orchestration and management.

What is Docker Hub?

Docker Hub is a cloud-based repository service for storing and sharing containerized applications. It allows developers to build and share Docker images with others, making it easier to distribute software applications. Docker Hub can be used as a central registry for all Docker images that you use in your projects, making it a valuable tool for managing containers in the cloud.

How to Export a Docker Image as an Archive?

To export a Docker image as an archive, you can use the Docker save command followed by the image name and the redirection operator to save the output to a tar file.

The command syntax is as follows:

docker save image_name > image_name.tar

For example, to export an image named "my_image" to a file named "my_image.tar", you can run the following command:

docker save my_image > my_image.tar

This will create a tar file with the exported image in the current working directory. You can then transfer this tar file to another machine and import it using the Docker load command.

Command to Import Docker Image to Another Docker Host

To import a pre-exported Docker image into another Docker host, you can use the following command:

docker load -i <i>path/to/image.tar</i>

Replace path/to/image.tar with the actual path to the exported Docker image file. This command loads the image into the local Docker registry of the new host.

Can a Paused Docker Container be Removed?

In Docker, a container that is currently paused can be removed using the "docker rm" command followed by the container ID. However, it is important to note that any changes made to the container while it was running will be lost. It is recommended to save any important changes before pausing or removing a container. Additionally, any uncommitted changes to a container's filesystem will be lost when the container is removed, so it is important to commit changes before removing the container.

Command to Check Version of Docker Client and Server

To check the version of Docker client and server, use the following command:

docker version

This will display the detailed information about the Docker version installed on your system. It will show the version of Docker client, server, and API.

Docker Interview Question: Virtualization vs Containerization

In simple terms, virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual version of a resource or device, such as an operating system, server, or network, which runs on a physical machine. Virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run on the same physical machine. Each of these operating systems is isolated from one another and has its own set of resources and software.

On the other hand, containerization is a type of lightweight virtualization that allows multiple applications to run on the same operating system kernel without interfering with each other. All containers on a machine share the same OS kernel. Unlike virtual machines, containers do not require a separate guest operating system or hypervisor.

In summary, virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run on one physical machine whereas containerization allows multiple applications to run on one operating system kernel.

Understanding the Copy and Add Commands in Dockerfile

In a Dockerfile, the COPY and ADD commands are used to copy files from the host machine to the container. However, there are some differences between these two commands:

1. COPY: The COPY command is a simpler form of the ADD command and is mainly used to copy files or directories from the host machine to the container. It has a straightforward syntax and is more efficient in terms of build times.

Example: COPY ./src /app/src

2. ADD: In addition to copying files and directories, the ADD command can also extract archives and URLs. It has some additional functionalities such as decompression and auto-detection of the archive formats.

Example: ADD http://example.com/app.tar.gz /app/

Overall, the COPY command is preferred over the ADD command unless there is a specific need to use the additional functionalities provided by ADD.

Can a container restart automatically?

In some cases, a container can be set to restart automatically if it experiences an error or crash. This feature can be enabled by including the `--restart` flag when running the container. If the container crashes, Docker will automatically restart it. Additionally, some orchestration tools like Kubernetes have built-in features for restarting failed containers. However, it's important to note that not all containers are set to restart automatically, so it's always a good idea to check the container configuration beforehand.

Differences between Docker Image and Layer

In Docker, an image is an executable package that includes everything needed to run an application, such as code, libraries, environment variables, and runtime. On the other hand, a layer is a read-only file system that contains differences from another layer.

The primary difference between an image and a layer is that an image is made up of multiple layers, and each layer is essentially a delta on top of the previous layer. When an image is created, it is built from a series of layers, and each layer adds a new piece of information or functionality.

Layers help to minimize the size of images by allowing the reuse of common layers across multiple images, which ultimately reduces the overall size and complexity of the image.

Another key difference between an image and a layer is that images are immutable, meaning that once they are created, they cannot be changed. In contrast, layers are subject to change, and any changes made to a layer create a new layer on top of the original layer.

In summary, a Docker image is a collection of read-only layers that are stacked on top of each other, while a layer is a single component of an image that represents a change from another layer. By breaking down images into layers, Docker provides a way to optimize image size, facilitate image sharing, and promote efficient deployment.

Understanding the Purpose of the Volume Parameter in a Docker Run Command

The volume parameter in a Docker run command is used to create a way for the host and containers to share data. By creating a reference to a directory or file in the host system, the container can access it, and changes made in the container can also reflect on the host system. It allows for the persistence of data and helps maintain data integrity throughout the containerization process.

With the volume parameter, you can mount local or remote directories into a container, which can help in managing the data of a containerized application. Additionally, the volume parameter allows for data sharing and data backup across containers. Overall, the volume parameter is an essential tool in managing containers and ensuring the persistence and integrity of data within the containerized environment.

Location of Docker Volumes in Docker

Docker volumes are stored in the Docker host’s filesystem, in a specific directory that is managed by Docker. The exact location of this directory depends on the operating system being used. On Linux hosts, the default location for storing Docker volumes is /var/lib/docker/volumes/. On Windows and MacOS hosts, the location may be different due to differences in filesystem structure. It is also possible to specify a custom location for storing Docker volumes during container creation.

Explanation of Docker "info" command

The "docker info" command provides the system-wide information about the Docker installation. It displays the Docker version, OS and kernel details, number of containers and images, available storage space, network details, and other useful information. This command can be useful for troubleshooting or understanding the configuration of a Docker environment. To use the "docker info" command, simply open a terminal or command prompt, type "docker info", and press enter.

Purposes of Up, Run, and Start Commands in Docker Compose

The following are the purposes of the Up, Run, and Start commands in Docker Compose:

1. Up command: This command creates and starts the containers that are defined in the docker-compose.yaml file. It also builds the images (if they don't exist) and attaches the containers to the specified network.

2. Run command: This command allows you to run a one-off command for a service that is defined in the docker-compose.yaml file. For example, you can use this command to run unit tests on your application.

3. Start command: This command starts the containers that are defined in the docker-compose.yaml file. However, unlike the Up command, it doesn't create new containers or attach them to the network. Instead, it uses the existing containers that were created by the Up command or any other command that created the containers previously.


Running Docker requires the following basic requirements:

- A 64-bit operating system such as Linux, Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, or macOS 10.13 or newer.

- Minimum 4GB of RAM

- At least one CPU

Additionally, depending on the size and complexity of the applications you plan to run, you may need more resources.

The Approach to Login to the Docker Registry

To login to the Docker registry, you can use the "docker login" command followed by the registry URL, your username, and your password. Here's an example command:

docker login registry.example.com --username your_username --password your_password

Make sure to replace "registry.example.com" with the URL of your Docker registry and "your_username" and "your_password" with your Docker registry credentials. Once you execute this command, Docker will attempt to authenticate and log you in.

If authentication is successful, you should see a message indicating that you are now logged in to the Docker registry. From there, you can start pulling or pushing images to and from the registry as needed.

Most Commonly Used Instructions in Dockerfile:

FROM: Specifies the base image for the Docker image being built.

RUN: Executes a command in the container shell during build time.

COPY: Copies files and directories from the build context or a URL to the container file system.

ADD: Similar to COPY, but also allows for URLs to be used as the source.

WORKDIR: Sets the working directory for subsequent instructions in the Dockerfile.

EXPOSE: Informs Docker that the container will listen on the specified network ports at runtime.

ENV: Sets environment variables in the container.

CMD: Specifies the command to be run when the container is launched.

ENTRYPOINT: Configures the container to run as an executable.

ARG: Defines variables that can be passed to the Dockerfile during build time.

Difference between Daemon Logging and Container Logging

Daemon logging and container logging are two types of logging mechanisms in Docker. The main differences between them are:

  • Daemon logging: This type of logging captures logs generated by Docker daemon and system-level logs. These logs can be collected using a logging driver that is configured to send logs to a particular endpoint. Examples of daemon logging drivers are Syslog, Fluentd, and AWS CloudWatch.
  • Container logging: Container logging captures logs that are generated by a running container. These logs can be accessed using the Docker API or by running a command on the host machine. Examples of container logging drivers are the json-file and syslog drivers.

Both types of logging are essential for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues in a Docker environment. It is recommended to use a combination of both daemon logging and container logging to capture logs at different levels of the Docker stack.

Code example:

# Create a container with a custom logging driver
docker run --log-driver=syslog my-image

# Configure daemon-level logging using the AWS CloudWatch driver
dockerd --log-driver=awslogs --log-opt awslogs-region=us-west-2

# Get container logs using Docker API
curl -s --unix-socket /var/run/docker.sock http://localhost/containers/<CONTAINER_ID>/logs?stdout=true

Establishing Communication between Docker Host and Linux Host

To establish communication between a Docker host and a Linux host, you can follow these steps:

1. Open the terminal on the Linux host and enter the following command to retrieve the IP address of the Linux host:


2. Note the IP address of the Linux host.

3. On the Docker host, open the terminal and enter the following command to create a new network:

`docker network create my-network`

4. Start the container on the Docker host using the following command:

`docker run -it --name my-container --network my-network ubuntu:latest`

This command creates a new container named `my-container` and connects it to the `my-network` network using the `ubuntu:latest` image.

5. Attach to the container’s shell using the following command:

`docker exec -it my-container bash`

6. Install the `ping` package on the container by running the following command:

`apt-get update && apt-get install -y iputils-ping`

7. Ping the IP address of the Linux host from the container using the following command:

`ping `

This command should verify that the Docker host and Linux host successfully communicate with each other.

What is the best way to delete a container?

In order to delete a container, the following steps can be followed:

1. Stop and remove all running containers inside the target container. 2. Remove the target container itself. 3. Run `docker system prune` to remove any unused resources such as stopped containers, dangling images, and unused networks.

To achieve this through command-line interface (CLI), the following commands can be used:

docker rm -f $(docker ps -a -q)
docker rm <container_name>
docker system prune -a

It's important to note that the `docker system prune` command will also remove any unused images that are not being used by any remaining containers. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all necessary images are saved before running this command.

Understanding the Difference Between CMD and ENTRYPOINT

In Docker, CMD is used to specify the default command to be executed when a container is launched. On the other hand, ENTRYPOINT is used to specify the command that is always executed when the container starts.

The main difference between CMD and ENTRYPOINT lies in the fact that CMD can be overridden while ENTRYPOINT cannot be overridden easily. This is because CMD only specifies the default command and arguments, whereas ENTRYPOINT specifies the executable and its arguments.

In simpler terms, CMD is used to set default parameters for the application that is being run in the container, while ENTRYPOINT is used to define the actual executable that should be triggered when the container starts.

In most cases, it is recommended to use both CMD and ENTRYPOINT in your Dockerfile, with CMD specifying the default arguments, and ENTRYPOINT defining the executable that is always executed. This will provide better flexibility and customization options for your Docker images.

Advanced Docker interview question: Using JSON instead of YAML in Docker Compose file

Yes, it is possible to use JSON instead of YAML while developing Docker Compose file in Docker. Docker accepts both formats for defining the services and configuration options in the Compose file.

However, YAML is the recommended format for Docker Compose as it is more readable and easier to work with. JSON can be used if required, but it may add unnecessary complexity to the Compose file.

To use JSON instead of YAML, simply convert the Compose file to a JSON format and specify the file using the -f flag when running Docker Compose commands. For example:

docker-compose -f docker-compose.json up

Overall, it is recommended to use YAML for Docker Compose files unless there is a specific reason to use JSON.

Maximum Number of Docker Containers and Factors Affecting It

In Docker, the maximum number of containers that can be run depends on various factors such as the system resources available (CPU, RAM, and disk space), the resource requirements of the containers being run (CPU and RAM), and the configuration of Docker itself (such as the maximum number of open files).

There is no set limit on the number of containers that can be run in Docker, and it ultimately depends on the specific situation. However, it is important to consider these factors and properly manage resources to ensure optimal performance and stability of the containers.


This is an informational post and does not require code.

Describing the Lifecycle of a Docker Container

A Docker container's lifecycle involves several stages including:

  1. Create: A container is created using the docker run command.
  2. Start: A container is started using the docker start command.
  3. Run: A container is run using the docker run command, which combines the creation and start stages.
  4. Pause: A running container can be paused using the docker pause command, which temporarily suspends all processes running inside the container.
  5. Unpause: A paused container can be resumed using the docker unpause command, which resumes all processes within the container.
  6. Stop: A running container can be stopped using the docker stop command, which sends a signal to the container to gracefully shut down.
  7. Restart: A container can be restarted using the docker restart command, which stops and then starts the container.
  8. Remove: A stopped container can be removed using the docker rm command, which deletes the container and any data associated with it.

During the lifecycle of a container, images can be pulled from remote registries, stored locally, and used to create and run multiple containers. Containers can also be linked together, allowing them to communicate and share data.

Using Docker for Multiple Application Environments

Docker is a popular tool for deploying applications in containers. It allows you to run your application in a consistent environment, regardless of the host operating system or infrastructure.

To use Docker for multiple application environments, you can create different Docker containers for each environment. For example, you can create separate containers for development, testing, and production environments. Each container can have its own configuration and dependencies, allowing you to test and deploy your application with confidence.

Here are the steps to use Docker for multiple application environments:

1. Define your environments: Decide on the different environments you need for your application (e.g. development, testing, production).

2. Create Dockerfile for each environment: In each Dockerfile, specify the dependencies and configuration for that environment.

3. Build Docker images: Use the Dockerfile to build separate images for each environment.

4. Run Docker containers: Run the Docker containers for each environment, specifying the appropriate image and configuration.

5. Test and deploy: Use the Docker containers to test and deploy your application in each environment.

By using Docker for multiple application environments, you can simplify your deployment process and ensure consistent performance across different environments.

Ensuring Container 1 Runs Before Container 2 in Docker Compose

In order to ensure that Container 1 runs before Container 2 while using Docker Compose, you can use the "depends_on" key in your docker-compose.yml file.

Here is an example:

version: '3'

    build: .
      - container2
    build: .

In this example, the "container1" service has the "depends_on" key set to ["container2"]. This means that Docker Compose will start "container2" first and wait for it to be ready before starting "container1".

Keep in mind that the "depends_on" key does not guarantee that a container is fully initialized before another container starts. It only ensures that the dependency container has started and is in a "running" state.


After analyzing the data and conducting experiments, it can be concluded that the hypothesis was true.

The results showed a significant correlation between the variables, confirming our initial assumptions. These findings have important implications for the field and can be used to inform future studies and practical applications.

Further research can be conducted to explore other variables that may have an impact on the outcome and to improve the accuracy of our measurements. Overall, this study provides valuable insights into this area of research and opens up new avenues for investigation.

// End of conclusion

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