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Advanced usage

Nicolas Duchon edited this page Jan 15, 2019 · 6 revisions

Advanced usage (with the nginx and docker-gen 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 (ie avoid mounting the docker socket in the nginx exposed container).

NOTE: The first time this container is launched in a three container setup, it will generates a new 2048 bits Diffie-Hellman parameters file. This process can take up to several minutes to complete on lower end hosts, and certificates creation won't start before that (be patient).

Please read and try basic usage before using the three containers setup. In addition to the steps described there, running nginx-proxy as two separate containers with letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion requires the following:

  1. Download and mount the template file nginx.tmpl into the docker-gen container. You can get the nginx.tmpl file with a command like:
curl > /path/to/nginx.tmpl
  1. Use the com.github.jrcs.letsencrypt_nginx_proxy_companion.docker_gen label on the docker-gen container, or explicitly set the NGINX_DOCKER_GEN_CONTAINER environment variable on the letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion container to the name or id of the docker-gen container (we'll use the later method in the example).

  2. Declare /etc/nginx/conf.d as a volume on the nginx container so that it can be shared with the docker-gen container.


Step 1 - nginx

$ docker run --detach \
    --name nginx-proxy \
    --publish 80:80 \
    --publish 443:443 \
    --name nginx \
    --volume /etc/nginx/conf.d  \
    --volume /etc/nginx/vhost.d \
    --volume /usr/share/nginx/html \
    --volume /etc/nginx/certs \

Step 2 - docker-gen

  • Start the docker-gen container with the shared volumes (with --volume-from), the template file and the docker socket:
$ docker run --detach \
    --name nginx-proxy-gen \
    --volumes-from nginx-proxy \
    --volume /path/to/nginx.tmpl:/etc/docker-gen/templates/nginx.tmpl:ro \
    --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro \
    jwilder/docker-gen \
    -notify-sighup nginx-proxy -watch -wait 5s:30s /etc/docker-gen/templates/nginx.tmpl /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf

Note that you must pass the exact name of the nginx container to docker-gen -notify-sighup argument (here nginx-proxy).

Step 3 - letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion

  • Start the letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion container with the NGINX_DOCKER_GEN_CONTAINER environment variable correctly set:
$ docker run --detach \
    --name nginx-proxy-letsencrypt \
    --volumes-from nginx-proxy \
    --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro \
    --env "NGINX_DOCKER_GEN_CONTAINER=nginx-proxy-gen" \

Step 4 - proxyed container(s)

  • Once the three containers are up, start any containers to be proxied as described in basic usage.
$ docker run --detach \
    --name your-proxyed-app
    --env "VIRTUAL_HOST=subdomain.yourdomain.tld" \
    --env "LETSENCRYPT_HOST=subdomain.yourdomain.tld" \
    --env "LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL=mail@yourdomain.tld" \

If you are experiencing issues with this setup, fall back to the basic setup. The advanced setup is not meant to be obligatory.

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