Apache CouchDB Docker
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kocolosk and wohali Conditionally set ownership and permissions in entrypoint (#110)
* Chown files in /opt/couchdb only when necessary

Recursive modification of ownership and permissions in the entry point
has been implicated in slow container startup times. This change checks
the ownership first and only modifies it if necessary. It is modelled
after similar changes recently applied to a number of other projects
e.g. docker-library/redis#166.

* Chmod data files only if necessary

Previously we had been doing a blanket recursive chmod to 770 on
everything in the datadir. This had a few problems:

- The files themselves need not have the executable bit set
- CouchDB itself creates directories and files with 755/644
- Executing lots of chmod operations caused startup delays

This patch makes the execution of chmod conditional, and works to set
the permissions to what they would normally be when CouchDB creates the
the files and directories.

* Chmod config files only if necessary

This patch also drops the target permissions from 775/664 to 755/644,
as the latter permissions are the ones set by the CouchDB installation
Latest commit 262dc35 Oct 20, 2018


Semi-official Apache CouchDB Docker images Build Status

Put the couch in a docker container and ship it anywhere.

  • Version (stable): CouchDB 2.2.0, Erlang 19.2.1

Available tags

  • latest, 2.2.0: CouchDB 2.2.0 single node (capable of running in a cluster)


  • built on top of the solid and small debian:stretch base image
  • exposes CouchDB on port 5984 of the container
  • runs everything as user couchdb (security ftw!)
  • docker volume for data


Available on the docker registry as apache/couchdb:latest.

By default, CouchDB's HTTP interface is exposed on port 5984. Once running, you can visit the new admin interface at http://<dockerhost>:5984/_utils/

CouchDB uses /opt/couchdb/data to store its data, and is exposed as a volume.

Here is an example launch line for a single-node CouchDB with an admin username and password of admin and password, exposed to the world on port 5984:

$ docker run -p 5984:5984 --volume ~/data:/opt/couchdb/data --volume ~/etc/local.d:/opt/couchdb/etc/local.d --env COUCHDB_USER=admin --env COUCHDB_PASSWORD=password apache/couchdb:2.1.1
18:54:48.780 [info] Application lager started on node nonode@nohost
18:54:48.780 [info] Application couch_log_lager started on node nonode@nohost
18:54:48.780 [info] Application couch_mrview started on node nonode@nohost
18:54:48.780 [info] Application couch_plugins started on node nonode@nohost

Detailed configuration

CouchDB uses /opt/couchdb/etc/local.d to store its configuration. It is highly recommended to bind map this to an external directory, to persist the configuration across restarts.

CouchDB also uses /opt/couchdb/etc/vm.args to store Erlang runtime-specific changes. Changing these values is less common. If you need to change the epmd port, for instance, you will want to bind mount this file as well. (Note: files cannot be bind-mounted on Windows hosts.)

In addition, a few environment variables are provided to set very common parameters:

  • COUCHDB_USER and COUCHDB_PASSWORD will create an ini-file based local admin user with the given username and password in the file /opt/couchdb/etc/local.d/docker.ini.
  • COUCHDB_SECRET will set the CouchDB shared cluster secret value, in the file /opt/couchdb/etc/local.d/docker.ini.
  • NODENAME will set the name of the CouchDB node inside the container to couchdb@${NODENAME}, in the file /opt/couchdb/etc/vm.args. This is used for clustering purposes and can be ignored for single-node setups.
  • Erlang Environment Variables like ELR_FLAGS will be used by Erlang itself. For a complete list have a look here

If other configuration settings are desired, externally mount /opt/couchdb/etc and provide .ini configuration files under the /opt/couchdb/etc/local.d directory.

For a CouchDB cluster you need to provide the NODENAME setting as well as the erlang cookie. Settings to Erlang can be made with the environment variable ERL_FLAGS, e.g. ERL_FLAGS=-setcookie "brumbrum". Further information can be found here.

Important notes

Please note that CouchDB no longer autocreates system databases for you. This is intentional; multi-node CouchDB deployments must be joined into a cluster before creating these databases.

You must create _global_changes, _metadata, _replicator and _users after the cluster has been fully configured. (The Fauxton UI has a "Setup" wizard that does this for you.)

The node will also start in admin party mode!

Note also that port 5986 is not exposed, as this can present significant security risks. We recommend either connecting to the node directly to access this port, via docker exec -it <instance> /bin/bash and accessing port 5986, or use of --expose 5986 when launching the container, but ONLY if you do not expose this port publicly. Port 5986 is scheduled to be removed with the 3.x release series.

Development images

This repository provides definitions to run the very latest (master branch) CouchDB code:

  • dev runs a single node off of the master branch, similar to the other officially released images.
  • dev-cluster demonstrates the CouchDB clustering features by creating a local cluster of a default three nodes inside the container, with a proxy in front. This is great for testing clustering in your local environment.

You will need to build Docker images from the dev directory in this repository; Apache Software Foundation policy prevents us from publishing non-release builds for wide distribution.

When launching the dev-cluster container, here is what you will see:

# expose the cluster to the world
$ docker run -it -p 5984:5984 <image-hash>

[ * ] Setup environment ... ok
[ * ] Ensure CouchDB is built ... ok
[ * ] Prepare configuration files ... ok
[ * ] Start node node1 ... ok
[ * ] Start node node2 ... ok
[ * ] Start node node3 ... ok
[ * ] Check node at ... ok
[ * ] Check node at ... ok
[ * ] Check node at ... ok
[ * ] Running cluster setup ... ok
[ * ] Developers cluster is set up at
Admin username: root
Password: 37l7YDQJ
Time to hack! ...

Note: By default the cluster will be exposed on port 5984, because it uses haproxy (passes --with-haproxy to dev/run) internally.

You can pass arguments to the binary:

docker run -it <image-hash> --admin=foo:bar

Note: This will overwrite the default --with-haproxy flag. The cluster won't be exposed on port 5984 anymore. The individual nodes listen on 15984, 25984, ...x5984. If you wish to expose the cluster on 5984, pass --with-haproxy explicitly.

More examples:

# display the available options of the couchdb startup script
docker run --rm <image-hash> --help

# Enable admin party and expose the cluster on port 5984
docker run -it -p 5984:5984 <image-hash> --with-admin-party-please --with-haproxy

# Start two nodes (without proxy) exposed on port 15984 and 25984
docker run -it -p 15984:15984 -p 25984:25984 <image-hash> -n 2

Build your own

You can use apache/couchdb as the base image for your own couchdb instance. You might want to provide your own version of the following files:

  • local.ini for your custom CouchDB config

Example Dockerfile:

FROM apache/couchdb:latest

COPY 99-local.ini /opt/couchdb/etc/local.d

and then build and run

[sudo] docker build -t you/awesome-couchdb .
[sudo] docker run -d -p 5984:5984 -v ~/couchdb:/usr/local/var/lib/couchdb you/awesome-couchdb

Feedback, Issues, Contributing

General feedback is welcome at our user or developer mailing lists.

Apache CouchDB has a CONTRIBUTING file with details on how to get started with issue reporting or contributing to the upkeep of this project. In short, use GitHub Issues, do not report anything on Docker's website.