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This project is officially deprecated in favor of Docker Machine. The code and documentation here only exist as a reference for users who have not yet switched over (but please do soon). The recommended way to install Machine is with the Docker Toolbox.

boot2docker command line management tool

This tool downloads the boot2docker ISO image, creates a VirtualBox virtual machine, sets up two networks for that virtual machine (one NAT to allow the VM and containers to access the internet, the other host-only to allow container port mapping to work securely), and then provides the user a simple way to login via SSH.

On Windows, MSYS SSH provides a first class way to connect to the boot2docker VM using boot2docker.exe ssh.

Note: Docker now has an IANA registered IP Port: 2376 , so the use of port 4243 is deprecated. This also means that new Boot2Docker ISO releases and management tool are not compatible.


Official Installers

Signed installers are available for Mac OS X and Windows.

Refer to the installation instructions for Mac OS X and Windows.

Manual Installation

Pre-compiled binaries

You can download binary releases at

Docker container build

The most reliable way to cross-compile boot2docker for all 3 platforms, is to use the Dockerfile (and Docker)

git clone
cd boot2docker-cli

Built binaries will be available in the current directory.

This assumes you have an accessible Docker daemon (local or remote with DOCKER_HOST set) and make installed.

Install from source

You need to have the Go compiler (v1.4 or higher) installed, and $GOPATH properly setup. Then run

go get

The binary will be available at $GOPATH/bin/boot2docker-cli. However the binary built this way will have missing version information when you run

$ boot2docker version

You can solve the issue by using make goinstall

cd $GOPATH/src/
make goinstall

Cross compiling

You can cross compile to OS X, Windows, and Linux. For that you need to first make your Go compiler ready for cross compiling to the target platforms.

Please make sure you build with golang v1.4 or later - it is required for boot2docker download to work on OS X.

We provide a Makefile to make the process a bit easier.

make darwin     # build for OS X/amd64
make linux      # build for Linux/amd64
make windows    # build for Windows/amd64
make all        # build for all three above
make clean      # clean up the built binaries

Built binaries will be available in the current directory.


To initialize a new boot2docker VM, run

$ boot2docker init

Then you can start the VM by

$ boot2docker up

To stop the VM, run

$ boot2docker down

And finally if you don't need the VM anymore, run

$ boot2docker delete

to remove it completely.

You can also run commands on the remote boot2docker virtual machine:

$ boot2docker ssh ip addr show eth1 |sed -nEe 's/^[ \t]*inet[ \t]*([0-9.]+)\/.*$/\1/p'
# this example is equivalent to the built in command:
$ boot2docker ip

In this case, the command tells you the host only interface IP address of the boot2docker vm, which you can then use to access ports you map from your containers.


The boot2docker binary reads configuration from $BOOT2DOCKER_PROFILE if set, or $BOOT2DOCKER_DIR/profile or $HOME/.boot2docker/profile or (on Windows) %USERPROFILE%/.boot2docker/profile. boot2docker config will tell you where it is looking for the file, and will also output the settings that are in use, so you can initialise a default file to customize using boot2docker config > ~/.boot2docker/profile.

Currently you can configure the following options (undefined options take default values):

# Comments must be on their own lines; inline comments are not supported.

# path to VirtualBox management utility
VBM = "VBoxManage"

# path to SSH client utility
SSH = "ssh"
SSHGen = "ssh-keygen"
SSHKey = "/Users/sven/.ssh/id_boot2docker"

# name of boot2docker virtual machine
VM = "boot2docker-vm"

# URL pointing either to a Github "/releases" API endpoint to automatically
# retrieve the `boot2docker.iso` asset from the latest released version of a
# repo, or directly to an ISO image
#ISOURL = ""
#ISOURL = ""

# path to boot2docker ISO image
ISO = "/Users/sven/.boot2docker/boot2docker.iso"

# VM disk image size in MB
DiskSize = 20000

# VM memory size in MB
Memory = 2048

# Number of CPUs
CPUs = 1

# host port forwarding to port 22 in the VM
SSHPort = 2022

# host port forwarding to port 2376 in the VM
DockerPort = 2376

# host-only network host IP
HostIP = ""

# host only network network mask
NetMask = [255, 255, 255, 0]

# host-only network DHCP server IP

# host-only network DHCP server enabled
DHCPEnabled = true

# host-only network IP range lower bound
LowerIP = ""

# host-only network IP range upper bound
UpperIP = ""

You can override the configurations using matching command-line flags. Type boot2docker -h for more information. The configuration file options are the same as the command-line flags with long names.


You can use boot2docker-cli to upgrade:

  1. The ISO you are using in the VM (and consequently the Docker daemon version)
  2. The Docker client binary on your host system
  3. The boot2docker-cli binary itself

To do so, run the boot2docker upgrade command.

$ boot2docker upgrade
Backing up existing docker binary...
Downloading new docker client binary...
Success: downloaded
        to /usr/local/bin/docker
        The old version is backed up to ~/.boot2docker.
Backing up existing boot2docker binary...
Downloading new boot2docker client binary...
Success: downloaded
        to /usr/local/bin/boot2docker
        The old version is backed up to ~/.boot2docker.
Latest release for boot2docker/boot2docker is v1.4.0
Downloading boot2docker ISO image...
Success: downloaded
        to /Users/youruser/.boot2docker/boot2docker.iso
Waiting for VM and Docker daemon to start...

This will back up your current docker and boot2docker binaries to ~/.boot2docker and download the latest ISO, docker binary and boot2docker binary in place of the old versions.


Build Status

We are implementing the same process as Docker merge approval, so all commits need to be done via pull requests, and will need three or more LGTMs (Looks Good To Me) before merging.

To submit pull request, please make sure to follow the Go Style Guide. In particular, you MUST run gofmt before committing. We suggest you run go tool vet -all . as well.

Please rebase the upstream in your fork in order to keep the commit history tidy.