Chef cookbook for Dokku
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Manages a dokku installation, allowing configuration of application's environment variables, installation of plugins and management of ssh keys.

⚠️ This project is no longer being actively maintained ⚠️

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Include the bootstrap recipe in your run list to have dokku installed/updated during chef runs.


This cookbook does not handle aspects of the docker installation such as lxc support or storage drivers. Please refer to the docker cookbook for more information on the specifics of a docker install.


These attributes are under the node['dokku'] namespace.

Attribute Description Type Default
root dokku's home directory String /home/dokku
domain Domain name to write to ['dokku']['root]'/VHOST String nil (node['fqdn'] will be used)
ssh_keys SSH keys that can push to dokku Hash {} see SSH Keys
plugins Plugins to install Hash with plugin name as key and GitHub repository URL as value {} see Plugins
plugin_path Directory where plugins are installed String /var/lib/dokku/plugins
apps App environment settings to populate Hash {} see Apps
git_repository The git repository for the base dokku code String
git_revision The git revision to check out from git_repository String v0.2.0


While this cookbook will be able to provide you with a working dokku installation, there is some configuration you will likely want to do first:

SSH Keys

This is a required step to getting dokku working. You will want to set node['dokku']['ssh_keys'] to a hash of the following structure:

default['dokku']['ssh_keys'] = {
  'awesome_user' => 'awesome_users_pubkey',
  'superb_user' => 'superb_users_pubkey'

The ssh_keys recipe will handle setting up the keys for dokku


Pre-configured applications. These attributes are used to configure environment variables or remove an app:

default['dokku']['apps'] = {
  'cool_app' => {
    'env' => {
      'ENV_VAR' => 'ENV_VAR_VALUE',
      'ENV_VAR2' => 'ENV_VAR2_VALUE'
    'tls' => {
      'cert_file' => '/etc/ssl/certs/my.pem',
      'key_file' => '/etc/ssl/private/my.key'

Both env and tls are optional.

To enable TLS connection to your application, use tls attribute. cert_file and key_file are the paths to .crt/.pem and .key files. The apps repice will create symlinks inside $APP_HOME/tls folder pointing to paths you've defined.

If you want to enable TLS connections for all applications at once, you can use certificate cookbook.

For more information, check out dokku documentation.


You will likely want to install plugins to expand the functionality of your dokku installation. See the dokku wiki page for a list of available plugins.

Plugins are defined on the node['dokku']['plugins'] attribute:

default['dokku']['plugins'] = {
  'plugin_name' => 'plugin_repository_url',
  # For example:
  'postgresql' => ''

Applications Attributes

These attributes are under the node['dokku']['apps']['YOUR_APP_NAME'] namespace.

Attribute Description Type Default
env Application's environment variables Hash nil
remove Whether the application should be removed Boolean nil

Sync attributes

These attributes are under the node['dokku']['sync'] namespace. They control whether remote code bases will be updated on chef runs

Attribute Description Type Default
base Whether the dokku codebase will be synced with the remote repository Boolean true
plugins Whether the dokku plugins will be synced with their remote repositories Boolean true
dependencies Whether the sshcommand and pluginhook dependencies will be updated from their remotes Boolean true

Build Stack attributes

These attributes are under the node['dokku']['buildstack'] namespace. They correspond to the buildstep that is used by dokku.

Attribute Description Type Default
image_name The name of the image to use when importing into Docker String progrium/buildstep
use_prebuilt Whether to use the prebuilt image or build off the git repository Boolean true
stack_url The url to the buildstep git repository String
prebuilt_url The url to the prebuild docker image for the buildstep String

PluginHook Attributes

These attributes are under the node['dokku']['pluginhook'] namespace.

Attribute Description Type Default
src_url The source url for the pluginhook .deb file String
filename The pluginhook .deb file name String pluginhook_0.1.0_amd64.deb
checksum The SHA-256 checksum for the pluginhook .deb file String 26a790070ee0c34fd4c53b24aabeb92778faed4004110c480c13b48608545fe5


  • recipe[dokku] - Noop. Will be used to include LWRPs in the future
  • recipe[dokku::bootstrap] - A chef version of Include this recipe to have dokku installed/updated by chef
  • recipe[dokku::install] - Clones/checks out the dokku git repository and copies the required files via make copyfiles
  • recipe[dokku::buildstack] - Builds/imports the dokku buildstep docker image. See node['dokku']['buildstack']['use_prebuilt'] to set which buildstep is imported

Testing and Development


Here's how you can quickly get testing or developing against the cookbook thanks to Vagrant.

vagrant plugin install vagrant-omnibus
git clone git://
cd chef-dokku
bundle install
bundle exec berks install -p vendor/cookbooks
vagrant up

You can then SSH into the running VM using the vagrant ssh command.

The VM can easily be stopped and deleted with the vagrant destroy command. Please see the official Vagrant documentation for a more in depth explanation of available commands.


  • Convert things like ssh keys, app env, etc to LWPRs w/ Chefspec v3 matchers
  • Reduce rewritten/overridden areas of the bootstrap process to better keep up with dokku's rapid development
  • Plugin removal
  • Use dokku app removal process
  • Support dokku addons

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