Skip to content
This repository has been archived by the owner. It is now read-only.
Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

tmpnb, the temporary notebook service

Launches "temporary" Jupyter notebook servers.

WARNING: tmpnb is no longer actively maintained.

We recommend you switch to using JupyterHub.

Configuration option 1:

Configuration option 2:

tmpnb architecture

tmpnb launches a docker container for each user that requests one. In practice, this gets used to provide temporary notebooks, demo the IPython notebook as part of a Nature article, or even provide Jupyter kernels for publications.

People have used it at user groups, meetups, and workshops to provide temporary access to a full system without any installation whatsoever.

Quick start

Get Docker, then:

docker pull jupyter/minimal-notebook
export TOKEN=$( head -c 30 /dev/urandom | xxd -p )
docker run --net=host -d -e CONFIGPROXY_AUTH_TOKEN=$TOKEN --name=proxy jupyter/configurable-http-proxy --default-target
docker run --net=host -d -e CONFIGPROXY_AUTH_TOKEN=$TOKEN --name=tmpnb -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock jupyter/tmpnb python --container-user=jovyan --command='jupyter notebook --no-browser --port {port} --ip= --NotebookApp.base_url={base_path} --NotebookApp.port_retries=0 --NotebookApp.token="" --NotebookApp.disable_check_xsrf=True'

NOTE! This will disable Jupyter Notebook's token security. The option for container-user assures that the notebook will not run as a privileged user. You can set --NotebookApp.token to a string if you want to add a minimal layer of security.

BAM! Visit your Docker host on port 8000 and you have a working tmpnb setup. The -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock bit causes the orchestrator container to mount the docker client, which allows the orchestrator container to spawn docker containers on the host (see this article for more information).

If you are running docker using docker-machine, as is now the standard, get the IP address of your Docker host by running docker-machine ls. If you are using boot2docker, then you can find your docker host's ip address by running the following command in your console: boot2docker ip

If it didn't come up, try running docker ps -a and docker logs tmpnb to help diagnose issues.

Alternatively, you can choose to setup a docker-compose.yml file:

  image: jupyter/configurable-http-proxy
    CONFIGPROXY_AUTH_TOKEN: 716238957362948752139417234
  container_name:  tmpnb-proxy
  net: "host"
  command: --default-target
    - 8000:8000

  image: jupyter/tmpnb
  net: "host"
  container_name: tmpnb_orchestrate
    CONFIGPROXY_AUTH_TOKEN: 716238957362948752139417234
    - /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock
  command: python --command='jupyter notebook --no-browser --port {port} --ip= --NotebookApp.base_url={base_path} --NotebookApp.port_retries=0 --NotebookApp.token="" --NotebookApp.disable_check_xsrf=True'

Then, you can launch the container with docker-compose up, no building is required since they pull directly from images.

Advanced configuration

If you need to set the docker-version or other options, they can be passed to jupyter/tmpnb directly:

docker run --net=host -d -e CONFIGPROXY_AUTH_TOKEN=$TOKEN -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock jupyter/tmpnb python --cull-timeout=60 --docker-version="1.13" --command="jupyter notebook --NotebookApp.base_url={base_path} --ip= --port {port}"

Note that if you do not pass a value to docker-version, tmpnb will automatically use the Docker API version provided by the server.

The tmpnb server has two APIs: a public one that receives HTTP requests under the / proxy route and an administrative one available only on the private, localhost interface by default. You can configure the interfaces (--ip, --admin_ip) and ports (--port, --admin_port) of both APIs using command line arguments.

If you decide to expose the admin API on a public interface, you can protect it by specifying a secret token in the environment variable ADMIN_AUTH_TOKEN when starting the tmpnb container. Thereafter, all requests made to the admin API must include it in an HTTP header like so:

Authorization: token <admin secret token here>

Likewise, if you only want to allow programmatic access to your tmpnb cluster by select clients, you can specify a separate secret token in the environment variable API_AUTH_TOKEN when starting the tmpnb container. All requests made to the public API must include it in an HTTP header in the same manner as depicted for the admin token above. Note that when this token is set, only the /api/* resources of the tmpnb server are available. All human-facing paths are disabled.

If you want to see the resources available in both the admin and user APIs, look at the handler paths registered in the file. You should consider both APIs to be unstable.

Launching with your own Docker images

tmpnb can run any Docker container provided by the --image option, so long as the --command option tells where the {base_path} and {port}. Those are literal strings, complete with curly braces that tmpnb will replace with an assigned base_path and port.

docker run --net=host -d -e CONFIGPROXY_AUTH_TOKEN=$TOKEN \
           -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock \
           jupyter/tmpnb python --image='jupyter/demo' --command="jupyter notebook --NotebookApp.base_url={base_path} --ip= --port {port}"

Using jupyter/docker-stacks images

When using the latest jupyter/docker-stacks images with tmpnb, you can use the script or invoke the jupyter notebook command directly to run your notebook servers as user jovyan. Substitute your desired docker-stacks image name in the command below.

docker run -d \
    --net=host \
    -v /var/run/docker.sock:/docker.sock \
    jupyter/tmpnb \
    python --image='jupyter/minimal-notebook' \
        --command=' \
            "--NotebookApp.base_url={base_path} \
            --ip= \
            --port={port} \


Usage: [OPTIONS]


  --help                           show this help information

tornado/ options:

  --log-file-max-size              max size of log files before rollover
                                   (default 100000000)
  --log-file-num-backups           number of log files to keep (default 10)
  --log-file-prefix=PATH           Path prefix for log files. Note that if you
                                   are running multiple tornado processes,
                                   log_file_prefix must be different for each
                                   of them (e.g. include the port number)
  --log-rotate-interval            The interval value of timed rotating
                                   (default 1)
  --log-rotate-mode                The mode of rotating files(time or size)
                                   (default size)
  --log-rotate-when                specify the type of TimedRotatingFileHandler
                                   interval other options:('S', 'M', 'H', 'D',
                                   'W0'-'W6') (default midnight)
  --log-to-stderr                  Send log output to stderr (colorized if
                                   possible). By default use stderr if
                                   --log_file_prefix is not set and no other
                                   logging is configured.
                                   Set the Python log level. If 'none', tornado
                                   won't touch the logging configuration.
                                   (default info) options:

  --admin-ip                       ip for the admin server to listen on
                                   [default:] (default
  --admin-port                     port for the admin server to listen on
                                   (default 10000)
  --allow-credentials              Sets the Access-Control-Allow-Credentials
  --allow-headers                  Sets the Access-Control-Allow-Headers
  --allow-methods                  Sets the Access-Control-Allow-Methods
  --allow-origin                   Set the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header.
                                   Use '*' to allow any origin to access.
  --assert-hostname                Verify hostname of Docker daemon. (default
  --command                        Command to run when booting the image. A
                                   placeholder for {base_path} should be
                                   provided. A placeholder for {port} and {ip}
                                   can be provided. (default jupyter notebook
                                   --no-browser --port {port} --ip=
  --container-ip                   Host IP address for containers to bind to.
                                   If host_network=True, the host IP address
                                   for notebook servers to bind to. (default
  --container-port                 Within container port for notebook servers
                                   to bind to. If host_network=True, the
                                   starting port assigned to notebook servers
                                   on the host. (default 8888)
  --container-user                 User to run container command as
  --cpu-quota                      Limit CPU quota, per container.
                                   Units are CPU-µs per 100ms, so 1
                                   CPU/container would be:
  --cpu-shares                     Limit CPU shares, per container
  --cull-max                       Maximum age of a container (s), regardless
                                   of activity.                  Default: 14400
                                   (4 hours)                  A container that
                                   has been running for this long will be
                                   culled,         even if it is not idle.
                                   (default 14400)
  --cull-period                    Interval (s) for culling idle containers.
                                   (default 600)
  --cull-timeout                   Timeout (s) for culling idle containers.
                                   (default 3600)
  --docker-version                 Version of the Docker API to use (default
  --expose-headers                 Sets the Access-Control-Expose-Headers
  --extra-hosts                    Extra hosts for the containers, multiple
                                   hosts can be specified         by using a
                                   comma-delimited string, specified in the
                                   form hostname:IP (default [])
  --host-directories               Mount the specified directory as a data
                                   volume, multiple         directories can be
                                   specified by using a comma-delimited string,
                                   directory         path must provided in full
                                   (eg: /home/steve/data/:r), permissions
                                   default to         rw
  --host-network                   Attaches the containers to the host
                                   networking instead of the default docker
                                   bridge. Affects the semantics of
                                   container_port and container_ip. (default
  --image                          Docker container to spawn for new users.
                                   Must be on the system already (default
  --ip                             ip for the main server to listen on
                                   [default: all interfaces]
  --max-age                        Sets the Access-Control-Max-Age header.
  --max-dock-workers               Maximum number of docker workers (default 2)
  --mem-limit                      Limit on Memory, per container (default
  --pool-name                      Container name fragment used to identity
                                   containers that belong to this instance.
  --pool-size                      Capacity for containers on this system. Will
                                   be prelaunched at startup. (default 10)
  --port                           port for the main server to listen on
                                   (default 9999)
  --redirect-uri                   URI to redirect users to upon initial
                                   notebook launch (default /tree)
  --static-files                   Static files to extract from the initial
                                   container launch
  --user-length                    Length of the unique /user/:id path
                                   generated per container (default 12)


WARNING The Makefile used in the commands below assume your containers can be deleted. Please work on an isolated machine and read the cleanup target in the Makefile prior to executing.

git clone
cd tmpnb

# Kick off the proxy and run the server.
# Runs on all interfaces on port 8000 by default.
# NOTE: stops and deletes all containers
make dev


If you are receiving 500 errors after changing the proxy port, make sure that you are using the correct internal port (proxy port+1 unless you specify it otherwise).