Dockerfile for postgis
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lucernae Backport from branch: 9.6-2.4
Fix default datadir

- Change into default datadir
- Add small unittest
Latest commit 6f30fba Apr 24, 2018


A simple docker container that runs PostGIS

Visit our page on the docker hub at:

There are a number of other docker postgis containers out there. This one differentiates itself by:

  • provides ssl support out of the box
  • connections are restricted to the docker subnet
  • template_postgis database template is created for you
  • a default database 'gis' is created for you so you can use this container 'out of the box' when it runs with e.g. QGIS
  • supports single master replication

We will work to add more security features to this container in the future with the aim of making a PostGIS image that is ready to be used in a production environment (though probably not for heavy load databases).


There is a nice 'from scratch' tutorial on using this docker image on Alex Urquhart's blog here - if you are just getting started with docker, PostGIS and QGIS, we really recommend that you use it.

Tagged versions

The following convention is used for tagging the images we build:


So for example:

kartoza/postgis:9.6-2.4 Provides PostgreSQL 9.6, PostGIS 2.4

Note: We highly recommend that you use tagged versions because successive minor versions of PostgreSQL write their database clusters into different database directories - which will cause your database to appear to be empty if you are using persistent volumes for your database storage.

Getting the image

There are various ways to get the image onto your system:

The preferred way (but using most bandwidth for the initial image) is to get our docker trusted build like this:

docker pull kartoza/postgis

To build the image yourself without apt-cacher (also consumes more bandwidth since deb packages need to be refetched each time you build) do:

docker build -t kartoza/postgis git://

To build with apt-cache (and minimised download requirements) do you need to clone this repo locally first and modify the contents of 71-apt-cacher-ng to match your cacher host. Then build using a local url instead of directly from github.

git clone git://

Now edit 71-apt-cacher-ng then do:

docker build -t kartoza/postgis .


To create a running container do:

sudo docker run --name "postgis" -p 25432:5432 -d -t kartoza/postgis

Environment variables

You can also use the following environment variables to pass a user name, password and/or default database name.


These will be used to create a new superuser with your preferred credentials. If these are not specified then the postgresql user is set to 'docker' with password 'docker'.

You can open up the PG port by using the following environment variable. By default the container will allow connections only from the docker private subnet.

  • -e ALLOW_IP_RANGE=<>

Convenience docker-compose.yml

For convenience we have provided a docker-compose.yml that will run a copy of the database image and also our related database backup image (see

The docker compose recipe will expose PostgreSQL on port 25432 (to prevent potential conflicts with any local database instance you may have).

Example usage:

docker-compose up -d

Note: The docker-compose recipe above will not persist your data on your local disk, only in a docker volume.

Connect via psql

Connect with psql (make sure you first install postgresql client tools on your host / client):

psql -h localhost -U docker -p 25432 -l

Note: Default postgresql user is 'docker' with password 'docker'.

You can then go on to use any normal postgresql commands against the container.

Under ubuntu 14.04 the postgresql client can be installed like this:

sudo apt-get install postgresql-client-9.5

Storing data on the host rather than the container.

Docker volumes can be used to persist your data.

mkdir -p ~/postgres_data
docker run -d -v $HOME/postgres_data:/var/lib/postgresql kartoza/postgis`

You need to ensure the postgres_data directory has sufficient permissions for the docker process to read / write it.

Postgres Replication Setup

Replication allows you to maintain two or more synchronised copies of a database, with a single master copy and one or more replicant copies. The animation below illustrates this - the layer with the red boundary is accessed from the master database and the layer with the green fill is accessed from the replicant database. When edits to the master layer are saved, they are automatically propogated to the replicant. Note also that the replicant is read-only.


This image is provided with replication abilities. We can categorize an instance of the container as master or replicant. A master instance means that a particular container have a role as a single point of database write. A replicant instance means that a particular container will mirror database content from a designated master. This replication scheme allows us to sync database. However a replicant is only of read-only transaction, thus we can't write new data on it.

To experiment with the replication abilities, you can see a (docker-compose.yml)[sample/replication/docker-compose.yml] sample provided. There are several environment variables that you can set, such as:

Master settings:

  • ALLOW_IP_RANGE: A pg_hba.conf domain format which will allow certain host to connect into the container. This is needed to allow slave to connect into master, so specifically this settings should allow slave address.
  • Both POSTGRES_USER and POSTGRES_PASS will be used as credentials for slave to connect, so make sure you changed this into something secure.

Slave settings:

  • REPLICATE_FROM: This should be the domain name, or ip address of master instance. It can be anything from docker resolved name like written in the sample, or the IP address of the actual machine where you expose master. This is useful to create cross machine replication, or cross stack/server.
  • REPLICATE_PORT: This should be the port number of master postgres instance. Will default to 5432 (default postgres port), if not specified.
  • DESTROY_DATABASE_ON_RESTART: Default is True. Set to otherwise to prevent this behaviour. A replicant will always destroy its current database on restart, because it will try to sync again from master and avoid inconsistencies.
  • PROMOTE_MASTER: Default none. If set to any value, then the current replicant will be promoted to master. In some cases when master container has failed, we might want to use our replicant as master for a while. However promoted replicant will break consistencies and is not able to revert to replicant anymore, unless the were destroyed and resynced with the new master.

To run sample replication, do the following instructions:

Do manual image build by executing script


Go into sample/replication directory and experiment with the following Make command to run both master and slave services.

make up

To shutdown services, execute:

make down

To view logs for master and slave respectively, use the following command:

make master-log
make slave-log

You can try experiment with several scenarios to see how replication works

Sync changes from master to replicant

You can use any postgres database tools to create new tables in master, by connecting using POSTGRES_USER and POSTGRES_PASS credentials using exposed port. In the sample, master database were exposed in port 7777. Or you can do it via command line, by entering the shell:

make master-shell

Then made any database changes using psql.

After that, you can see that replicant follows the changes by inspecting slave database. You can, again, uses database management tools using connection credentials, hostname, and ports for replicant. Or you can do it via command line, by entering the shell:

make slave-shell

Then view your changes using psql.

Promoting replicant to master

You will notice that you cannot make changes in replicant, because it was read-only. If somehow you want to promote it to master, you can specify PROMOTE_MASTER: 'True' into slave environment and set DESTROY_DATABASE_ON_RESTART: 'False'.

After this, you can make changes to your replicant, but master and replicant will not be in sync anymore. This is useful if replicant needs to take over a failover master. However it was recommended to take additional action, such as creating backup from slave, so a dedicated master can be created again.

Preventing replicant database destroy on restart

You can optionally set DESTROY_DATABASE_ON_RESTART: 'False' after successful sync to prevent the database from destroyed on restart. With this settings, you can shutdown your replicant and restart it later and it will continue to sync using existing database (as long as there is no consistencies conflicts).

However, you should note that this option doesn't mean anything if you didn't persist your database volumes. Because if it is not persisted, then it will be lost on restart because docker will recreate the container.


Tim Sutton ( May 2014