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Docker powered mini-Heroku in around 100 lines of Bash
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Docker powered mini-Heroku. The smallest PaaS implementation you've ever seen.

Build Status


Assumes Ubuntu 13 or 12.04 x64 right now. Ideally have a domain ready to point to your host. It's designed for and is probably best to use a fresh VM. The bootstrapper will install everything it needs.

Note: There are known issues with docker and Ubuntu 13.10 (1, 2) - use of 13.04 is recommended until these issues are resolved.



$ wget -qO- | sudo DOKKU_TAG=v0.2.1 bash

Note: Users on 12.04 will need to run apt-get install -y python-software-properties before bootstrapping stable.


$ wget -qO- | sudo bash

This may take around 5 minutes. Certainly better than the several hours it takes to bootstrap Cloud Foundry.

You may also wish to take a look at the advanced installation document for aditional installation options.


Set up a domain and a wildcard domain pointing to that host. Make sure /home/dokku/VHOST is set to this domain. By default it's set to whatever hostname the host has. This file is only created if the hostname can be resolved by dig (dig +short $(hostname -f)). Otherwise you have to create the file manually and set it to your prefered domain. If this file still is not present when you push your app, dokku will publish the app with a port number (i.e. - note the missing subdomain).

You'll have to add a public key associated with a username by doing something like this from your local machine:

$ cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh "sudo sshcommand acl-add dokku progrium"

That's it!

Deploy an App

Now you can deploy apps on your Dokku. Let's deploy the Heroku Node.js sample app. All you have to do is add a remote to name the app. It's created on-the-fly.

$ cd node-js-sample
$ git remote add progrium
$ git push progrium master
Counting objects: 296, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (254/254), done.
Writing objects: 100% (296/296), 193.59 KiB, done.
Total 296 (delta 25), reused 276 (delta 13)
-----> Building node-js-app ...
       Node.js app detected
-----> Resolving engine versions

... blah blah blah ...

-----> Application deployed:

You're done!

Right now Buildstep supports buildpacks for Node.js, Ruby, Python, and more. It's not hard to add more, go add more! Please check the documentation for your particular build pack as you may need to include configuration files (such as a Procfile) in your project root.

Remote commands

Dokku commands can be run over ssh. Anywhere you would run dokku <command>, just run ssh -t <command> The -t is used to request a pty. It is highly recommended to do so. To avoid the need to type the -t option each time, simply create/modify a section in the .ssh/config on the client side, as follows :

RequestTTY yes

Run a command in the app environment

It's possible to run commands in the environment of the deployed application:

$ dokku run node-js-app ls -alh
$ dokku run <app> <cmd>


Dokku itself is built out of plugins. Checkout the wiki for information about creating your own and a list of existing plugins:

Removing a deployed app

SSH onto the server, then execute:

$ dokku delete myapp

Environment variable management

Typically an application will require some environment variables to run properly. Environment variables may contain private data, such as passwords or API keys, so it is not recommend to store them in your application's repository.

The config plugin provides the following commands to manage your variables:

config <app> - display the config vars for an app  
config:get <app> KEY - display a config value for an app  
config:set <app> KEY1=VALUE1 [KEY2=VALUE2 ...] - set one or more config vars
config:unset <app> KEY1 [KEY2 ...] - unset one or more config vars

SSL support

Dokku provides easy SSL support from the box. To enable SSL connection to your application, copy the .crt and .key files into the /home/dokku/:app/ssl folder (notice, file names should be server.crt and server.key, respectively). Redeployment of the application will be needed to apply SSL configuration. Once it is redeployed, the application will be accessible by https:// (redirection from http:// is applied as well).


Dokku is in active development. You can update the deployment step and the build step separately.

Note: If you are upgrading from a revision prior to 27d4bc8c3c, follow the instructions in this wiki entry.

To update the deploy step (this is updated less frequently):

$ cd ~/dokku
$ git pull origin master
$ sudo make install

Nothing needs to be restarted. Changes will take effect on the next push / deployment.

To update the build step:

$ git clone
$ cd buildstep
$ git pull origin master
$ sudo make build

This will build a fresh Ubuntu Quantal image, install a number of packages, and eventually replace the Docker image for buildstep.


You can use Github Issues, check Troubleshooting on the wiki, or join us on freenode in #dokku


Looking to keep codebase as simple and hackable as possible, so try to keep your line count down.

Things this project won't do

  • Multi-host. Not a huge leap, but this isn't the project for it. Have a look at Flynn.
  • Multitenancy. It's ready for it, but again, have a look at Flynn.
  • Client app. Given the constraints, running commands remotely via SSH is fine.



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