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Docker for local web development, part 1: a basic LEMP stack

This repository accompanies a tutorial series about leveraging Docker for local web development.

The current branch covers part 1 of the series, which is about setting up a basic LEMP stack with Docker Compose. Please refer to the full article for a detailed explanation.


This branch contains a basic LEMP stack running on Docker and orchestrated by Docker Compose, including:

  • A container for Nginx;
  • A container for PHP-FPM;
  • A container for MySQL;
  • A container for phpMyAdmin;
  • A volume to persist MySQL data.


Make sure Docker Desktop for Mac or PC is installed and running, or head over here if you are a Linux user. You will also need a terminal running Git.

This setup also uses localhost's port 80, so make sure it is available.

Directions of use

Add the following domain to your machine's hosts file: php.test

Clone the repository and change the current directory for the project's root:

$ git clone
$ cd docker-tutorial

Copy .env.example to .env:

$ cp .env.example .env

Run the following command:

$ docker compose up -d

This may take a little bit of time, as some Docker images might need downloading.

Once the script is done, visit php.test.


The images used by the setup are listed and configured in docker-compose.yml.

When building and starting the containers based on the images for the first time, a MySQL database named demo is automatically created (you can pick a different name in the MySQL service's description in docker-compose.yml).

A minimalist Nginx configuration for the PHP application is also copied over to Nginx's container, making it available at php.test.

The src/ directory containing the application is mounted onto both Nginx's and the application's containers, meaning any update to the code is immediately available upon refreshing the page, without having to rebuild any container.

The database data is persisted in its own local directory through the volume mysqldata, which is mounted onto MySQL's container. A phpMyAdmin interface is available at localhost:8080 (the database credentials are root / root).

Please refer to the full article for a detailed explanation.

Cleaning up

To stop the containers:

$ docker compose stop

To destroy the containers:

$ docker compose down

To destroy the containers and the associated volumes:

$ docker compose down -v

To remove everything, including images and orphan containers:

$ docker compose down -v --rmi all --remove-orphans


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