Dockerizing a Node.js Web Application: A Step-by-Step Guide

Dockerizing your Node.js web application can provide numerous benefits, including consistent deployment environments, ease of scaling, and simplified dependency management. This guide will walk you through the process of creating a Docker image for your Node.js application.


  • Node.js and npm installed on your machine
  • Docker installed on your machine
  • An existing Node.js web application or create one using Express
  • IDE (Visual Studio Code, IntelliJ IDEA, etc.)

Step 1: Create a Node.js Web Application

If you don't have an existing Node.js web application, you can create a new one using Express.

Open your terminal and run the following commands:

mkdir my-node-app
cd my-node-app
npm init -y
npm install express

Create a file named index.js in the root directory of your project:

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const port = 3000;

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
  res.send('Hello, Docker!');

app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`App listening at http://localhost:${port}`);

This will create a simple Node.js web application that listens on port 3000.

Step 2: Create a Dockerfile

Create a file named Dockerfile in the root directory of your Node.js project. This file will contain instructions for building the Docker image.

# Use an official Node runtime as a parent image
FROM node:20

# Set the working directory

# Copy package.json and package-lock.json
COPY package*.json ./

# Install dependencies
RUN npm install

# Copy the rest of the application code
COPY . .

# Expose port 3000

# Run the application
CMD ["node", "index.js"]


  • FROM node:20: Use the official Node.js image as the base image.
  • WORKDIR /app: Set the working directory inside the container to /app.
  • COPY package*.json ./: Copy package.json and package-lock.json to the container.
  • RUN npm install: Install the project dependencies.
  • COPY . .: Copy the rest of the application code to the container.
  • EXPOSE 3000: Expose port 3000 to the host.
  • CMD ["node", "index.js"]: Run the application.

Step 3: Build the Docker Image

Run the following command to build the Docker image:

docker build -t my-node-app .


  • docker build: The Docker command to build an image.
  • -t my-node-app: Tags the image with the name my-node-app.
  • .: Specifies the current directory as the build context.

Step 4: Run the Docker Container

Run the following command to start a Docker container from the image:

docker run -p 3000:3000 my-node-app


  • docker run: The Docker command to run a container.
  • -p 3000:3000: Maps port 3000 of the container to port 3000 on the host machine.
  • my-node-app: The name of the Docker image to run.

Step 5: Verify the Application

Open a web browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000. You should see the message "Hello, Docker!" from your Node.js application.

Additional Docker Commands

6.1 List Docker Images

To list all Docker images on your system, run:

docker images

6.2 List Running Containers

To list all running Docker containers, run:

docker ps

6.3 Stop a Running Container

To stop a running Docker container, run:

docker stop <container_id>

Replace <container_id> with the actual container ID obtained from the docker ps command.

6.4 Remove a Docker Container

To remove a Docker container, run:

docker rm <container_id>

Replace <container_id> with the actual container ID.

6.5 Remove a Docker Image

To remove a Docker image, run:

docker rmi my-node-app


In this guide, you have learned how to dockerize a Node.js web application. We covered:

  • Creating a simple Node.js web application.
  • Writing a Dockerfile to build and run the Node.js application.
  • Building the Docker image.
  • Running the Docker container.
  • Verifying the application.

By following these steps, you can easily package your Node.js application into a Docker container, providing a consistent and portable deployment environment.