Starting a Docker container


Docker has revolutionized the way developers create, package, and distribute applications. It has become an essential tool for modern software development, enabling teams to build and deploy applications with ease and consistency. In this article, we will guide you through the process of starting a Docker container. By the end of this tutorial, you will be equipped with the knowledge to launch and manage your own Docker containers.


To follow along, ensure that you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Docker software installed on your system. If you haven’t done so already, you can download and install Docker from the official website (
  2. Basic understanding of Docker concepts, such as containers, images, and registries.

Step 1: Finding a Docker Image

Before starting a container, you need to have a Docker image. A Docker image is a lightweight, standalone, and executable software package that includes everything needed to run a piece of software. You can find Docker images on the Docker Hub (, which is a cloud-based registry service that allows you to download and share container images with your team and the Docker community.

To search for an image, visit the Docker Hub and use the search bar to find the desired image. For instance, if you want to start a container running a web server like Nginx, search for “Nginx” and select an official or trusted image.

Step 2: Pulling the Docker Image

Once you have found the desired image, you need to pull it to your local system. To do this, open your terminal or command prompt and run the following command:

docker pull <image_name>

For instance, to pull the official Nginx image, run:

docker pull nginx

Step 3: Starting a Docker Container

Now that you have the image on your local system, you can start a new container. To do this, run the following command:

docker run -d --name <container_name> -p <host_port>:<container_port> <image_name>

Here’s a breakdown of the command:

  • -d: This flag runs the container in detached mode, meaning it runs in the background.
  • --name: This flag assigns a custom name to the container, making it easier to manage.
  • -p: This flag maps the host port to the container port, allowing you to access the container’s services through the specified host port.

For example, to start an Nginx container named “my_nginx” and map the host port 8080 to the container port 80, run:

docker run -d --name my_nginx -p 8080:80 nginx

Step 4: Verifying the Container

To verify that your container is running, use the following command:

docker ps

This command lists all running containers, and you should see your new container in the list.

Step 5: Accessing the Container

To access the container’s services, open a web browser and navigate to http://localhost:<host_port>. In our example, you would navigate to http://localhost:8080.


In this article, we have covered the process of starting a Docker container, from finding and pulling an image to running and verifying the container. By following these steps, you can quickly and easily launch Docker containers to deploy and manage your applications. Docker’s flexibility and convenience make it an invaluable tool in modern software development, streamlining the workflow and ensuring a consistent environment across development, testing, and production.

Related Articles