farmOS on Docker

Docker is an open-source project that automates the deployment of applications inside software containers. - Wikipedia

A farmOS Docker image is available on Docker Hub at It is built automatically from the Dockerfile included with the farmOS distribution, whenever new commits are pushed to the farmOS GitHub repository.

This can be used for local farmOS development purposes, or for hosting your own farmOS instance on a web server with the help of Docker.

This document primarily covers how to set up a local development environment with Docker. It does not cover how to host a production farmOS instance. The image should support this, but it is largely untested.

General info

Environment variables

The farmOS Dockerfile exposes a few environment variables, which can be overridden when the container is run.

Development vs production

The Dockerfile can theoretically be used for either development or production environments. The farmOS codebase will be set up differently, depending on the status of the FARMOS_DEV environment variable.

When FARMOS_DEV is set to true, farmOS is built using drush make with the --working-copy flag. This ensures that working Git directories are checked out for each of the farmOS projects. It will use whatever branch is specified in the FARMOS_DEV_BRANCH variable. The FARMOS_VERSION variable is ignored.

When FARMOS_DEV is set to false (this is the default), then the officially packaged release of farmOS will be downloaded from and unpacked in the container. It will download the version specified in the FARMOS_VERSION variable. The FARMOS_DEV_BRANCH variable is ignored.

Rebuilding the codebase

The farmOS Docker image assumes that the entire farmOS codebase (located in /var/www/html within the container) will be mounted on the host as a Docker volume. A Docker ENTRYPOINT script is included to ensure that the farmOS codebase is created within that volume. When the container is destroyed, everything in /var/www/html persists in the host volume.

Since the farmOS codebase is built in the ENTRYPOINT script, and not in the Dockerfile, that means that updating your Docker image will not necessarily update your farmOS codebase.

Therefore, the ENTRTYPOINT script has logic to decide if/when the farmOS codebase should be rebuilt. Simply put, if you are running a packaged release of farmOS, and a new version of farmOS is released, all you have to do is pull an updated farmOS Docker image and rebuild your container to get the new version.

If, on the other hand, you have a development build (FARMOS_DEV is true), then the only way to trigger a rebuild is to delete profiles/farm/ Then, stop and start your container and the farmOS development codebase will be rebuilt with drush make.

More specifically, farmOS will be rebuilt if one of the following is true:

  1. profiles/farm/ is missing, or:
  2. FARMOS_DEV is false and the version string in profiles/farm/ does not match FARMOS_VERSION in the Dockerfile.

When the codebase is rebuilt, everything in /var/www/html is wiped out and replaced automatically, with the exception of the /var/www/html/sites directory - which is preserved across the rebuild. This ensures that Drupal's settings.php, any uploaded files (in sites/default/files), and any additional modules that you add to sites/*/modules are not lost when the codebase is rebuilt.

WARNING: If you have a development environment (created with FARMOS_DEV set to true) and you have made changes to any of the working Git repositories in /var/www/html/profiles/farm, they will be overwritten when the codebase is rebuilt. The best way to avoid this is to copy any overridden modules/themes to the sites/all/modules or sites/all/themes directory so that they are preserved when the codebase is rebuilt.

ALSO NOTE: When the codebase is rebuilt, it does NOT automatically run update.php on the site. You must do this manually. See the Updating farmOS page (specifically the steps for clearing cache and running database updates) for more details.

Local development with Docker Compose

The recommended approach for local farmOS development in Docker is to use Docker Compose to build both the farmOS container and the MariaDB database container.

The docker-compose.yml file included with farmOS sets FARMOS_DEV to true by default, so it is intended only for development purposes at this time.

Install Docker and Docker Compose

First, install Docker and Docker Compose:

Mac Specific Instructions

Due to performance issues with shared volumes in Docker for Mac, dlite is currently the suggested way to host Docker images. The following sections describe how to install dlite and start/stop containers:

  1. Download the latest release from dlite releases on GitHub
  2. Extract dlite from the tarball and copy it to /usr/local/bin/dlite
  3. Run: chmod +x /usr/local/bin/dlite
  4. Initialize dlite by running: dlite init
  5. Start dlite host by running: dlite start
  1. Proceed with Create Containers
  2. Fix networking by running docker network connect bridge farmos_www_1
  3. Proceed with Install farmOS at http://farmos_www_1.docker
  1. Run: docker-compose stop
  2. Remove networking: docker network disconnect bridge farmos_www_1

Create containers

To create the farmOS Docker containers, first clone the farmOS repository:

git clone && cd farmOS

Then, use docker-compose up to create the containers:

sudo docker-compose up

This will create two containers: a farmOS application container, and a MariaDB database container.

Note: It will take some time for the containers to start the first time. This is because the farmOS codebase needs to be built when the container is run (it is not built in the image itself). For this reason, you might not want to use the -d flag at the end of sudo docker-compose up, so that you can see the progress. Once it is built, stopping and starting the container is very quick.

Persistent volumes

The docker-compose.yml file defines two Docker volumes that will be available on your host system:

Both will be made available within a .data directory in the farmOS repository on the host. This is where you will be able to access the code for development purposes. It is also how your database and files are persisted when the containers are destroyed and rebuilt.

Install farmOS

Once the containers are up and running, you can install farmOS using the Drupal installer. This is a simple step-by-step process that you will need to go through when you first access the site in your browser.

To find the IP address of your farmOS container, use the following command:

sudo docker inspect --format '{{ .NetworkSettings.Networks.farmos_default.IPAddress }}' farmos_www_1

Visit the IP address in a browser - you should see the Drupal/farmOS installer.

In the "Set up database" step of installation, use the following values:

Follow the instructions to continue with the installation and you should be left with a fully-functioning farmOS instance running in a Docker container!

Stop/start containers

To stop your running containers:

sudo docker-compose stop

To start your containers:

sudo docker-compose start