Basic Docker commands for managing images and containers

Docker has become an essential tool in modern software development and deployment. It allows developers to build, package, and distribute their applications as lightweight, isolated containers. Whether you are just starting with Docker or already have some experience, understanding the basic Docker commands for managing images and containers is crucial. In this article, we will explore some of these fundamental commands.

Docker Images

Docker images are the building blocks of containers. They are read-only templates used to create instances of containers. Here are some basic Docker commands for managing images:

  1. docker pull <image>: Download an image from a registry. For example, docker pull ubuntu retrieves the latest Ubuntu image.

  2. docker images: List all the images available on your system. This command shows the image ID, repository, tag, size, and creation date.

  3. docker rmi <image>: Remove an image from your system. Ensure that no containers are using the image before attempting to remove it.

  4. docker build: Build a Docker image from a Dockerfile in the current directory. This command is used when you want to create your own custom image.

  5. docker tag: Tag an existing image with a new name and optionally a new tag. This command is useful when you want to assign a more meaningful name to an image.

Docker Containers

Docker containers are the instances created from Docker images. They encapsulate an application with all its dependencies and provide isolated environments for running them. Here are some essential Docker commands for managing containers:

  1. docker run <image>: Create and start a new container from an image. For example, docker run -it ubuntu launches a new Ubuntu container in interactive mode.

  2. docker ps: List all the running containers. By default, it shows the container ID, image, command, and status.

  3. docker stop <container>: Stop a running container by specifying its container ID or name.

  4. docker start <container>: Start a stopped container by specifying its container ID or name.

  5. docker rm <container>: Remove a stopped container from your system. Make sure to stop the container before removing it.

  6. docker exec <container> <command>: Execute a command inside a running container. This command is useful when you need to run additional commands or access the container's shell.

  7. docker logs <container>: View the logs of a running container. This is helpful for troubleshooting and debugging purposes.


These are some basic Docker commands that every developer should be familiar with when managing Docker images and containers. Docker provides many more commands and options, each serving a specific purpose. However, mastering these fundamental commands lays a solid foundation for effectively working with Docker. By understanding these commands, you can easily build, manage, and deploy your applications using Docker.

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