Binding Ports

Docker containers can connect to the outside world without further configuration, but the outside world cannot connect to Docker containers by default.

How this works

A bridge network is created (with the name bridge) when you install Docker. Every outgoing connection appears to originate from the host’s IP space; Docker creates a custom iptables masquerading rule.

Forward everything

If you append -P (or --publish-all=true) to docker run, Docker identifies every port the Dockerfile exposes (you can see which ones by looking at the EXPOSE lines). Docker also finds ports you expose with --expose 8080 (assuming you want to expose port 8080). Docker maps all of these ports to a host port within a given epehmeral port range. You can find the configuration for these ports (usually 32768 to 61000) in /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range.

Where each ports go

Use the docker port command to inspect the mapping Docker creates.

Forward selectively

You can also specify ports. When doing so, you don’t need to use ports from the ephemeral port range. Suppose you want to expose the container’s port 8080 (standard http port) on the host’s port 80 (assuming that port is not in use). Append -p 80:8080 (or --publish=80:8080) to your docker run command. For example:

docker run -p 80:8080 nginx

## OR ##

docker run --publish=80:8080 nginx

Custom IP and port forwarding

By default, Docker exposes container ports to the IP address (this matches any IP on the system). If you prefer, you can tell Docker which IP to bind on. To bind on IP address, host port 80, and container port 8080:

docker run -p nginx

Next: Basic Networking with Docker
The fundamentals of container networking with Docker.