Watchtower on Docker – Automate Docker image updates

Watchtower on Docker – Automate Docker image updates

In this tutorial, let’s learn how to set up watchtower

What is a Watchtower?

  • Watchtower is a container-based solution for automating Docker container base image updates
  • It scans if a new image is available on the registry according the specified interval
  • If a new image is found, it will gracefully shut down your existing container and restart it with the same options that were used when it was deployed initially

Read more here:

How to deploy Watchtower?

Use the below command to deploy watchtower

By default, the scan interval is 24 hours, i.e., watchtower will run a scan for the images every 24 hours. In case it finds a new image it will stop the container, update and re-run the container with the initial options

# -d flag is used to run the container in detached state
# --name specifies the name of the container
# -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock the socket will enable watchtower to execute docker commands on the host
# containrrr/watchtower is the image for the container
docker run -d \
  --name watchtower \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \

In case you are using a private registry you can pass the username and password as environment variables as shown below

docker run -d \
  --name watchtower \
  -e REPO_USER=username \
  -e REPO_PASS=password \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \

Another option instead of passing the username and password as variables is to mount the host configuration file

docker run -d \
  --name watchtower \
  -v /home/<user>/.docker/config.json:/config.json \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \

By default, watchtower will monitor all the running containers. However, you can specify the containers that are required to be monitored as shown below
In this example, we are instructing watchtower to only monitor the portainer and duplicati containers

docker run -d \
  --name watchtower \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
  containrrr/watchtower \
  portainer duplicati

If you do not need to continuously monitor the containers for updates, you can instruct watchtower to run only once

docker run --rm \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
  containrrr/watchtower \

The poll interval can also be manually specified using the -i flag as shown below. In this example, it will run the scan every 100 seconds

docker run -d \
  --name watchtower \
  -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock \
  containrrr/watchtower \
  -i 100

Congratulations!! You have successfully set up Watchtower on Docker

3570cookie-checkWatchtower on Docker – Automate Docker image updates


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