How to Setup Apache Web Server in a Docker Container

If you are a Linux system administrator who provides support for developers, chances are you’ve heard of Docker. If not, this software solution will make your life easier beginning today by helping you reduce operating costs and accelerate deployments – among other benefits.

But it’s not magic. Docker as a platform leverages containers – packages of an application along with all the tools it needs to run to eliminate differences between environments.

In other words, containerized software will operate and can be managed consistently regardless of where it is installed. Additionally, containers are much easier to set up, start, stop, and maintain than good old virtual machines.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the differences between these two technologies, the official Docker website provides a great explanation.

To illustrate, in this article, we will explain how to install Docker on RHEL-based distributions such as CentOS, Rocky/Alma Linux, and Debian/Ubuntu, and spin up an Apache container from Docker Hub.

We will then use it to serve a simple web page from our home directory – all without the need to install a web server on our host.

Installing Docker on Linux

To begin, let’s install Docker using the following curl command, which will download and run a shell script that will add the Docker repository to our system and install the package.

curl -fsSL | sh
Install Docker in Linux
Install Docker in Linux

Next, use the systemctl command to start the main Docker service, enable it to start during reboots, and check its status.

systemctl start docker
systemctl enable docker
systemctl status docker
Check Docker Status in Linux
Check Docker Status in Linux

At this point, we can simply execute.


to view the list of available commands or to get help.

docker COMMAND --help
docker ps --help

will tell us how to list containers present on our system, whereas

docker run --help

will print all the options that we can use to manipulate a container.

Docker Command Usage Help
Docker Command Usage Help

Setting Up an Apache Container

One of the amazing things about the Docker ecosystem is that there are tens of standard containers that you can easily download and use.

In the following example, we will instantiate an Apache 2.4 container named tecmint-web, detached from the current terminal. We will use an image called httpd:2.4 from Docker Hub.

Our plan is to have requests made to our public IP address on port 8080 be redirected to port 80 on the container. Also, instead of serving content from the container itself, we will serve a simple web page from /home/user/website.

We do this by mapping /home/user/website/ on the /usr/local/apache2/htdocs/ on the container. Note that you will need to use sudo or login as root to proceed, and do not omit the forward slashes at the end of each directory.

sudo docker run -dit --name tecmint-web -p 8080:80 -v /home/user/website/:/usr/local/apache2/htdocs/ httpd:2.4
Pull Docker Apache Container
Pull Docker Apache Container

At this point, our Apache container should be up and running.

sudo docker ps
Check Apache Docker Container
Check Apache Docker Container

Now let’s create a simple web page named docker.html inside the /home/user/website directory using vim editor.

vi /home/user/website/docker.html

Add the following sample HTML content to the file.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <title>Learn Docker at</title>
    <h1>Learn Docker With Us</h1>   

Next, point your browser to Server-IP:8080/docker.html (where Server-IP is your host’s public IP address). You should be presented with the page we created previously.

Check Apache Page
Check Apache Page

If you wish, you can now stop the container.

sudo docker stop tecmint-web

and remove it:

sudo docker rm tecmint-web

To finish cleaning up, you may want to delete the image that was used in the container (omit this step if you’re planning on creating other Apache 2.4 containers soon).

sudo docker image remove httpd:2.4

Note that in all the above steps we never had to install the webserver on our host.


In this article, we explained how to install Docker and manipulate a container. Unfortunately, these are just the basics – there are entire courses, books, and certification exams that cover Dockers (and containers in general) more in-depth.

If you want to learn more about Docker, we have already covered a 3-article series, that explains how to install Docker, run applications into containers, and automatically build docker images with dockerfile.

Consider this as your starting point and let us know if you have any questions or comments – we look forward to hearing from you!

Gabriel Cánepa
Gabriel Cánepa is a GNU/Linux sysadmin and web developer from Villa Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina. He works for a worldwide leading consumer product company and takes great pleasure in using FOSS tools to increase productivity in all areas of his daily work.

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14 thoughts on “How to Setup Apache Web Server in a Docker Container”

  1. Works perfectly, but when I stop and add the following code to docker-compose.yml file.

    image: httpd:2.4
    container_name: www
    – 8383:80
    – /home/pi/website:/var/ww/html/
    stdin_open: true
    tty: true

    and start it with:

    # docker-compose up -d

    The container is running, but the website is not responding :(

    What goes wrong?

  2. I entered myipdaddress/docker.html. I am getting access denied, check proxy server, and all that. Not that straight forward for me.

  3. I got the webserver running but instead of serving pages it gives 403 permission denied.

    I checked the file permissions are 640.

  4. @Jonathan Gossage

    You don’t create the docker.html inside the container, but in the host system (the box you run docker on).

    The container runs the HTTPD, but the website served is on your box, outside of the container.

    Hence the SeLinux issue I posted earlier, if you have SeLinux running on your box (which you should).

  5. It seems that no editor, such as vi, nano or vim is included in the tecmint-web container. This prevented me from creating the required docker.html file.

  6. I have done all the steps up to running the webpage in a browser. How would I find the proper webpage to get it running? I’m running docker remotely on a Raspberry Pi, and accessing it through ssh on a Macbook.

  7. The above will get you an 503 error: not authorized, as selinux will block access to docker.html.

    The way to overcome this is to change the line
    # sudo docker run -dit --name tecmint-web -p 8080:80 -v /home/user/website/:/usr/local/apache2/htdocs/ httpd:2.4
    # sudo docker run -dit --name tecmint-web -p 8080:80 -v /home/user/website/:/usr/local/apache2/htdocs/:Z httpd:2.4

    The :Z will ensure the proper selinux context is set.

    Lower case :z is also an option, see.


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