Docker Security: Best practices for securing containers

Are you curious about the security of your Docker containers? Do you want to ensure that your containers are safe from malicious attacks? Then you have come to the right place! In this article, we will discuss the best practices for securing Docker containers.

What is Docker Security?

Docker is a popular containerization technology that allows developers to create and run applications in isolated environments. This can help simplify the deployment and management of applications, but it also introduces new security challenges.

Docker Security refers to the measures and practices that ensure the protection of Docker containers from external and internal threats. This includes securing the host machine, securing the Docker daemon, and securing the container itself.

Best Practices for Docker Security

There are several best practices you can implement to improve the security of your Docker containers. Let's explore them in detail.

1. Use a container registry with security features

When you are building Docker images, you need to store them in a container registry. A container registry is a secure repository that stores Docker images. Some container registries like Docker Hub and Google Container Registry have built-in security features like image scanning, access control, and vulnerability scanning. By using a container registry with these features, you can ensure that the Docker images you use are secure.

2. Secure the host machine

The host machine is the physical or virtual machine that runs the Docker daemon. It is important to secure this machine because if it gets compromised, all the containers running on it can be compromised as well.

Some of the best practices for securing the host machine include:

3. Use Docker Content Trust

Docker Content Trust is a security feature that allows you to verify the integrity of Docker images. With Docker Content Trust, you can sign the Docker images you create and verify that they have not been tampered with. This can help prevent attacks that involve malicious Docker images.

4. Use a minimal base image

When you are building a Docker image, it is important to start with a minimal base image. A minimal base image contains only the essential components needed to run your application. By using a minimal base image, you reduce the attack surface of your application.

5. Use multi-stage builds

Multi-stage builds are a feature of Docker that allows you to use multiple Docker images in a single Dockerfile. This can help reduce the size of your final image and improve performance. It can also help improve security by allowing you to isolate different parts of your application in separate containers.

6. Use Docker Security Scanning

Docker Security Scanning is a feature of Docker that allows you to scan Docker images for known vulnerabilities. With Docker Security Scanning, you can identify vulnerabilities in the Docker images you use and take steps to remediate them.

7. Limit privileges

When you are running a Docker container, it is important to limit the privileges of the container. By default, Docker containers run with root privileges, which can be a security risk. You can limit the privileges of a Docker container by specifying a non-root user in the Dockerfile and using the --user flag when running the container.

8. Use Docker Secrets

Docker Secrets is a feature of Docker that allows you to store sensitive data like passwords and API keys securely. With Docker Secrets, you can ensure that sensitive data is not exposed in Docker images or when containers are running.

9. Harden the container

When you are building a Docker container, it is important to harden it against attacks. Some of the best practices for hardening containers include:

10. Monitor for vulnerabilities

Even if you follow all the best practices for Docker Security, new vulnerabilities can still emerge. It is important to monitor Docker images and containers for known vulnerabilities and take steps to remediate them when necessary. You can use tools like Docker Security Scanning, vulnerability scanners, and intrusion detection systems to monitor for vulnerabilities.


In this article, we have discussed the best practices for securing Docker containers. By following these practices, you can improve the security of your Docker containers and reduce the risk of attacks. Whether you are a developer or a sysadmin, it is important to stay up to date with the latest security practices and tools. With Docker, you can be confident that your containers are secure and ready for production.

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