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A guide to using Docker for WordPress

2 min read
Published on 13th February 2024

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Docker, a popular containerization platform, has revolutionized how developers set up and manage development environments, including WordPress. Using Docker to install WordPress provides a quick, consistent, and isolated setup that mirrors production environments. This article guides you through the process of installing WordPress using Docker, making your development process more efficient and streamlined.

Understanding Docker and WordPress

Docker allows you to create, deploy, and run applications in containers — lightweight and portable environments. For WordPress, Docker can create a containerized environment that includes WordPress itself, a web server (like Apache or Nginx), and a database server (MySQL or MariaDB).

Prerequisites

Before beginning, ensure you have Docker installed on your system. You can download it from the official Docker website.

Step 1: Creating a Docker Compose File

Docker Compose is a tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. Create a docker-compose.yml file in your project directory. This file will define the services (containers) needed for WordPress:

version: '3.3'

services:
   db:
     image: mysql:5.7
     volumes:
       - db_data:/var/lib/mysql
     restart: always
     environment:
       MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD: somewordpress
       MYSQL_DATABASE: wordpress
       MYSQL_USER: wordpress
       MYSQL_PASSWORD: wordpress

   wordpress:
     depends_on:
       - db
     image: wordpress:latest
     ports:
       - "8000:80"
     restart: always
     environment:
       WORDPRESS_DB_HOST: db:3306
       WORDPRESS_DB_USER: wordpress
       WORDPRESS_DB_PASSWORD: wordpress
volumes:
    db_data: {}

This configuration sets up WordPress and a MySQL database. WordPress will be accessible on port 8000 of your local machine.

Step 2: Running Docker Compose

Navigate to your project directory in the terminal where your docker-compose.yml file is located. Run the following command to start the containers:

docker-compose up -d

The -d flag runs the containers in the background.

Step 3: Accessing WordPress

Once the containers are up and running, open your web browser and navigate to http://localhost:8000. You should see the WordPress installation screen. Proceed with the installation as you would in a standard WordPress setup.

Step 4: Managing the Docker Containers

  • Stopping Containers: To stop the containers, run docker-compose down in your project directory.
  • Viewing Logs: To view logs of your Docker containers, use docker-compose logs.
  • Customizing WordPress: To add themes or plugins, you can either access the WordPress admin interface or mount a volume to the wordpress service in your Docker Compose file.

Advantages of Using Docker for WordPress

  • Consistency: Docker ensures that your development environment is consistent across all team members’ machines.
  • Isolation: Your WordPress environment is isolated from other projects, avoiding conflicts and dependencies issues.
  • Replicability: Easily replicate your environment across different stages of development, from testing to production.

Using Docker to install and manage WordPress can significantly simplify and enhance your development workflow. It provides a quick and consistent setup, ensuring that you spend less time configuring your environment and more time developing.