What Is the Difference between a Docker Image and a Container?

Better Stack Team
Updated on August 1, 2022

Docker image

A Docker image ****is an immutable (unchangeable) file that contains the source code, libraries, dependencies, tools, and other files needed for an application to run. Sometimes these images are referred to as snapshots due to their read-only quality. These images refer to the state of the application and all of its components and dependencies at a point in time.

Docker container

A Docker container is a virtual runtime environment where applications are isolated from the underlying system. These containers standardize the environment and allow them to be portable. This means you can, for example, share the container with a colleague.

The difference

Both images and containers are closely related entities and are part of the system defined by the Docker platform. Images can exist without a container, whereas containers can not exist without an image to run on. This means that containers are dependent on image and need and image to be able to create an environment.

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