How to Debug a Failed Docker Build Command

Better Stack Team
Updated on May 9, 2024

When a Docker build command fails, there are several steps you can take to debug the issue:

Check the error message

When a Docker build command fails, Docker will output an error message indicating the reason for the failure. Make sure to read the error message carefully and try to understand what went wrong.

Check the Dockerfile

Review the Dockerfile used in the build process to ensure that it is correct and does not contain any syntax errors or invalid instructions. Check that all required files and dependencies are included, and that any environment variables or configuration settings are correct.

Use the --no-cache option

When you run a Docker build command, Docker will use cached layers from previous builds to speed up the process. However, if a cached layer is causing the build to fail, you can use the --no-cache option to force Docker to rebuild all layers from scratch.

Use the --progress=plain option

When you run a Docker build command, Docker will output a progress indicator by default. However, if the build is failing, this progress indicator can be difficult to read. You can use the --progress=plain option to disable the progress indicator and get more detailed output.

Check external resources

Docker build command may require external resources, such as code repositories or externally loaded scripts. If they become unavailable (e.g. due to network issue or a server failure) the build may fail. Checking your network, trying to build it again after a while, or checking their status pages may help to resolve the issue.

Check system logs

If the build command is failing because of a system-level issue, you can check the system logs on your machine for any relevant error messages.

By following these steps, you can usually identify the cause of the failed Docker build command and take the necessary steps to resolve the issue.

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