What is the (best) way to manage permissions for Docker shared volumes?

Better Stack Team
Updated on April 14, 2023

When sharing volumes between a Docker container and the host or between multiple containers, it is important to manage permissions carefully to ensure that the correct users and groups have the necessary access to the files and directories in the volume. Here are some best practices for managing permissions for Docker shared volumes:

Understand UID/GID mapping

When a container is started, it runs as a non-root user with a specific UID and GID. By default, this UID/GID may not match the UID/GID of the host user that owns the files in the shared volume. You can use the --user option to specify the UID/GID of the container user, and use the userns-remap option to map the container user to a host user.

Use named volumes

Named volumes are a recommended way to share data between containers and the host. When you create a named volume, Docker creates a directory in the host filesystem and sets the correct permissions for the container user to access the directory.

Set file permissions with chmod

Use the chmod command to set the correct file permissions for the files in the shared volume. You can use the -R option to apply the changes recursively to all files and directories in the volume.

Set ownership with chown

Use the chown command to set the correct ownership for the files in the shared volume. You can use the -R option to apply the changes recursively to all files and directories in the volume.

Use Dockerfile USER instruction

In the Dockerfile, use the USER instruction to set the UID/GID of the container user, and ensure that any commands that modify files or directories in the shared volume are run with the correct permissions.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that the correct permissions are set for shared volumes in your Docker containers, and that users and groups have the necessary access to the files and directories in the volume.

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