gnikyt Code ramblings.

WordPress Under Docker: A basic guide

Purpose #

There are many lengthy guides out there for the official Docker image for WordPress. However, some people have a little trouble getting going so I will quickly provide some tips to help out.

I haven’t used WordPress professionally in a long time, but I decided to do some weekend digging to keep my brain fresh, so forgive any errors ;)

Setup #

Directories #

Let’s create a basic directory structure to use. Keep in mind, this is geared for theme development.

We only need to track our theme, so we do not need to install the whole WordPress system.

Once done, be sure to chmod 755 wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ so WordPress can write to this directory when uploading media.

Docker #

Next, let’s get Docker ready. The simplest way is to use a Docker Compose file. It’s a simple YML-formatted file that’s easy to read for anyone.

Based on Wordpress’ Offical Image, I’ve compiled the following docker-compose.yml file you can use.

Simply replace {YOUR_THEME} with your theme name and save it to the root of {your_theme}/ directory.

Volumes #

In the docker-compose.yml file you’ll notice two entries under volumes.

One maps the theme folder to the WordPress install so it’s visible to WordPress, the other maps, read-write, wp-content/uploads to the WordPress install as well so it can write and read media from a location accessible.

Git Ignore #

Now that you have the directories set up, Docker Compose ready, volumes mapped… its time to setup Git.


Now, we keep track of only our theme.

Running #

Once you’re done the quick setup simply run docker-compose up in the main directory. On the first run, you’ll have to run through the WordPress installation process.

After it’s done, simply log in and visit Appearance. If you have your theme setup as per WordPress requirements (style.css (with info) and index.php) then you will see it in the theme list. Hit “Activate” and you’re ready to go.

Windows (WSL1) Tips #

If you’re running this under WSL1, be sure you have Docker on Windows settings set to expose Docker daemon without TLS (it’s under General panel).

Also, WSL1 accesses your C:\ drive via /mnt/c but Docker requires /c. To resolve this issue simply create a symlink via ln -s /mnt/c /c. If this is not done, you’ll have issues with Docker under WSL trying to find files and map volumes. This means you also need to run docker-compose commands under /c as well.

To quickly switch to /c no matter what directory you’re under, open $HOME/.bash_aliases and add this entry:

alias cswap='cd `pwd | sed 's,/mnt,,g'`'

Now, any directory you’re in, simply run cswap and it’ll move you to /c

tyler@bash[/mnt/c/Users/Tyler/Development/GitHub/wordpress-docker-setup/]$ cswap
tyler@bash[/c/Users/Tyler/Development/GitHub/wordpress-docker-setup/]$ docker-compose up

Further Exploring #

I’ve set up a repo on Github which contains all I’ve talked about above plus some extras like a basic Grunt setup for managing asset files. Feel free to clone, run docker-compose up, and play around!

I hope this has helped anyone struggling.