I have not been able to find a way to up/down just one container in a docker-compose.yml file. I can off-course start and stop a single container, but I cannot make changes to a containers configuration between restarts (environment variables, mount points etc.)

What am I missing here? What is the best practice in this case?


I had this need recently and solved it by having a separate docker-compose-production.yml file to deal with tweaks. Then remember to launch with docker-compose -f docker-compose-production.yml...

  • How does this work when it comes time to do docker-compose down? Wouldn't it bring down all the containers which have been brought up in all .yml files? – Jordan Morris Sep 15 '17 at 10:17
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    You can do docker-compose -f docker-compose-production.yml down – icarito Sep 17 '17 at 18:20

I would suggest you check out this excellent thread on stackoverflow.com. The quick answer here to rebuild the single container and restart it is:

docker-compose up -d --build worker

This would be the ideal solution if, for example, your changes involved your Dockerfile and not just docker-compose.ymll


I found this to have the same affect as docker-compose down for a single service:

docker-compose rm -f -s -v yourService

  • I think disposes the disk, btw – Jordan Morris Sep 5 '18 at 12:02

You can use

$ docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml up yourService

to start just yourService and all dependencies required by it.

So if yourService depends on mysql container, the above command would start both the containers.

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