Deploying Go Servers with Docker

Table of Contents

Docker has revolutionized the way we deploy and manage applications. Its containerization technology makes it easier to package, distribute, and run applications in any environment, whether it’s a local development machine or a production server. This article will guide you through the process of deploying Go servers using Docker, from setting up your development environment to creating a Docker image and deploying it to a server.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  1. Go Programming Language: You should have Go installed on your local machine. You can download and install it from the official Go website.
  2. Docker: Install Docker on your local machine. You can find installation instructions for various operating systems on the Docker website.
  3. A Text Editor or IDE: Use your favorite text editor or integrated development environment (IDE) for Go development.

Setting Up a Go Server

Let’s start by creating a simple Go server that we’ll deploy using Docker. Here’s a basic Go server example:

package main

import (

func handler(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
    fmt.Fprintf(w, "Hello, Dockerized Go Server!")

func main() {
    http.HandleFunc("/", handler)
    http.ListenAndServe(":8080", nil)

Save this code to a file named main.go.

Creating a Dockerfile

To containerize our Go server, we need to create a Dockerfile. A Dockerfile is a script that contains instructions for building a Docker image. Create a file named Dockerfile in the same directory as your Go source code with the following content:

# Use the official Go image as the base image
FROM golang:1.16

# Set the working directory inside the container

# Copy the Go source code into the container
COPY main.go .

# Build the Go application
RUN go build -o main .

# Expose the port the application will run on

# Define the command to run the application
CMD ["./main"]

This Dockerfile uses the official Go Docker image as the base image, copies your Go source code into the container, builds the Go application, exposes port 8080, and defines the command to run the application.

Building the Docker Image

Open a terminal and navigate to the directory containing your Go source code and Dockerfile. Run the following command to build the Docker image:

docker build -t go-server .

This command will create a Docker image named go-server based on the instructions in your Dockerfile.

Running the Docker Container

Now that you have built the Docker image, you can run it in a Docker container. Use the following command:

docker run -p 8080:8080 go-server

This command maps port 8080 from the container to your local machine, allowing you to access the Go server in your browser by visiting http://localhost:8080.

Deploying the Docker Image

To deploy your Dockerized Go server to a production server, you can follow these steps:

  1. Push the Docker image to a container registry: You can push your Docker image to a container registry like Docker Hub, Google Container Registry, or Amazon ECR. This allows you to share and access the image on your production server.
  2. Set up a production server: Choose a cloud provider or your own server infrastructure to host your Go server. Ensure Docker is installed on the production server.
  3. Pull and run the Docker image: SSH into your production server, pull the Docker image from the container registry, and run it using the same docker run command as before.

By following these steps, you can easily deploy your Go server on a production server using Docker.

Managing Docker Containers

Once your Go server is up and running in a Docker container, you might need to manage it in various ways. Here are some common Docker commands to help you manage your containers:

  1. List Running Containers:
    To see a list of running Docker containers, use the following command:
   docker ps

This command will display the names, IDs, and status of your running containers.

  1. Stop a Container:
    To stop a running container, use the following command, replacing CONTAINER_ID with the actual ID of your container:
   docker stop CONTAINER_ID
  1. Remove a Container:
    If you want to remove a container, use the following command:
   docker rm CONTAINER_ID

This will stop and remove the container.

  1. View Container Logs:
    To view the logs of a container, use the following command:
   docker logs CONTAINER_ID

This can be helpful for debugging and monitoring.

Docker Compose

For more complex applications with multiple services and dependencies, you can use Docker Compose. Docker Compose allows you to define a multi-container application in a single file, specifying the services, networks, and volumes, and then launch the entire application with a single command.

Here’s an example of a docker-compose.yml file for a Go server and a database:

version: '3'
    build: .
      - "8080:8080"

    image: postgres:latest
      POSTGRES_USER: myuser
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: mypassword

In this example, we define two services: go-server and database. The go-server service is built from the current directory (where the Dockerfile is located), and we map port 8080 from the host to the container. The database service uses an official PostgreSQL image and sets some environment variables.

To start the services defined in the docker-compose.yml file, navigate to the directory containing the file and run:

docker-compose up

Docker Compose will create and start the containers, and you can manage them as a group.

Scaling with Docker Swarm and Kubernetes

For larger, production-grade deployments, you might want to explore container orchestration tools like Docker Swarm or Kubernetes. These tools allow you to manage containerized applications at scale, handle load balancing, and ensure high availability.

Docker Swarm is Docker’s built-in orchestration tool, while Kubernetes is a more extensive and widely adopted solution for container orchestration. Both tools provide powerful features for deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications in production environments.


Docker has simplified the deployment of Go servers and other applications, making it easier to package and distribute software across different environments. In this article, you’ve learned how to create a Docker image for a Go server, run it locally, and deploy it to a production server.

By following best practices and exploring advanced Docker features like Docker Compose and orchestration tools like Docker Swarm or Kubernetes, you can build and deploy scalable and robust Go server applications with ease. Remember to keep your Docker images up to date and maintain security practices to ensure the reliability and security of your deployments.

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