A Step-by-Step Guide to Dockerize Your Next.JS Application

Ready to take your Next.js application to new heights? Dockerize it like a pro with our step-by-step guide! We'll show you how to containerize your code and sail through the waves of deployment, leaving behind the choppy seas of configuration woes. Get ready to docker-dive into seamless scalability and portability, all while enjoying a smoother development voyage!

Table of Contents


Are you looking to quickly and easily deploy a Next.js application? Docker is the perfect solution for a hassle-free setup, allowing you to containerize your app and deploy it with ease. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to Dockerize your Next.js application, from understanding the basics of Docker and Next.js, to building the image, deploying it, and testing it. I’ll also outline the best practices when using Docker for hosting Next.js applications as well as share helpful external resources that will be incredibly useful in this endeavor. Ready? Let's get started!

What is Docker and What is Next.js?

Docker is a powerful development platform that allows users to create, deploy, and run applications efficiently. By leveraging Docker's containerization technology, developers can package their applications into portable containers that can be deployed on various hosts, including those with internet connectivity as well as local or private network environments.

Next.js is an open source React framework developed by the team at Vercel. It provides a simple way to build server-side rendered web applications and static websites in a single codebase. With Next.js, developers can create complex web pages with high performance and scalability without the need for complicated configuration or setup.

Using Docker to streamline the development process of a Next.js application makes it easier for developers to manage their projects. By running your application within a containerized environment, you can quickly launch new instances of your app in any environment without having to worry about compatibility issues between different systems or platforms. Additionally, since all of your application's dependencies are contained within the same image, it's much easier to deploy multiple versions of your app without worrying about version conflicts or other compatibility issues.

The advantages of using Docker for hosting Next.js applications are numerous; not only does it provide a quicker and easier deployment process but it also helps simplify maintenance tasks like updates and patches for different versions of your application across multiple servers. So, deploying through Docker helps to maintain high availability of your application, and when updates are released, they will be automatically applied when the containers are restarted. These updates are fetched from a central repository where your application images are stored.

Benefits of Dockerizing Your Next.js Application

Containerizing a Next.js application brings numerous advantages to developers and operations teams. By using Docker, you can:

  1. Enhance Security and Reliability: Isolating your application within a container provides an extra layer of security, preventing potential conflicts between dependencies and the host system. It also ensures consistent behavior across different environments.
  2. Improve Resource Utilization and Performance: Docker allows you to limit memory or CPU usage for your Next.js application, optimizing resource utilization and preventing one service from impacting others on the same system. This improves overall performance and stability.
  3. Simplify Deployment: With Docker, you can package your Next.js application and its dependencies into a single, portable container. This simplifies the deployment process and eliminates compatibility issues, making it easier to deploy your application on different hosts or cloud platforms.
  4. Enable Scalability and Load Balancing: Docker's containerization enables effortless scaling of your Next.js application. You can easily replicate containers and distribute the load using container orchestration tools like Docker Swarm or Kubernetes.
  5. Flexibility in Cloud Provider Selection: Docker's portability allows you to choose any cloud provider (e.g., GCP, AWS, Azure) for hosting your Next.js application. You can seamlessly migrate or deploy your containerized application across different cloud environments, providing greater control over costs and scalability options.

By Dockerizing your Next.js application, you unlock the potential for improved security, resource efficiency, scalability, and portability, empowering you to build and deploy robust applications more effectively.


Before you embark on Dockerizing your Next.js application, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the necessary requirements. Prior to starting the process, ensure that you meet the following prerequisites:

  1. Familiarity with Docker and Next.js: It is important to have a basic understanding of Docker and Next.js concepts, including containerization and Next.js framework.
  2. Comfort with Linux Command Line: Being comfortable with Linux command line operations will facilitate the Dockerization process and enable efficient management of your Next.js application.

To fulfill these prerequisites, please follow these steps:

  1. Docker Installation: Visit the Docker website to install Docker on your Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system. Detailed installation instructions are available on the Docker website for each platform.
  2. Node.js Installation: Download and install Node.js on your computer. Node.js is required for Next.js development. You can obtain the latest version of Node.js from the official Node.js website. Follow the installation instructions provided for your operating system.

By fulfilling these prerequisites, you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to successfully Dockerize your Next.js application.

Building the Application Image

Building the Application Image is an integral part of the process of dockerizing a Next.js application. It involves creating a Dockerfile, which is a text file containing instructions for building an image. The Dockerfile specifies the environment for the application, such as package installations and user privileges.

To build the image, start by creating a Dockerfile in your project directory. Open the Dockerfile and add the below instructions, such as specifying a base image, setting the working directory, copying package.json and package-lock.json files, installing dependencies, and copying the rest of the application files. Here is the full example

# Stage 1 (Build) #

# Use an official Node.js runtime as the base image
FROM node:alpine AS builder

# Set the working directory in the container to /app

# Copy the package.json and package-lock.json files to the container
COPY package*.json ./

# Install the app's dependencies in the container
RUN npm install -frozen-lockfile

# Copy the rest of the app's files to the container
COPY . .
COPY .env.example .env

# Build the app
RUN npm run build

ENV NODE_ENV=production

# Install only production dependencies in the container
RUN npm install -frozen-lockfile -production

# Stage 2 (Runtime) #

FROM node:alpine
ENV NODE_ENV=production


# Set the user to 'node' for better security
RUN chown node:node .
USER node

# Copy package.json and package-lock.json to the container
COPY package*.json ./

# Copy the built Next.js app from the build stage to the runtime stage
COPY -from=builder /app/.next ./.next
COPY -from=builder /app/public ./public
COPY -from=builder /app/.env ./.env
COPY -from=builder /app/node_modules/ ./node_modules/


# Specify the command to run when the container starts
CMD ["npm", "start"]

This Dockerfile is used to build a Docker image for a Next.js application. It follows a two-stage build process to optimize the resulting image.

Stage 1: Build Stage

In the first stage, we use the node:alpine base image and set it as the builder stage (FROM node:alpine AS builder). This stage is responsible for building the application. Here's what happens in this stage:

  1. The working directory is set to /app.
  2. The package.json and package-lock.json files are copied to the container.
  3. The application's dependencies are installed using npm install --frozen-lockfile.
  4. The rest of the application's files, including .env.example, are copied to the container.
  5. The application is built using the npm run build command.
  6. The NODE_ENV environment variable is set to production.
  7. Only production dependencies are installed using npm install --frozen-lockfile --production.

Stage 2: Runtime Stage

In the second stage, we use another node:alpine base image. This stage is responsible for the runtime environment of the application. Here's what happens in this stage:

  1. The working directory is set to /app.
  2. The user is changed to node for better security.
  3. The package.json and package-lock.json files are copied to the container.
  4. The built Next.js app from the build stage is copied to the runtime stage.
  5. The public folder, .env file, and node_modules directory are copied to the container.
  6. Port 3000 is exposed to allow public access.
  7. The command npm start is specified to run the application when the container starts.

Benefits of Two-Stage Build

Using a two-stage build process offers several benefits:

  1. Reduced Image Size: The final runtime image only includes the necessary files and dependencies required to run the application. Unnecessary build dependencies are excluded, resulting in a smaller image size.
  2. Improved Security: By changing the user to node in the runtime stage, we limit the privileges of the running application, enhancing its security.
  3. Better Resource Utilization: Separating the build process from the runtime environment allows us to optimize resource utilization. The build dependencies are discarded after the build stage, reducing the overall resource footprint.
  4. Faster Build Times: If the application's code doesn't change, subsequent builds can leverage the cache from previous builds, resulting in faster build times.

By using a two-stage build process, we can achieve smaller, more secure, and optimized Docker images, improving the overall efficiency and performance of our Next.js application.

# To run the application, execute the following command:

$ docker build -t my-nextjs-app .

$ docker run -p 3000:3000 my-nextjs-app

Deploying and Testing the Application

Now that we have built an image of our Next.js application, it's time to deploy and test it. This section provides a step-by-step guide to deploying and testing a Next.js application using Docker.

Create a Container

The first step is to create a container for our application using the docker run command. This allows us to run our application on any machine with Docker installed. We specify the name of the image we created in the previous section and add any desired flags or options. This will spin up a container with our application ready to be deployed.

Deploy the Application

Once our container is created, we can proceed to deploy our application. Deployment involves pushing our image to a registry like Docker Hub or Artifact Registry or Amazon ECR. This makes our application accessible for deployment on various platforms and environments. By pushing the image to a registry, we can easily manage its distribution and deployment to different hosting providers.

Test the Application

Properly testing the application is essential before making it available in production environments. We should use tools like automated testing or manual inspection to check for potential issues related to performance, security, compatibility, and more. It's important to ensure that the application functions as expected and meets the required quality standards. Keeping track of changes made over time helps identify any regressions that may occur during development or after deployment.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are several advantages and disadvantages associated with using Docker for deploying and testing Next.js applications. On one hand, Docker simplifies the process by allowing developers to manage their applications easily without worrying about setting up different development environments across multiple machines or operating systems. It provides consistency and reproducibility.

On the other hand, Docker containers can be more complex to manage compared to traditional web servers, requiring additional resources such as memory and CPU power. Users may also encounter challenges in understanding and optimizing containerized environments. However, with proper knowledge and practices, these challenges can be mitigated, and the benefits of Docker outweigh the drawbacks.

In conclusion, deploying and testing a Next.js application using Docker involves creating an image, pushing it to a registry, and ensuring thorough testing. It simplifies the deployment process and offers flexibility in managing application environments. Following best practices and employing testing strategies will help ensure the quality and reliability of the application before releasing it into production environments.

Wrapping Up

We have come to the end of our journey into how to Dockerize a Next.js application. By following the steps outlined throughout this guide, you can be sure that your application will be running smoothly on a variety of operating systems and hardware configurations.

The advantages of using Docker for hosting a Next.js application are vast. With it, users can enjoy improved security and reliability due to their containers' isolation from each other and its underlying system, faster and easier deployment processes, simpler maintenance tasks, maximum uptime, and flexibility in choosing a cloud provider.

In order to make the most out of what is discussed here, it is essential that readers understand basic concepts such as Linux command line operations and text editors before beginning to build an image as well as Docker and Next.js basics for successful implementation of this guide's instructions.

If further information or help is needed about Dockerizing applications or questions arise regarding this guide's content, feel free to check out the links provided below or leave us a comment! We would love to hear from you regarding your thoughts on Dockerizing your own applications!


  1. GitLab Repository: Dockerizing Next.js 13 for Production
  2. Docker https://www.docker.com/
  3. Next.js https://nextjs.org/
Raunak Gupta

Raunak Gupta

I'm Raunak Gupta, a seasoned software developer with over 9 years of experience in a wide range of programming languages, frameworks, and tools. I started my journey as a WordPress & CakePHP developer in 2014, diving deep into the world of OOPs, Request handling, and SEO. Along the way, I crafted numerous dazzling WooCommerce stores, tamed payment gateways, optimized for full filament functionality, and achieved ultra-low latency for lightning-fast load times. My expertise extends to BI tools, website builders, DevOps, and team leadership. I like to help upcoming developers, so I share my experience through this blog and by assisting fellow developers on Stack Overflow, where I've earned a stellar reputation with over 10k+ points of recognition.

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  1. That’s insane, man! now my docker image size is around 200MB instead of 430MB. I was using alpine, but I didn’t know that multi-stage was also an option. you deserve a beer, my friend!

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