Introduction to PostgreSQL and Docker: A Comprehensive Guide

Pankaj kushwaha
3 min readMar 21, 2023

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open-source, and highly extensible relational database management system (RDBMS) that is designed for performance, reliability, and scalability. It is used by developers, data analysts, and businesses worldwide to store and manage structured data.

Docker, on the other hand, is a platform that enables developers to build, package, and distribute applications in containers. Containers are lightweight, portable units that include all the dependencies required to run an application, ensuring a consistent environment across different stages of the application lifecycle.

By using Docker with PostgreSQL, you can benefit from:

  1. Simplified deployment and configuration: Docker makes it easy to deploy and configure PostgreSQL in various environments, eliminating the need for manual installation and setup.
  2. Portability: Docker containers can run on any system that supports Docker, making it easier to move your PostgreSQL database between different environments, such as development, testing, and production.
  3. Isolation: Running PostgreSQL in a Docker container provides an isolated environment for the database, reducing the risk of conflicts with other applications and ensuring a consistent runtime environment.
  4. Version management: With Docker, you can easily switch between different versions of PostgreSQL or run multiple instances with different configurations.
  5. Scalability: Docker can be used with container orchestration tools like Kubernetes, allowing you to scale your PostgreSQL deployment to meet the needs of your application.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the following topics:

  1. Setting up a PostgreSQL Docker container
  2. Basic PostgreSQL container management
  3. Configuring PostgreSQL in Docker
  4. Data persistence and backups
  5. Networking and security
  6. Scaling and high availability

1. Setting up a PostgreSQL Docker container

Follow the step-by-step guide in the previous answer to create and run a PostgreSQL Docker container.

2. Basic PostgreSQL container management

Some essential container management commands include:

  • Stop a container: docker stop postgres-container
  • Start a stopped container: docker start postgres-container
  • Remove a container: docker rm postgres-container (Ensure the container is stopped before removing it)
  • View container logs: docker logs postgres-container
  • Execute a command inside a container: docker exec -it postgres-container <command>

3. Configuring PostgreSQL in Docker

You can configure PostgreSQL by setting environment variables when creating the container, such as:

  • POSTGRES_USER: Set a custom user (default: postgres)
  • POSTGRES_DB: Set a custom database (default: postgres)
  • POSTGRES_PASSWORD: Set the password for the user (required)


docker run --name custom-postgres-container -e POSTGRES_USER=myuser -e POSTGRES_DB=mydb -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=mypassword -d -p 5432:5432 postgres

4. Data persistence and backups

To persist data between container restarts, mount a host directory to the container’s data directory, as shown in the previous answer. To create a backup, use the pg_dump utility:

docker exec -t postgres-container pg_dump -U postgres -W -F t -f /tmp/backup.tar mydb
docker cp postgres-container:/tmp/backup.tar /path/to/host/backup.tar

5. Networking and security

To improve security, consider running your PostgreSQL container on a dedicated Docker network:

docker network create my-network
docker run --name postgres-container --network my-network -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=your_password -d -p 5432:5432 postgres

This isolates the container from other containers and the host system, reducing the risk of unauthorized access

Thank you for reading this.



Pankaj kushwaha

Database/System Administrator | DevOPS | Cloud Specialist | DevOPS