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What is the EXPOSE instruction good for in Docker?

Experience Level: Senior
Tags: Docker

Answer

The EXPOSE instruction informs Docker that the container listens on the specified network ports at runtime. You can specify whether the port listens on TCP or UDP, and the default is TCP if the protocol is not specified.

The EXPOSE instruction does not actually publish the port. It functions as a type of documentation between the person who builds the image and the person who runs the container, about which ports are intended to be published. To actually publish the port when running the container, use the -p flag on docker run to publish and map one or more ports, or the -P flag to publish all exposed ports and map them to high-order ports.

By default, EXPOSE assumes TCP. You can also specify UDP.

Example:
EXPOSE 80/udp

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