Docker ps: Basic and Advanced Usage Guide

Docker ps: Basic and Advanced Usage Guide

Docker, a leading platform in software development, has revolutionized the way we develop, package, and deploy applications through containerization. However, managing these containers can be as complex as managing a library. That’s where the ‘docker ps’ command comes into play.

In this blog post, we aim to demystify the ‘docker ps’ command. We’ll explore its syntax, options, and its significant role in managing Docker containers. So, let’s dive in and master the art of Docker container management with the ‘docker ps’ command!

TL;DR: What is the ‘docker ps’ command?

The ‘docker ps’ command is a powerful tool in Docker that lists Docker containers. It provides crucial information about each container, such as its ID, image, status, and more, making Docker container management simpler and more efficient. For a deeper understanding and more advanced methods, continue reading the article.

Example output of docker ps:

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS              PORTS               NAMES
4c01db0b339c        ubuntu:12.04        bash                17 seconds ago      Up 16 seconds       3300-3310/tcp       romantic_goldstine   
d7886598dbe2        crosbymichael/redis bash                33 minutes ago      Up 33 minutes                           redis1                
e5a3a1742529        ubuntu:12.04        bash                33 minutes ago      Up 33 minutes                           desperate_turing      
0cd3e6d9499c        ubuntu:12.04        bash                33 minutes ago      Up 33 minutes                           stupefied_mcclintock

‘docker ps’ Command for Container Management

In the Docker universe, the ‘docker ps’ command is akin to a compass, guiding you through your Docker containers. This command lists Docker containers, offering insights into running containers, previously exited containers, or all containers.

But it does more than just listing; ‘docker ps’ provides essential information about each container, such as its ID, image, status, and more. This knowledge is integral for efficient Docker container management.

Syntax and Options of ‘docker ps’

The ‘docker ps’ command is simple in its syntax: docker ps [OPTIONS].

By default, ‘docker ps’ reveals only running containers. But, its versatility is evident in the options it offers, allowing you to control what information gets displayed.

For instance, the -a or --all option displays all containers, not just active ones. The -s or --size option reveals the total file sizes of each container. The -f or --filter option enables you to filter the output based on specific conditions.

The list of these options goes on, showcasing ‘docker ps’ as a dynamic tool for Docker container management.

-a or --allDisplay all containers, not just active ones
-s or --sizeReveal the total file sizes of each container
-f or --filterFilter the output based on specific conditions
docker ps [OPTIONS]

‘docker ps’ relation to Linux Process Status (ps)

If you’ve worked with Linux, you might notice a similarity between ‘docker ps’ and the Linux ‘ps’ command. This is not coincidental.

Docker, which utilizes Linux containers, often mirrors Linux commands. The ‘ps’ in ‘docker ps’ stands for ‘process status’, mirroring the Linux ‘ps’ command.

However, while the Linux ‘ps’ command lists all the processes on a system, ‘docker ps’ enumerates all the Docker containers.

Advanced Options and Filtering

The ‘docker ps’ command shines with its advanced options.

  • The --format option allows you to tailor the output to your preference.
  • You can filter the output based on multiple conditions using the -f or --filter option.
  • You can even sort the output with the --sort option.

These advanced options give you the power to mold the ‘docker ps’ output to suit your needs, simplifying Docker container management.

Advanced OptionDescription
--formatTailor the output to your preference
-f or --filterFilter the output based on multiple conditions
--sortSort the output

Running ‘docker ps’ Command

To leverage the ‘docker ps’ command, Docker needs to be installed on your system. Once Docker is in place, you can initiate a terminal window and type docker ps.

This command will yield information about your active Docker containers. To see all containers (including those not running), you can employ the -a or --all option, like so: docker ps -a.

docker ps

Using ‘docker ps’ Filters

A standout feature of ‘docker ps’ is its ability to filter output based on specific attributes and query parameters.

For instance, you can filter the output to display only the containers currently running or only those that have exited. You can also filter output based on the container’s ID, name, label, and more.

This is achieved using the -f or --filter option followed by the filter condition. For instance, docker ps -f "status=running" will showcase only the running containers.

docker ps -f "status=exited"

This command will display only the containers that have exited.

docker ps -f "status=running"

Role of JSON in ‘docker ps’ Command Execution

The ‘docker ps’ command employs JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) to format its output. JSON, a lightweight data-interchange format, is easy to read and write.

When you run ‘docker ps’, the Docker daemon generates a JSON object containing the Docker container information. This JSON object is then parsed by the Docker CLI to produce the output visible in your terminal.

‘docker ps’ vs ‘docker container ls’

You might be curious about the difference between ‘docker ps’ and ‘docker container ls’. In reality, the difference is minimal.

The ‘docker container ls’ command is a newer command introduced as part of Docker’s efforts to streamline command-line interfaces. It performs the same function as ‘docker ps’ – listing Docker containers.

You can choose whichever command you’re comfortable with, as they both offer the same functionality.

Wrapping Up

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the depths of the ‘docker ps’ command and its vital role in Docker container management. We’ve navigated its syntax, options, and working, and observed how it provides invaluable insights into your Docker containers, much like a lighthouse guiding ships in a vast ocean.

The ‘docker ps’ command, with its versatile options and filters, hands you the helm, allowing you to control and customize the way you navigate your Docker containers. From listing containers to filtering and formatting the output, ‘docker ps’ indeed revolutionizes Docker container management.

So, keep exploring, keep learning, and master the art of Docker container management, much like a seasoned sailor mastering the art of navigation!