Docker with Supervisor: Running multiple processes in a container

26 feb 2024 2 min di lettura
Docker with Supervisor: Running multiple processes in a container
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In the world of containerization, Docker has revolutionized the way developers build, deploy, and run applications. Docker containers encapsulate all the dependencies needed to run an application, making it easy to deploy it across different environments in a consistent manner. However, managing multiple processes within a single Docker container can be complex. This is where the Supervisor comes in.

What is the Supervisor?

Supervisor is a client/server system that allows users to monitor and control a variety of processes on UNIX-like operating systems. It is especially useful for managing complex applications where multiple processes need to run at the same time. Supervisor provides a robust and reliable way to ensure that these processes are started, stopped, and restarted as needed.

Traditionally, Docker containers are designed to run a single process. While it is possible to run multiple processes within a container using tools like systemd or init, this goes against the fundamental design principles of Docker. Additionally, manually managing these processes can be complex and error-prone.

A common approach to address this challenge is to run a process manager like Supervisor inside the Docker container. The supervisor acts as a watchdog, ensuring that all necessary processes are running and restarting them if they fail.

How to use Supervisor with Docker

Integrating Supervisor with Docker is simple. You can install Supervisor directly in your Docker container or create a separate container specifically for running Supervisor. Here is a basic example of how to use Supervisor with Docker:

  1. Create a supervisor configuration file: Define a configuration file (typically named supervisord.conf) that specifies the processes you want to manage. This file must be placed in a location that Supervisor can access within the container.
  2. Install Supervisor - If you are creating a separate Supervisor container, you will need to install Supervisor as part of your Dockerfile. You can use package managers like apt or yum to install Supervisor and any dependencies.
  3. Start Supervisor - Once Supervisor is installed, you can start it manually or as part of the container startup process. Supervisor will read the configuration file and start monitoring the specified processes.
  4. Run your application: Finally, launch your application inside the Docker container. The supervisor will ensure that all necessary processes are running and handle any errors that occur.

A practical example


Clone this repository to your local computer:

git clone

Navigate to the cloned repository directory:

cd docker-supervisor

Build the Docker image:

docker build -t docker-supervisor.

Run the Docker container:

docker run -d -p 80:80 docker-supervisor

You should now have a Docker container running PHP-FPM with Apache managed by Supervisor. You can access the Apache web server by going to http://localhost in your web browser.


Managing multiple processes within Docker containers can be complex, but tools like Supervisor make it much easier. By using Supervisor to oversee the lifecycle of your application processes, you can ensure greater reliability, fault tolerance, and ease of management. Whether you're using a simple web server or a complex microservices architecture, Supervisor provides the flexibility and control you need to keep your application running smoothly in a containerized environment.

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