Advisory: This site contains documentation for the v1.12 release candidate version of Docker Engine. For the Docker Engine v1.11 docs, see Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows are currently in Beta.


Usage:  docker exec [OPTIONS] CONTAINER COMMAND [ARG...]

Run a command in a running container

  -d, --detach         Detached mode: run command in the background
  --detach-keys        Override the key sequence for detaching a container
  --help               Print usage
  -i, --interactive    Keep STDIN open even if not attached
  --privileged         Give extended privileges to the command
  -t, --tty            Allocate a pseudo-TTY
  -u, --user           Username or UID (format: <name|uid>[:<group|gid>])

The docker exec command runs a new command in a running container.

The command started using docker exec only runs while the container’s primary process (PID 1) is running, and it is not restarted if the container is restarted.

If the container is paused, then the docker exec command will fail with an error:

$ docker pause test
$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND             CREATED             STATUS                   PORTS               NAMES
1ae3b36715d2        ubuntu:latest       "bash"              17 seconds ago      Up 16 seconds (Paused)                       test
$ docker exec test ls
FATA[0000] Error response from daemon: Container test is paused, unpause the container before exec
$ echo $?


$ docker run --name ubuntu_bash --rm -i -t ubuntu bash

This will create a container named ubuntu_bash and start a Bash session.

$ docker exec -d ubuntu_bash touch /tmp/execWorks

This will create a new file /tmp/execWorks inside the running container ubuntu_bash, in the background.

$ docker exec -it ubuntu_bash bash

This will create a new Bash session in the container ubuntu_bash.