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Dockerizing a React App in Simple Steps

21 May 2023

Docker allows you to package your React app along with its dependencies and configuration into a container. This ensures that the application runs consistently across different environments, including development, testing, and production.

As we know docker containers are lightweight and encapsulate the entire application stack, including the operating system, runtime environment, and dependencies. This makes it easy to move your React app between different systems and platforms without worrying about compatibility issues.

Let's quickly check how can we ship our react application via docker.

Step 1: Create a Dockerfile

Start by creating a file named Dockerfile in the root directory of your React app. The Dockerfile defines the steps needed to build a Docker image for your application.

Step 2: Specify the base image

In the Dockerfile, specify the base image you want to use. For a React app, you can use a lightweight Node.js base image. For example, you can use the official Node.js Docker image:

FROM node:14-alpine

Step 3: Set the working directory

Set the working directory inside the Docker image where your application code will be copied. Create the directory if it doesn't exist.


Step 4: Copy package.json and package-lock.json (or yarn.lock) files

Copy the package.json and package-lock.json (or yarn.lock if you're using Yarn) files to the working directory of the Docker image.

COPY package*.json ./

Step 5: Install dependencies

Run the package manager (npm or yarn) to install the dependencies specified in the package.json file.

RUN npm install

Step 6: Copy the application code

Copy the rest of the application code to the Docker image's working directory.

COPY . .

Step 7: Build the React app

Run the build command for your React app. This will create a production-ready bundle.

RUN npm run build

Step 8: Expose a port

If your React app needs to listen on a specific port, use the EXPOSE instruction to specify the port number.


Step 9: Specify the command to run

Define the command to run when the Docker container starts. Typically, you'll use the CMD instruction to run a server that serves the built React app. For example, if you're using serve as the server, you can use the following command:

CMD ["npx", "serve", "-s", "build"]

Step 10: Build the Docker image

Open a terminal or command prompt, navigate to the directory containing the Dockerfile, and run the following command to build the Docker image:

docker build -t your-image-name .

Replace your-image-name with the desired name for your Docker image. Run the Docker container: Once the image is built, you can run a container based on that image. Use the following command:

docker run -p 3000:3000 your-image-name

Replace your-image-name with the name you provided when building the image.

Your React app should now be Dockerized and running in a Docker container accessible at http://localhost:3000.

Note: The above steps provide a general outline for Dockerizing a React app. Depending on your specific project requirements, you may need to make adjustments to the Dockerfile or add additional configuration.