How to Install Docker Compose on Ubuntu 20.04

Docker Compose is a command line tool that lets you define and organize multi-container Docker applications. It uses a YAML file to configure the services, networks and volumes of the application.

With Compose, you can define a portable application environment that can run on any system. Composite environments are isolated from each other, allowing multiple copies of the same environment to run on the same host.

Compose is commonly used for local development, single host deployment, and automated testing.

This article explains how to install the latest Docker Compose on Ubuntu 20.04. We’ll also cover the basic concepts and commands of Docker Compose.


We will assume that you have Docker installed on your Ubuntu machine.

Installing Docker Compose on Ubuntu

Docker Compose is one binary. Installation is simple. We will upload the file to the directory that is in the system PATH and make it executable.

The Docker Compose package is available in the official Ubuntu 20.04 repositories, but it may not always be the latest version.

At the time of this writing, the latest stable version of Docker Compose is 1.25.5. Before downloading the Compose binary, go to the Compose repository release page on GitHub and check if a new version is available for download.

Use curl command to download the Compose file to / usr / local / bin directory:

sudo curl -L "$(uname -s)-$(uname -m)" -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose

After the download is complete, apply the permissions to the executable:

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose

To verify that the installation was successful, enter the following command, which will display the Compose version:

docker-compose --version

The output will look something like this:

docker-compose version 1.25.5, build b02f1306

All! Docker Compose is installed on your Ubuntu machine and you can start using it.

Getting started with Docker Compose

In this section, we will be using Docker Compose to create a WordPress multi-container CMS.

The first step is to create a project directory:

mkdir my_appcd my_app

Open your text editor and create a file called docker-compose.yml inside your project directory:

nano docker-compose.yml

Paste in the following content:


version: '3'

    image: mysql:5.7
    restart: always
      - db_data:/var/lib/mysql
      MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD: password
      MYSQL_DATABASE: wordpress

    image: wordpress
    restart: always
      - ./wp_data:/var/www/html
      - "8080:80"
      WORDPRESS_DB_HOST: db:3306
      WORDPRESS_DB_NAME: wordpress
       - db


Let’s analyze the structure of the docker-compose.yml file.

The first line of the file indicates the version of the Compose file. There are several different versions of the Compose file format with support for specific versions of Docker.

Next, you define services, volumes and networks.

In this example, we have db services, and wordpress. Each service runs a single image and creates a separate container when running docker-compose.

Services can use images available on DockerHub or images generated from a Dockerfile. The service section also includes keys that indicate open ports, volumes, environment variables, dependencies, and other Docker commands.

From your project directory, start your WordPress application by running the following command:

docker-compose up

Compose will fetch images, launch containers and create a wp_data directory.

Enter into your browser and you will see the WordPress installation screen. At this point, your WordPress application is up and running and you can start working on your theme or plugin.

Press CTRL + C to stop Compose.

You can also start Compose in a separate mode by passing the -d option:

docker-compose up -d

Use the ps option to check running services:

docker-compose ps
       Name                     Command               State          Ports        
my_app_db_1 mysqld      Up      3306/tcp, 33060/tcp 
my_app_wordpress_1 apach ...   Up>80/tcp

With Compose offline, to stop the services, run:

docker-compose stop

To stop and remove app and network containers use the down parameter:

docker-compose down

Removing Docker Compose

To uninstall Docker Compose, simply delete the binary by typing:

sudo rm /usr/local/bin/docker-compose


We showed you how to install Docker Compose on Ubuntu 20.04. Using Docker Compose can significantly improve your workflow and productivity. You can define your development environment with Docker Compose and share it with the project collaborators.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.