Multiple docker containers as web server on a single IP

Question

I have multiple docker containers on a single machine. On each container is running a process and a web server that provides an API for the process.

My question is, how can I access the API from my browser when the default port is 80? To be able to access the web server inside docker container I do the following:

sudo docker run -p 80:80 -t -i <yourname>/<imagename>

This way I can do from my computers terminal:

curl http://hostIP:80/foobar

But how to handle this with multiple containers and multiple web servers?

Solution

You can either expose multiple ports, e.g.

docker run -p 8080:80 -t -i <yourname>/<imagename>
docker run -p 8081:80 -t -i <yourname1>/<imagename1>

or put a proxy ( nginx, apache, varnish, etc.) in front of your API containers.

Update:

The easiest way to do a proxy would be to link it to the API containers, e.g. having apache config

RewriteRule ^api1/(.*)$ http://api1/$1 [proxy]
RewriteRule ^api2/(.*)$ http://api2/$1 [proxy]

you may run your containers like this:

docker run --name api1 <yourname>/<imagename>
docker run --name api2 <yourname1>/<imagename1>
docker run --link api1:api1 --link api2:api2 -p 80:80 <my_proxy_container>

This might be somewhat cumbersome though if you need to restart the api containers as the proxy container would have to be restarted either (links are fairly static at docker yet). If this becomes a problem, you might look at approaches like fig or autoupdated proxy configuration : http://jasonwilder.com/blog/2014/03/25/automated-nginx-reverse-proxy-for-docker/ . The later link also shows proxying with nginx.

Update II:

In a more modern versions of docker it is possible to use user defined network instead of the links shown above to overcome some of the inconveniences of the deprecated link mechanism.