Monday, February 21, 2022

Deploy single container docker image to Azure App Services

You have a self contained web app that runs in a docker container and want to deploy it on a cloud service. I will show you how easy it is to deploy your docker image to Azure App Services. I will, as an example use a simple Node.js Express web app in this demonstration.

Source code:


  • Node.js and NPM are installed on your computer
  • Docker Desktop is installed on your computer
  • You have an Azure subscription
  • Git is installed on your computer
  • You have a docker hub account

Getting started

In a previous article, I created a Node.js Express app that persists data in SQLite. I will use this sample app i this article. 

Clone the Node.js Express sample web app on GitHub by running the following command from a working directory in a terminal window on your computer:

git clone

Change into the newly cloned directory with:

cd xpress-sqlite-chart

The application is a simple Node.js Express application that uses SQLite as a database. This will come as a surprise to most Node.js developers because MongoDB is the most commonly used database with Node.js. The reason I used SQLite in this case is because it does not need a database server and can run independently in a docker container. To experience what this web app does, run the following commands in the same folder:

npm install
npm start

This will display in the console:

Server running on port 3000
Connected to the SQLite database.

Point your browser to http://localhost:3000/api/students and you will see the following output:

You can view a pie-chart summarizing the above information at http://localhost:3000/chart.html as shown below:

This data is being dynamically read from a SQLite database file named school.db located in the root of the web app.

Building our docker image

Stop the Node.js app by hitting CTRL C on the keyboard. 

Let us build a web app image and deploy it to docker hub.

We do not need to copy folder node_modules. Also, we should not copy school.db into the image because it is automatically created when the web app starts. Therefore, add a text file named .dockerignore with the following content:


Add another text file named Dockerfile containing the instructions for creating our Docker image:

FROM node:12.18.1
COPY ["package.json", "package-lock.json*", "./"]
RUN npm install
COPY . .
CMD [ "npm", "start" ]

I am hereby using snoopy a an example docker-hub username. Be sure to replace every instance of snoopy with your docker-hub user name.

The command to build a Docker image named bingo version 1.0.0 is:

docker build --tag snoopy/bingo:1.0.0 .

Note: Make sure you run the above command in the same folder as Dockerfile.

To ensure that you created an image named asp-bingo, type the following command:

docker images

You will see your newly created image in a list of Docker images:

Let us run the image in a container to make sure that it works as expected:

docker run -d -p 8888:3000 --name bingo snoopy/bingo:1.0.0

Point your browser to http://localhost:8888/api/students and you should see student JSON data. This confirms to us that our image and container work. Stop and remove the container with the following command:

docker rm -f bingo

We can now push our image to docker hub. First we need to login into docker-hub with the following command:

docker login --username=snoopy

You will be prompted for your password. If all goes well. you will see the following output:

Login Succeeded

Logging in with your password grants your terminal complete access to your account. For better security, log in with a limited-privilege personal access token. Learn more at

We now need to push our image to docker-hub with:

docker push snoopy/bingo:1.0.0

The output will be similar to this:

The push refers to repository []
c8b45ef9554a: Pushed 
e98b0d58d677: Pushed 
5ffdad44213c: Pushed 
db7819aa4316: Pushed 
6be3db87bf2b: Mounted from library/node 
640ef100e22c: Mounted from library/node 
f5efc9f25bb5: Mounted from library/node 
6c4912a00957: Mounted from library/node 
47b172bd2907: Mounted from library/node 
38a97d5a6ebd: Mounted from library/node 
bfdc94824303: Mounted from library/node 
33c19d48a4f3: Mounted from library/node 
db4e0d4c0410: Mounted from library/node 
1.0.0: digest: sha256:32d22b3fd5f66a8c8e11bc3566b330e8085edb809f78fa7ca04f8e27bcab3ed6 size: 3051

If you login into, you will find that the newly pushed image is sitting in your repository.

Deploying solution to Azure App Services

Login into Azure by going to the portal at Click on "App Services" on the left-side hamburger menu:

Click on Create:

Add a new resource group and complete the remaining settings as shown below:

The most important setting you need for Publish is "Docker Container".

Click on the "Next : Docker >" button. On the next screen choose:

Options: Single Container
Image Source: Docker Hub
Access Type: Public
Image and tag: enter the fully qualified name of your docker image
Startup Command: leave blank

Click on Review + Create then click on Create. You will see a blue "Go to resource" button once the deployment is completed.

Click on "Go to resource". This takes you to the control page for your web app. 

Click  the link on the top right-side as shown above. The web app should show in the browser.

If you want to see something more interesting, point to page /chart.html:

I trust that you have a good appreciation of how easy it is to deploy a containerized web app to the Azure App Services.

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