Jenkins Plugin For Docker

I want to show you how to install and configure the Jenkins Plugin for Docker.

This blog post will give you a quick introduction to Jenkins, why you should use Jenkins with Docker and the Jenkins Docker plugin. It is aimed at developers who have heard about Docker and want to know what is being done by the Jenkins community in this space.

How to Deploy Docker Images with Jenkins: You can do that with the help of a free and open-source plugin called

Jenkins Plugin For Docker


A quick setup is :

  1. get a docker environment running
  2. follow the instructions for creating a docker image that can be used as a Jenkins Agent

Docker Environment

Follow the installation steps on the docker website.

If your Jenkins instance is not on the same OS as the docker install, you will need to open the docker TCP port so that Jenkins can communicate with the docker daemon. This can be achieved by editing the docker config file and setting (for example)

DOCKER_OPTS="-H tcp:// -H unix:///var/run/docker.sock"

The docker configuration file location will depend your system, but it is likely to be /etc/init/docker.conf , /etc/default/docker or /etc/default/

Multiple Docker Hosts

If you want to use more than just one physical node to run containers, you can use Docker Swarm Standalone or you can define more than one docker “cloud”. The docker engine swarm mode API is not supported (at present; enhancement contributions would be welcomed).

To use the standalone swarm, follow docker swarm standalone instructions and configure Jenkins with the swarm’s API endpoint.

Jenkins Configuration

Docker plugin is a “Cloud” implementation. You’ll need to edit Jenkins system configuration (Jenkins -> Manage -> System configuration) and add a new Cloud of type “Docker”.

Configure Docker (or Swarm standalone) API URL with required credentials. The test button lets you check the connection.

Then configure Agent templates, assigning them labels that you can use so your jobs select the appropriate template, and set the docker container to be run with whatever container settings you require.

Creating a docker image

You need a docker image that can be used to run Jenkins agent runtime. Depending on the launch method you select, there’s some prerequisites for the Docker image to be used:

Launch via SSH

  • sshd server and a JDK installed. You can use jenkins/ssh-agent as a basis for a custom image.
  • a SSH key (based on unique Jenkins master instance identity) can be injected in container on startup, you don’t need any credential set as long as you use standard openssl sshd.

    For backward compatibility or non-standard sshd packaged in your docker image, you also have option to provide manually configured ssh credentials
  • Note: If the docker container’s host SSH key is not trusted by Jenkins (usually the case) then you’ll need to set the SSH host key verification method to “non-verifying”.

Launch via JNLP

  • a JDK installed. You can use jenkins/inbound-agent as a basis for a custom image.
  • Jenkins master URL has to be reachable from container.
  • container will be configured automatically with agent’s name and secret, so you don’t need any special configuration of the container.

Launch attached

  • a JDK installed. You can use jenkins/agent as a basis for a custom image. 

To create a custom image and bundle your favorite tools, create a Dockerfile with the FROM to point to one of the jenkins/*-agent reference images, and install everything needed for your own usage, e.g.

FROM jenkins/inbound-agent
RUN apt-get update && apt-get install XXX
COPY your-favorite-tool-here


Avoid overriding the docker command, as the SSH Launcher relies on it.

You can use an Entrypoint to run some side service inside your build agent container before the agent runtime starts and establish a connection … but you MUST ensure your entrypoint eventually runs the passed command:

exec "[email protected]"

Further information

More information can be obtained from the online help built into the Jenkins web UI. Most configurable fields have explanatory text. This, combined with knowledge of docker itself, should answer most questions.

Configure plugin via Groovy script

Jenkins can be configured using Groovy code, and the docker plugin is no exception. For example, this configuration script could be run automatically upon Jenkins post-initialization or through the Jenkins script console. If run, this script will configure the docker-plugin to look for a docker daemon running within the same OS as the Jenkins master (connecting to Docker service through unix:///var/run/docker.sock) and with the containers connecting to Jenkins using the “attach” method.

Leave a Comment