Running a basic container

A single container is available for SEEK that runs on the SQLite3 database, which can only support a small number of concurrent users.

This can be a good way to try out your own local installation of SEEK, and for testing or trying out new features.

For production deployments see Docker compose

Once Docker is installed it can be started simply with:

docker run -d -p 3000:3000 --name seek fairdom/seek:1.3

This will start the container, and will be then available at http://localhost:3000 after a short few seconds wait for things to start up. ( the container exposes port 3000 by default, if you want to map to a different port, e.g standard port 80, you can use -p 80:3000 )

If you wish to see the logs you can use

docker logs seek

To stop the container you use

docker stop seek

… and then to start again

docker start seek

Once the container is finshed with, and after it has been stopped you can delete it with:

docker rm seek

Note that in this simple form, deleting the container will also delete the data (see Using volumes for how to avoid this)

Image tags

The above example used the image name fairdom/seek:1.3. The number following the : is the tag, and corresponds to the SEEK minor version 1.3 . From SEEK 1.1 onwards tags are available for each stable version of SEEK. Note that the patch version (i.e. the x in 1.1.x is omitted, the image is always up to date with the latest patch and fixes).

Our images are automatically built, and you can see the full list on the FAIRDOM Docker Hub

Note that there is also a master tag. This is the latest development build of SEEK. It is useful for testing and trying out new cutting edge features, but is not suitable for a production deployment of SEEK.

Using volumes

If you are using Docker for a SEEK deployment for real use, rather than just testing or trying out, then you will want your data and files to be preserved. Using the previous examples they would be inside the container and lost once the container is deleted. You can avoid this by telling the container to use a couple of Docker volumes for the database and filestore.

docker run -d -p 3000:3000 -v seek-filestore:/seek/filestore -v seek-db:/seek/sqlite3-db --name seek fairdom/seek:1.3

this will create 2 volumes called seek-filestore and seek-db, which you can see and manage with docker volumes, e.g

docker volume ls

For backing up purposes, Docker volumes are stored at /var/lib/docker/volumes (sudo required). By using volumes the container can be thrown away and recreated (say, for a newer image) without losing your data.

For more detailed information about Volumes please read Manage data in containers


Upgrades between SEEK container versions is only possible (and only makes sense) when using Volumes. Also, upgrades are generally only necessary when switching between minor versions of SEEK.

Switching to a newer build of the same version is as simple as:

docker stop seek
docker rm seek
docker pull fairdom/seek:1.3
docker run -d -p 3000:3000 -v seek-filestore:/seek/filestore -v seek-db:/seek/sqlite3-db --name seek fairdom/seek:1.3
docker exec seek bundle exec rake seek:reindex_all #(to rebuild the search index)

However, if moving between versions it is necessary to run some upgrade steps which can be achieved by usiung a temporary container.

If for example you have been running SEEK 1.1 with

docker run -d -p 3000:3000 -v seek-filestore:/seek/filestore -v seek-db:/seek/sqlite3-db --name seek fairdom/seek:1.1

and you now wish to upgrade to 1.2 then do:

docker stop seek
docker rm seek
docker pull fairdom/seek:1.2
docker run --rm -v seek-filestore:/seek/filestore -v seek-db:/seek/sqlite3-db fairdom/seek:1.2 docker/
docker run -d -p 3000:3000 -v seek-filestore:/seek/filestore -v seek-db:/seek/sqlite3-db --name seek fairdom/seek:1.2

You will now be running an upgraded SEEK 1.2

IMPORTANT: it is critical you only upgrade between successive versions, i.e. 1.1 -> 1.2 -> 1.3 and run the upgrade step at each stage. Jumping say, 1.1 -> 1.3 may introduce errors or missed steps during the upgrade.