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Docker Installation

You’ll need a Docker provider on your system before you can install DDEV.


Install one of the supported Docker providers:

  • OrbStack: Recommended, easiest to install, most performant, commercial, not open-source.
  • Lima: Free, open-source.
  • Docker Desktop: Familiar, popular, not open-source, may require license, may be unstable.
  • Rancher Desktop: Free, open-source, simple installation, slower startup.
  • Colima: Free, open-source, no longer recommended.


OrbStack is a newer Docker provider that is very popular with DDEV users because it’s fast, lightweight, and easy to install. It’s a good choice for most users. It is not open-source, and it is not free for professional use.

  1. Install OrbStack with brew install orbstack or download it directly.
  2. Run the OrbStack app (from Applications) to finish setup, choosing “Docker” as the option. Answer any prompts to allow OrbStack access.


Lima is a free and open-source project supported by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

  1. Install Lima with brew install lima.
  2. If you don’t have the docker client (if docker help fails) then install it with brew install docker.
  3. Create a 100GB VM in Lima with 4 CPUs, 6GB memory, and Cloudflare DNS. Adjust to your own needs:
    limactl create --name=default --vm-type=vz --mount-type=virtiofs --mount-writable --memory=6 --cpus=4 --disk=100 template://docker
    docker context create lima-default --docker "host=unix://$HOME/.lima/default/sock/docker.sock"
    docker context use lima-default
    After the initial run above, you can use limactl start. Run limactl list to see configured setup.

When your computer restarts, you’ll need to limactl start again.

Docker contexts let the Docker client point at the right Docker server

The Docker provider you’re using is selected with docker context. You can see the available contexts with docker context ls and the currently selected one with docker context show. With the setup above you’ll want docker context use lima-default.

Lima only mounts filesystems in your home directory unless you do further configuration

By default, Lima only works with DDEV projects in your home directory. You must have your projects somewhere in your home directory for DDEV to work unless you do additional configuration. If your project is not in your home directory, you must add additional mounts, as described in mounts example.

Docker Desktop for Mac

Docker Desktop for Mac can be downloaded from It has long been supported by DDEV and has extensive automated testing. It is not open-source, may require a license for many users, and sometimes has stability problems.

Ports unavailable?

If you get messages like Ports are not available... exposing port failed... is vmnetd running? it means you need to check the “Allow privileged port mapping (requires password)” checkbox in the “Advanced” section of the Docker Desktop configuration. You may have to stop and restart Docker Desktop, and you may have to turn it off, restart Docker Desktop, turn it on again, restart Docker Desktop. (More extensive problem resolution is in Docker Desktop issue.)

Rancher Desktop

Rancher Desktop is an easy-to-install free and open-source Docker provider. Install from Rancher It has automated testing with DDEV. When installing, choose only the Docker option and turn off Kubernetes.


Colima is a free and open-source project which bundles Lima. It is no longer a top recommendation because it has been unstable. You can migrate to other providers using How can I migrate from one Docker provider to another?.

  1. Install Colima with brew install colima.
  2. If you don’t have the docker client (if docker help fails) then install it with brew install docker.
  3. Start Colima with 4 CPUs, 6GB memory, 100GB storage, and Cloudflare DNS, adjusting as needed:
    colima start --cpu 4 --memory 6 --disk 100 --vm-type=vz --mount-type=virtiofs --dns=
    (On macOS versions before Ventura, use colima start --cpu 4 --memory 6 --disk 100 --mount-type=sshfs --dns= as the --vm-type option are not supported for older macOS versions.)

After the initial run above, you can use colima start or use colima start -e to edit the configuration file. Run colima status at any time to check Colima’s status.

Docker contexts let the Docker client point at the right Docker server

Colima activates its own Docker context to prevent conflicts with Docker Desktop. If you run docker context ls, you’ll see a list of available contexts where the currently-active one is indicated with a *—which will be colima after you’ve started it. You can change to the default (Docker Desktop) with docker context use default or change back with docker context use colima. This means you can run Docker Desktop and Colima at the same time, but be mindful of which context you’re pointing at!

Colima can only work in your home directory unless you do further configuration

By default, Colima only works with DDEV projects in your home directory. You need to have your projects somewhere in your home directory for DDEV to work unless you do additional configuration. See the ~/.colima/default/colima.yaml for more information, or notes in colima.yaml.

Migrating Projects Between Docker Providers


Avoid Docker Desktop for Linux

Current releases of Docker Desktop for Linux are not usable with DDEV for a number of reasons, and also exhibit some of the problems Docker Desktop has on other platforms. Please use the normal docker-ce installation described here.

Docker installation on Linux depends on what flavor you’re using. It’s best to use your native package repository (apt, yum, etc.):

Linux installation absolutely requires adding your Linux user to the docker group, and configuring the Docker daemon to start at boot. See Post-installation steps for Linux.

Don’t sudo with docker or ddev

Don’t use sudo with the docker command. If you find yourself needing it, you haven’t finished the installation. You also shouldn’t use sudo with ddev unless it’s specifically for the ddev hostname command.

On systems without systemd or its equivalent—mostly if you’re installing inside WSL2—you’ll need to manually start Docker with service docker start or the equivalent in your distro. You can add this to your shell profile.


If you’re working inside WSL2, which we recommend, you can install Docker Engine (docker-ce) inside of it. Otherwise, you can install Docker Desktop, which works with both traditional Windows and WSL2.

Docker CE Inside Windows WSL2

Many have moved away from using Docker Desktop in favor of the Docker-provided open-source docker-ce package inside WSL2.

The instructions for DDEV Installation in WSL2 include Docker CE setup and a script that does almost all the work. Please use those.

Docker Desktop for Windows

Docker Desktop for Windows can be downloaded via Chocolatey with choco install docker-desktop or it can be downloaded from It has extensive automated testing with DDEV, and works with DDEV both on traditional Windows and in WSL2.

See WSL2 DDEV Installation for help installing DDEV with Docker Desktop on WSL2.


With Gitpod you don’t have to install anything at all. Docker is all set up for you.

GitHub Codespaces

You can set up GitHub Codespaces following the instructions in the DDEV Installation section.

Testing and Troubleshooting Your Docker Installation

Docker needs to be able to do a few things for DDEV to work:

  • Mount the project code directory, typically a subdirectory of your home folder, from the host into the container.
  • Access TCP ports on the host to serve HTTP and HTTPS. These are ports 80 and 443 by default, but they can be changed on a per-project basis.

We can use a single Docker command to make sure Docker is set up to do what we want:

In your project directory run the following (using Git Bash if you’re on Windows!):

docker run --rm -t -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -v "//$PWD:/tmp/projdir" busybox sh -c "echo ---- Project Directory && ls /tmp/projdir"

The result should be a list of the files in your project directory.

If you get an error or don’t see the contents of your project directory, you’ll need to troubleshoot further:

  • For a “port is already allocated” error, see the Troubleshooting page.
  • “invalid mount config for type “bind”: bind mount source path does not exist: [some path]” means the filesystem isn’t successfully shared into the Docker container.
  • If you’re seeing “The path (…) is not shared and is not known to Docker”, find File sharing in your Docker settings make sure the appropriate path or drive is included.
  • “Error response from daemon: Get” may mean Docker isn’t running or you don’t have internet access. Try starting or restarting Docker, and confirm you have a working internet connection.
  • If you’re seeing “403 authentication required” trying to ddev start, run docker logout and try again. Docker authentication is not required for any normal DDEV action.