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Docker Installation

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


Install either Colima or Docker Desktop.


We recommend Colima, a project that bundles a container management tool called Lima with a Docker (Linux) backend.

Wait ... Colima?

Yes! See Why do you recommend Colima over Docker Desktop on macOS? in the FAQ.

  1. Run docker help to make sure you’ve got the Docker client installed. If you get an error, install it with Homebrew by running brew install docker.
  2. Install Colima with brew install colima or one of the other installation options.
  3. Start Colima with 4 CPUs, 6GB memory, 100GB storage, and Cloudflare DNS, adjusting as needed:
    colima start --cpu 4 --memory 6 --disk 100 --dns=
  4. After installing DDEV, configure your system to use Mutagen—essential for DDEV with Colima—with ddev config global --mutagen-enabled.

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.

When your computer restarts, you’ll need to colima start again. This will eventually be automated in later versions of Colima.

Colima disk allocation

We recommend allocating lots of storage for Colima because there’s no way to increase the size later. You can reduce usage with ddev clean, and kill off disk images with docker rm -f $(docker ps -aq) && docker rmi -f $(docker images -q). If you have to rebuild your Colima instance, use the technique described below for migrating from Docker Desktop.

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 mounts your home directory, so it’s easiest to use it in a subdirectory there. See the ~/.colima/default/colima.yaml for more information, or notes in colima.yaml.

Migrating Projects from Docker Desktop to Colima

Move your project databases from Docker Desktop to Colima:

  1. Make sure all your projects are listed in ddev list.
  2. In Docker Desktop, ddev snapshot --all.
  3. After starting Colima, start each project and ddev snapshot restore --latest.

Docker Desktop for Mac

Docker Desktop for Mac can be installed via Homebrew (brew install homebrew/cask/docker) or can be downloaded from It has long been supported by DDEV and has extensive automated testing.


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.

Full instructions for installing DDEV with Docker Desktop on WSL2 are provided in the WSL2 DDEV Installation section.


Avoid Docker Desktop for Linux

The 2022 release of Docker Desktop for Linux doesn’t seem stable enough for regular use, and exhibits some problems Docker Desktop has on other platforms. We recommend staying with the traditional 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.


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

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.

Last update: December 15, 2022