Running a container with the Docker blueprint in Multipass

Key Value
Summary Running a Docker Container in Multipass
Categories multipass
Difficulty 2


Multipass has a Docker blueprint that gives its users access to out-of-the-box Docker on any platform. This new blueprint makes it easy to develop and test Docker containers locally on macOS, Windows, or Linux.

In this tutorial, we will see how to get started with the Docker blueprint by creating a blog in a Docker container in Multipass.

What we’ll learn

  • How to use Docker on macOS or Windows with Multipass

  • How to alias the docker command to our host command line

  • How to use Portainer to launch a Docker container in Multipass

What we’ll need

  • Any computer with an internet connection

Install Multipass

Duration: 3 minutes

We’ll start by installing Multipass on our machine as shown here. Simply click on the operating system and follow the instructions.

Launch a Docker VM

Duration: 1 minute

Now that Multipass is installed, we can create a VM running Docker very simply. Open up a terminal and type

multipass launch docker

This command will create a virtual machine running the latest version of Ubuntu, with Docker and Portainer installed. We can now use Docker already! Try the command below to see for yourself!

multipass exec docker docker

Aliasing the Docker command

Duration: 1 minute

Now alias the docker command to our host command line. This will let us use the docker command as if Docker were running directly on our host machine. The Docker blueprint automatically creates an alias for both the docker and docker-compose commands, we just need to add them to the path so that we can use them directly from our command line.

Launching the Docker blueprint will return instructions showing how to add the new aliases to our path. Simply copy and paste the command shown. It will likely be of this form:


We can now use docker straight from the command line. To try it out, run

docker run hello-world

Using Portainer

Duration: 5 minutes

We’ll now go one step further, with Portainer. The Docker blueprint comes with Portainer installed, which gives an easy-to-use graphical interface for managing our Docker containers. To access Portainer, we will first need its IP address. The following command will show the IP addresses associated with the Ddocker VM we created in the previous steps:

multipass list

There should be two IP addresses listed, one for the Docker instance, the other for Portainer. The Portainer IP should start with a 10.

In a web browser, enter the Portainer IP address from the previous step followed by the Portainer port, 9000, like this: “:9000”. Set up a username and password at the prompt, then select the option for managing a local Docker environment and click connect.

Click on the newly created “Local” environment to manage the Docker instance on our local VM.

Launching a container

Duration: 5 minutes

For this tutorial, we will be creating a blog using the Ghost template in Portainer. Portainer has many other app templates if you are looking for more ideas. If you want more selection, you can launch containers from the Docker hub from Portainer or from the command line.

Inside Portainer, click on App Templates in the left toolbar, and scroll down to the Ghost template.

Now, we can configure and deploy the template. Enter a name and click deploy. The bridge network is the default and correct option.

On the Containers page, we should now see two containers running. One containing Ghost, and the other containing Portainer itself.

We can now access our Ghost blog by going to the published port indicated in the Containers page, i.e., <VM IP Address>:<Ghost Port>.

There it is, our blog running within a Docker container inside Multipass!

For next steps, try out Portainer’s other App Templates (Step 5), or check out Docker Hub for more containers to try. If you want to try out container orchestration, Microk8s or Multipass’ Minikube blueprint are great places to start.


Can you provide a diagram for the Docker workflow, please?
Many thanks.

Hi @llivadas1, welcome and thanks for the comment! I put together a diagram of what this tutorial will create here.

Not sure if this is the right place or not, but I spent too long figuring out how to add path variable for macos - it changed with the introduction of path_helper and makes the docker install much easier

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My Ghost container starts, then immediately stops with this error:

[2023-04-26 09:09:45] INFO Ghost is running in production...
[2023-04-26 09:09:45] INFO Your site is now available on http://localhost:2368/
[2023-04-26 09:09:45] INFO Ctrl+C to shut down
[2023-04-26 09:09:45] INFO Ghost server started in 1.151s
[2023-04-26 09:09:45] ERROR connect ECONNREFUSED
"Unknown database error"
Error ID:
Error Code:

I did get an Apache httpd container running ok though.

Update: googling the error I find that latest Ghost has moved from sqlite3 to mysql hence the error. This blog post [1] explains how to set env vars when starting container so that Ghost will use sqlite3. Also I found that you have to add container ‘manually’ rather than use the Portainer template otherwise you do not get access to the env var settings. Doing this, I got Ghost running as per your blog.


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Thanks for this update! I’ll look into updating this to use a less finicky container.

I’m not sure if this is recent but the main link to the guide has all images broken (even when trying on separate browser and devices using permalinks), hard to follow the steps, could it be a permission issue in your google repo?

Hi @unosomoroso, thank you pointing this out! We’ll follow up and get those fixed.

It should be better now. Thanks again for letting us know @unosomoroso.

working like a charm @ricab!!! thank you for fixing it so quickly!

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