Create a Docker image of a Next.js application

March 28, 2024Author: Fabio J Raminhuk

Introduction to Docker and Next.js

Docker is a containerization platform enabling developers to package applications and their dependencies into a single container for consistent operation across different environments. Next.js, a popular React framework, is used for building server-side rendered web applications. Combining Docker with Next.js offers benefits like improved portability, scalability, and consistency. By creating a Docker image of a Next.js application, developers ensure consistent performance across various environments, simplifying deployment and maintenance.

Benefits of Dockerizing Next.js Applications

One significant advantage of Dockerizing Next.js applications is the ease of packaging and distribution. Docker containers encapsulate the application, simplifying deployment to diverse environments. Docker also ensures a consistent runtime environment, regardless of the host operating system. This consistency saves time in configuring applications for different environments and enhances scalability and management.

Creating a Dockerfile for a Next.js Application

To Dockerize a Next.js application, begin by setting up Docker on your machine. Then, create a Dockerfile specifying the base image, dependencies, and application code. A multi-stage build process optimizes the Docker image, ensuring efficient resource utilization.

DockerfileCopy code
# Build stage
FROM node:alpine as build
COPY package.json .
COPY yarn.lock .
RUN yarn install
COPY . .
RUN yarn build

# Production stage
FROM node:alpine
COPY --from=build /app/package.json .
COPY --from=build /app/yarn.lock .
COPY --from=build /app/.next ./.next
COPY --from=build /app/public ./public
RUN yarn install --production
CMD ["yarn", "start"]

Running and Deploying the Dockerized Next.js Application

After creating the Docker image, start the Docker container to run the Next.js application. The container can be deployed to various environments, including self-hosted servers or container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes. Managed hosting services like Vercel also simplify deployment without Docker.

Best Practices for Dockerizing Next.js Applications

  • Use a Multi-stage Docker Build: Separate build and runtime environments to reduce the image size.
  • Use .dockerignore File: Exclude unnecessary files to improve build performance.
  • Optimize Docker Image Caching: Arrange Dockerfile steps to maximize caching efficiency.
  • Use Environment Variables for Configuration: Enhance flexibility and portability by utilizing environment variables.
  • Run Your Container in Production Mode: Set the NODE_ENV variable to "production" for optimized performance.

Benefits And Limitations


  1. Portability: Docker ensures the Next.js application's portability across diverse environments.
  1. Isolation: Docker containers guarantee consistent application performance irrespective of host systems.


  1. Learning Curve: Docker image creation requires understanding Docker concepts.
  1. Resource Intensive: Running Docker containers may consume additional resources.


  1. Learning Resources: Utilize online tutorials and documentation to learn Docker best practices.
  1. Resource Management: Implement resource constraints and optimization techniques.


Dockerizing Next.js applications offers portability and isolation benefits but requires overcoming a learning curve and managing resource consumption effectively. Engage with learning resources and implement resource management to mitigate these limitations. By following best practices, developers can create efficient, scalable, and reliable Docker images of Next.js applications.