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How to run a local application in live configuration

The local and cloud Docker application environments are as close as possible, to help guarantee that your applications will run in just the same way across all of them.

However, there are a few differences. See Default application conditions for the default configuration in each environment.

Occasionally, you may wish to run the local server in a configuration closer to the live set-up. A few steps are needed to achieve this. You may not need to take all of these steps - it depends which aspects of the environment matter in your particular case.

Isolate the container's file system from your own

For development purposes, it's often useful to map the host filesystem to the working directory - usually /app - inside the container. The volumes configuration in the docker-compose.yml file therefore overwrites directories inside the container with directories from your own file system:

- ".:/app:rw" # overwrites /app with the entire application directory

This is useful because it allows you to make changes on your filesystem such as code changes and have them immediately reflected inside the container.

However, it does overwrite any files that belong to the image, inside the container, each time a container is launched using docker-compose.

This does not occur in cloud deployments. To ensure that your application sees the same files locally that it does in the cloud, comment out the mapping.

Ensure the application runs in a production configuration

Your application may run in a different configuration in different environments. Apply any relevant environment variables locally that your application would use in production. These could include:


and so on.

Run the release commands

Release commands are run during deployment after the image build has completed successfully. They are not run automatically locally. Execute them with:

docker-compose run web <command>

Legacy Aldryn Django applications can have their release commands executed with:

docker-compose run web start migrate

(In an Aldryn Django application, you can see these commands listed in the MIGRATION_COMMANDS setting, populated by applications using the addons framework).

Use the cloud media storage rather than local file storage

Your local application will use local file storage rather than the cloud storage. Usually this is most appropriate for development, and also faster and more convenient than using the remote cloud storage. However, sometimes you might want to use the cloud storage when the application is running locally.

Cloud storage configuration values are provided in the DEFAULT_STORAGE_DSN environment variable.

In order to use the cloud storage locally, find the value of the DEFAULT_STORAGE_DSN environment variable and add it to the .env-local file (this works for applications that are able to parse the value).

For more information on how to retrieve DEFAULT_STORAGE_DSN see How to retrieve built-in environment variables.

Using the cloud database rather than a local instance

Your application uses our database cluster on the cloud. Locally, it sets up the same database in its own container.

The databases for our public cloudspaces are not accessible except from containers running on our own infrastructure, for security reasons. Access can be made possible for databases on private clusters only.

Use the production web server

The docker-compose.yml file launches your website for local use only, overriding the CMD in the Dockerfile that's used in the cloud.

To start up the application using the CMD specified by the Dockerfile instead, comment out the docker-compose.yml's command.

(In legacy Aldryn Django applications, change the command to start web.)

Other configuration

Note that some aspects of the cloud configuration are harder to replicate locally, such as your container's RAM allocation or its interaction with our ingress controller and other infrastructure. A cloud application may use services that are not accessible locally. We recommend using a cloud environment as part of the testing and quality assurance process.