Elastic Search

Set an Elasticsearch Instance Using Docker Containers

Elasticsearch is a distributed, free and open search and analytics engine for all types of data including textual, numerical, geospatial, structured, and unstructured.

Elasticsearch is built on Apache Lucene and was first released in 2010. Known for its simple REST APIs, distributed nature, speed, and scalability, Elasticsearch is the central component of the Elastic Stack, a set of free and open tools for data ingestion, enrichment, storage, analysis, and visualization.

In this tutorial, we will quickly go over the process of setting up an Elasticsearch instance using the Docker containers.


To run the commands and steps that are provided in this post, ensure that you have the following:

  1. Installed Docker Engine
  2. Installed Docker Compose
  3. Sufficient permissions to run the Docker containers

Define the Docker Compose File

The first step is defining the Docker Compose configuration to run the Docker container. Start by creating the directory to store the config file:

$ mkdir elastic
$ cd elastic

Create a “docker-compose.yml” file to run the Elasticsearch cluster as shown in the following example configuration:

version: "3"
    image: docker.elastic.co/elasticsearch/elasticsearch:8.9.2
    container_name: elasticsearch01
      - 9200:9200
      - 9300:9300
      discovery.type: single-node
      - elastic
    image: docker.elastic.co/kibana/kibana:8.9.2
    container_name: kibana01
      - 5601:5601
      ELASTICSEARCH_URL: http://elasticsearch01:9200
      ELASTICSEARCH_HOSTS: http://elasticsearch01:9200
      - elastic
    driver: bridge

In this example file, we define two service. The first sets up the Elasticsearch service and the other sets up the Kibana instance. The steps are as described in the following:

  • Use the Elasticsearch 8.9.2 image.
  • Map the ports 9200 and 9300 from the container to the host.
  • Set the “discovery.type tosingle-node” environment variable for Elasticsearch.
  • Connect to a custom network called “elastic”.

In Kibana service, we perform the following actions:

  • Use the Kibana 8.9.2 image.
  • Map the port 5601 from the container to the host.
  • Specify the Elasticsearch connection URLs through the ELASTICSEARCH_URL and ELASTICSEARCH_HOSTS environment variables.
  • Connect to the elastic network.

Finally, we setup a custom network called “elastic” using the bridge driver which allows the Elasticsearch and Kibana containers to communicate.

Run the Container

Once we have the services defined, we can proceed and run the containers using the Docker Compose command as follows:

$ docker compose up -d

Access Elasticsearch and Kibana

Once the containers are started, we can proceed and access their instances on the following addresses:

http://localhost:9200 -> Elasticsearch

http://localhost:5601 -> Kibana

Run Elasticsearch Using the Docker “Run” Command

You can also quickly run Elasticsearch using the docker “run” command without the need to define the custom configuration.

Start by creating a Docker network to attach to the Elasticsearch instance:

$ docker network create elk

Once created, run the following command to create the Elasticsearch instance and attach it to the created network:

$ docker run -d --name elasticsearch --net elk -p 9200:9200 -p 9300:9300 -e "discovery.type=single-node" elasticsearch:tag

This simplifies the process of creating a custom “docker-compose” file and run the Elasticsearch instance quickly.


This article covered the fundamental steps of defining and running an Elasticsearch and Kibana instances using the Docker containers.

About the author

John Otieno

My name is John and am a fellow geek like you. I am passionate about all things computers from Hardware, Operating systems to Programming. My dream is to share my knowledge with the world and help out fellow geeks. Follow my content by subscribing to LinuxHint mailing list