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Port Management


Introduced in 0.31.0, replaces the previous proxy:ports* commands

ports:list <app>                        # List port mappings for an app
ports:add <app> <scheme>:<host-port>:<container-port> [<scheme>:<host-port>:<container-port>...]           # Add port mappings to an app
ports:clear <app>                       # Clear all port mappings for an app
ports:remove <app> <host-port> [<host-port>|<scheme>:<host-port>:<container-port>...]                      # Remove specific port mappings from an app
ports:set <app> <scheme>:<host-port>:<container-port> [<scheme>:<host-port>:<container-port>...]           # Set port mappings for an app



Mapping alternative ports may conflict with the active firewall installed on your server or hosting provider. Such software includes - but is not limited to - AWS Security Groups, iptables, and UFW. Please consult the documentation for those softwares as applicable.

Users should also avoid setting the PORT environment variable. Dokku will use port mappings to set this value. Overriding this manually may cause issues in application routing.

You can now configure host -> container port mappings with the ports:* commands. This mapping is currently supported by the built-in nginx-vhosts plugin.

By default, buildpack apps and dockerfile apps without explicitly exposed ports (i.e. using the EXPOSE directive) will be configured with a listener on port 80 (and additionally a listener on 443 if ssl is enabled) that will proxy to the application container on port 5000. Dockerfile apps with explicitly exposed ports will be configured with a listener on each exposed port and will proxy to that same port of the deployed application container.


This default behavior will not be automatically changed on subsequent pushes and must be manipulated with the ports:* commands detailed below.

Port Scheme

The proxy port scheme is as follows:


The scheme metadata can be used by proxy implementations in order to properly handle proxying of requests. For example, the built-in nginx-vhosts proxy implementation supports the http, https, grpc and grpcs schemes. For the grpc and grpcs see nginx blog post on grpc.

Developers of proxy implementations are encouraged to use whatever schemes make the most sense, and ignore configurations which they do not support. For instance, a udp proxy implementation can safely ignore http and https port mappings.

To change the proxy implementation in use for an application, use the proxy:set command:

# no validation will be performed against
# the specified proxy implementation
dokku proxy:set node-js-app nginx

Listing port mappings

To inspect the port mapping for a given application, use the ports:list command:

dokku ports:list node-js-app
-----> Port mappings for node-js-app
-----> scheme             host port                 container port
http                      80                        5000

The above application is listening on the host's port 80, which we can test via curl:

Hello World!

Adding a custom port mapping

There are cases where we may wish for the service to be listening on more than one port, such as port 8080. Normally, this would not be possible:

curl: (7) Failed to connect to port 8080: Connection refused

However, we can use the ports:add command to add a second external port mapping - 8080 - to our application's port 5000.

dokku ports:add node-js-app http:8080:5000
-----> Configuring built-in template)
-----> Creating http nginx.conf
       Reloading nginx

We can now test that port 80 still responds properly:

Hello World!

And our new listening port of 8080 also works:

Hello World!

Setting all port mappings at once

Port mappings can also be force set using the ports:set command.

dokku ports:set node-js-app http:8080:5000
-----> Configuring built-in template)
-----> Creating http nginx.conf
       Reloading nginx

Removing a port mapping

A port mapping can be removed using the ports:remove command if it no longer necessary:

dokku ports:remove node-js-app http:80:5000

Ports may also be removed by specifying only the host-port value. This effectively acts as a wildcard and removes all mappings for that particular host port.

dokku ports:remove node-js-app http:80

Port management by Deployment Method


If you set a port map but do not have a global domain set, Dokku will reset that map upon first deployment.


For buildpack deployments, your application must respect the PORT environment variable. We will typically set this to port 5000, but this is not guaranteed. If you do not respect the PORT environment variable, your containers may start but your services will not be accessible outside of that container.



Changed as of 0.5.0

Dokku's default proxy implementation - nginx - supports HTTP and GRPC request proxying. At this time, we do not support proxying plain TCP or UDP ports. UDP ports can be exposed by disabling the nginx proxy with dokku proxy:disable myapp and manually exposing the ports via the docker-options plugin. For example, dokku docker-options:add myapp deploy "-p 2456:2456/udp". If you would like to investigate alternative proxy methods, please refer to our proxy management documentation.

Applications using EXPOSE

Dokku will extract all tcp ports exposed using the EXPOSE directive (one port per line) and setup nginx to proxy the same port numbers to listen publicly. If you would like to change the exposed port, you should do so within your Dockerfile.

For example, if the Dokku installation is configured with the domain and an application named node-js-app is deployed with following Dockerfile:

FROM ubuntu:20.04
CMD python -m SimpleHTTPServer 1234

The application would be exposed to the user at If this is not desired, the following application configuration may be applied:

# add a port mapping to port 80
dokku ports:add node-js-app http:80:1234

# remove the incorrect port mapping
dokku ports:remove node-js-app http:1234:1234

Applications not using EXPOSE

Any application that does not use an EXPOSE directive will result in Dokku defaulting to port 5000. This behavior mimics the behavior of a Buildpack deploy. If your application does not support the PORT environment variable, then you will either need to:

  • modify your application to support the PORT environment variable.
  • switch to using an EXPOSE directive in your Dockerfile.

Displaying ports reports for an app

You can get a report about the app's ports status using the ports:report command:

dokku ports:report
=====> node-js-app ports information
       Port map detected: http:80:5000
       Port map:          http:80:5000 https:443:5000
=====> python-sample ports information
       Port map detected: http:80:5000
       Port map:          http:80:5000
=====> ruby-sample ports information
       Port map detected: http:80:5000
       Port map:          http:80:5000

You can run the command for a specific app also.

dokku ports:report node-js-app
=====> node-js-app ports information
       Port map detected: http:80:5000
       Port map:          http:80:5000 https:443:5000

You can pass flags which will output only the value of the specific information you want. For example:

dokku ports:report node-js-app --ports-map