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One-off Tasks

run [ --env KEY=VALUE | -e KEY=VALUE ] <app> <cmd>  # Run a command in a new container using the current application image

Sometimes it is necessary to run a one-off command under an application. Dokku makes it easy to run a fresh container via the run command.


The run command can be used to run a one-off process for a specific command. This will start a new container and run the desired command within that container. Note that this container will be stay around even after command completes. The container will be the same container as was used to start the currently deployed application.

# runs `ls -lah` in the `/app` directory of the application `node-js-app`
dokku run node-js-app ls -lah

# optionally, run can be passed custom environment variables
dokku run --env "NODE_ENV=development" --env "PATH=/custom/path" node-js-app npm run mytask

The run command can also be used to run a command defined in the app Procfile:

console: bundle exec racksh
# runs `bundle exec racksh` in the `/app` directory of the application `my-app`
dokku run my-app console

If the container running the command should be removed after exit, the --rm-container or --rm global flags can be specified to remove the containers automatically:

dokku --rm-container run node-js-app ls -lah
dokku --rm run node-js-app ls -lah

Alternatively, a global property can be set to always remove run containers.

# don't keep `run` containers around
dokku config:set --global DOKKU_RM_CONTAINER=1

# revert the above setting and keep containers around
dokku config:unset --global DOKKU_RM_CONTAINER

Containers may have specific labels attached. In order to avoid issues with dokku internals, do not use any labels beginning with either com.dokku or org.label-schema.

dokku --label=com.example.test-label=value run node-js-app ls -lah

Finally, a container can be run in "detached" mode via the --detach Dokku flag. Running a process in detached mode will immediately return a CONTAINER_ID. It is up to the user to then further manage this container in whatever manner they see fit, as Dokku will not automatically terminate the container.

dokku --detach run node-js-app ls -lah
# returns the ID of the new container

Note that the --rm-container or --rm flags cannot be used when running containers in detached mode, and attempting to do so will result in the --detach flag being ignored.

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