Optimizing Docker Image Sizes for Node.js Applications


When dockerizing a Node.js application, managing the Docker image size is crucial for ensuring efficient deployment and operation. This guide will show you how to create a Dockerfile for a Node.js application that is optimized for size using best practices, including multi-stage builds.

Creating an Optimized Dockerfile for Node.js

1. Setup Your Node.js Application

Ensure your Node.js project has a package.json file and all dependencies are correctly defined.

2. Writing an Efficient Dockerfile

Leveraging multi-stage builds can significantly reduce the size of your Docker images by separating the build environment from the production environment.

Example Dockerfile:

# Stage 1: Build
FROM node:14-alpine as builder
COPY package*.json ./
RUN npm install
COPY . .
RUN npm run build

# Stage 2: Runtime
FROM node:14-alpine
COPY --from=builder /app/build /app
COPY --from=builder /app/node_modules /app/node_modules
CMD ["node", "server.js"]
  • Stage 1: Builds your application, installing dependencies and running build scripts.

  • Stage 2: Sets up the runtime environment, copying only the necessary artifacts from the build stage.

3. Building the Docker Image

Build your Docker image using the Dockerfile. This approach uses Docker's caching mechanism more effectively and reduces the image size.

Example Command:

docker build -t optimized-node-app .

Expected Output:

Sending build context to Docker daemon  102.4kB
Step 1/10 : FROM node:14-alpine as builder
 ---> 4d4a681b2c8d
Successfully built 7h8i9j0k1l2m
Successfully tagged optimized-node-app:latest

This output indicates that each step is processed and the final image is successfully built and tagged.

Running Your Optimized Node.js Docker Container

To run your optimized Docker container:

Example Command:

docker run -p 3000:3000 optimized-node-app

This command maps port 3000 from your host to the container, allowing you to access your Node.js application at localhost:3000.


Using multi-stage builds and optimizing Dockerfile instructions are effective strategies to reduce Docker image sizes for Node.js applications. This not only improves deployment times but also enhances the efficiency of resource usage in production.

Additional Resources