Deploying GovReady-Q with Docker¶
GovReady-Q on Docker Hub¶
|Current Release on Docker||https://hub.docker.com/r/govready/govready-q/|
|Nightly Build on Docker||https://hub.docker.com/r/govready/govready-q-nightly/|
Running the Docker container¶
Make sure you first install Docker and, if appropriate, grant non-root users access to run Docker containers (or else use
sudo when invoking Docker below).
Start the container in the background:
docker container run --name govready-q --detach -p 8000:8000 govready/govready-q
For more complex setups, using our run script instead will be easier:
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/GovReady/govready-q/master/deployment/docker/docker_container_run.sh chmod +x docker_container_run.sh ./docker_container_run.sh
Visit your GovReady-Q site in your web browser at:
It may not load at first as it initializes your database for the first time. Wait for the site to become available.
Because of HTTP Host header checking, you must use
localhost to access the site or another hostname if configured
--address option documented below.
If the site does not come up, check the container logs for an error message:
docker container logs govready-q
With the container started and the database initialized, run our first-run script to create a Django database superuser and set up your first organization:
docker container exec -it govready-q first_run
To pause and restart the container without destroying its data:
docker container stop govready-q docker container start govready-q
To destroy the container and all user data entered into Q:
docker container rm -f govready-q
- The Q database is only persisted within the container by default. The database will persist between
docker container stop/
docker container startcommands, but when the container is removed from Docker (i.e. using
docker container rm) the Q data will be destroyed. See the Persistent database section below for connecting to a database outside of the container.
- The Q instance cannot send email or receive comment replies until it is configured to use a transactional mail provider like Mailgun – see below.
- The Q instance is configured to non-debug mode (Django
DEBUG=false), which is the recommended setting for a public website. The instance can be set to debug mode at runtime – see below.
Advanced configuration of GovReady-Q inside Docker¶
Advanced container options can be set with command-line arguments to our container run script:
./docker_container_run.sh ...GovReady-Q arguments... -- ...Docker arguments...
Changing the hostname and port¶
The public address (as users see it)¶
The container will run at
localhost:8000 by default, it will only be accessible from the
host machine, and because of HTTP Host header checking you must visit GovReady-Q using the
same hostname it is configured to run at (so, with default settings, visiting
localhost will result in an error).
You may change the hostname and port of the GovReady-Q server using:
./docker_container_run.sh --address q.mydomain.com:80
If the Docker container is behind a proxy, then
--address specifies the public address
that end-users will use to access GovReady-Q. This may differ from the address and port that the container is accessed at on your organization’s network, which is set using
--https if end users will access GovReady-Q with https: URLs. This must be done through a proxy that accepts HTTPS connections and passes the requests using HTTP to the Docker container. See the
HTTPS environment variable, below.
The address that the container is bound to¶
--bind IP:PORT to control how the listening socket is created on the host machine.
The default value of
127.0.0.1 and the port from
--address isn’t given. If the host machine is behind a proxy, use
--bind to control the
network interface and port that Docker will forward to the GovReady-Q container.
./docker_container_run.sh --bind 10.0.0.5:6543
In a production environment it is important to have GovReady-Q connect to a persistent database instead of the database stored inside the container, which will be destroyed when the container is destroyed. There are two methods for connecting to a persistent database.
You can use a Sqlite file stored on the host machine:
./docker_container_run.sh --sqlitedb /path/to/govready-q-database.sqlite
You must specify an absolute path. The path is mounted using a Docker bind mount into the container filesystem.
The file must be readable and writable by the container process, which is running as user 1000/group 1000. Although the container is running as a user isolated from the host environment, filesystem permissions for mounted files are based on comparing the raw user/group IDs of the file’s owner/group on the host to the raw user/group ID of the process running in the container. Consider granting user 1000 read/write permission to the database using ACLs:
setfacl -m u:1000:rw /path/to/govready-q-database.sqlite
Of course, do not do this if the host machine has a user 1000 that you do not trust.
You can also connect to a database running on a remote system accessible to the Docker container.
For instance, you might run a second Docker container holding a Postgres server.
DBPASSWORD=mysecretpassword docker container run --name govready-q-db -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=$DBPASSWORD -d postgres DBHOST=$(docker container inspect govready-q-db | jq -r ..NetworkSettings.IPAddress) DBUSER=postgres DBDATABASE=postgres
(This example uses
jq, a JSON parsing tool, to extract the IP address of the database container. You can install
jq or just set
DBHOST manually by looking for the IP address in
docker container inspect govready-q-db.)
Start the GovReady-Q container with the argument:
./docker_container_run.sh --dburl postgres://$DBUSER:$DBPASSWORD@$DBHOST/$DBDATABASE
$DBHOST is the hostname of the database server,
$DBDATABASE is the name of the database, and
$DBPASSWORD are the credentials for the database.
You can also use a MySQL or MariaDB server using the syntax
GovReady-Q sends outbound emails for notifications about invitations and discussions. It also receives inbound emails — replies to discussion notifications can be used to post discussion comments by email.
To configure outbound email, use:
./docker_container_run.sh --email-host smtp.company.org --email-port 587 --email-user ... --email-pw ... --email-domain q.company.org
--email-domain sets the hostname used in the email address of outbound email. The other arguments set the SMTP relay server details.
Some of GovReady-Q’s outbound emails can be replied to. When a user replies to a notification of a discussion comment, the reply’s body is post as a new comment on the discussion. Currently we only support an incoming notification hook from Mailgun, and it is not yet configurable for the docker deployment. TODO
Container management and other options¶
Other options that can be passed on the command-line are:
--name NAME to specify an alternate name for the container. The default is
--relaunch to remove an existing container of the same name before launching
the new one, if an existing container of the same name exists. This simply runs
docker container rm -f NAME.
--debug to start GovReady-Q in DEBUG mode, which enables nicer error messages. Do not use in production.
You can additionally pass parameters to the
docker container run command by separating the Docker parameters from the GovReady-Q parameters with
--, such as:
./docker_container_run.sh --address q.mydomain.com:80 -- -e VAR=VALUE
Developing compliance apps¶
If you are using the Docker image to develop your own compliance apps, then you will need to bind-mount a directory on your (host) system as a directory within the container so that the container can see your app YAML files. To do so, start the container with the additional command-line argument:
The directory may be empty but it must exist, and you must specify it as an absolute path (due to a Docker limitation).
The directory and its contents must also be readable — and writable, if you intend to use GovReady-Q’s authoring tools — by the container process. The container process is running as user 1000/group 1000. Although the container is running as a user isolated from the host environment, filesystem permissions for mounted files are based on comparing the raw user/group IDs of the file’s owner/group on the host to the raw user/group ID of the process running in the container. Consider granting user 1000 read/write permission to the files, plus execute (i.e. browse) permission to the directories, in the mounted path using ACLs:
setfacl -R -m u:1000:rwX /path/to/apps
Of course, do not do this if the host machine has a user 1000 that you do not trust.
If the directory is not empty, it should have subdirectories for each of your apps.
For instance, you would have a YAML file at
To create your first app, you can run
docker container exec -it govready-q python3.6 manage.py compliance_app host your_new_app_name
your_new_app_name with an app identifier, which may contain letters,
numbers, dashes, and underscores.
host is always just
host — don’t change
If your new app does not appear in the compliance apps catalog, you may need to force the app catalog cache to be cleared by restarting the container:
docker container restart govready-q
Production deployment of the Docker container¶
The GovReady-Q container runs several processes, including an HTTP/application server and a background process for sending notification emails.
Console and logs¶
The container’s console, which can be accessed with
docker container logs govready-q
shows the output of container’s start-up commands including database migrations and process startup.
Additional log files are stored in /var/log within the container. These files contain access logs and other program output, including logs for unhandled error messages that appear as 500 Internal Server Error pages to end users. A special management command can be used to see the log files:
docker container exec govready-q tail_logs
tail_logs takes the same arguments as Unix
tail. For instance, add
-n 1000 to see the most recent 1,000 log lines, or add
-f to continue to output the logs as the log files grow.
The log files can also be accessed by mounting
/var/log with a Docker bind-mount or as a volume (and that’s the only way to see the logs if
docker container exec cannot be used in your environment).
The container’s processes run exclusively as a non-root user with UID 1000 and GID 1000.
The container may be run with a read-only root filesystem (Docker’s
--read-only argument) so long as
/var/log are writable. When the
--dburl argument is given to our
docker_container_run.sh script, a read-only filesystem is activated using:
--read-only --tmpfs /run --tmpfs /tmp --tmpfs /var/log
The three directories can be made writable either by being mounted as tmpfs temporary filesystems, as above, or using a bind mount or a Docker volume. In production environments where the container is launched without our script, it is recommended to use tempfs for
/tmp and to mount
/var/log to a volume.
Updating to a new release of GovReady-Q¶
Periodically there will be a new release of GovReady-Q as an new image on the Docker Hub. Updating is easy by re-running the same commands again.
- There may be an update to
docker_container_run.sh. Since this script is not a part of the Docker image, you will need to get it again from this GitHub repository.
- You should be using a persistent database as described above. When using a persistent database, it is safe to destroy the
govready-qDocker container and start a new one to deploy an update.
- Use the same arguments to
docker_container_run.shas when you started the container the last time, but add
--relaunchto kill the previous container — you cannot have two containers with the same name or two containers listening on the same port. (You can change the name and port, as described above, if you would like to keep the old container running.)
- When the new container starts, database migrations will be applied, if applicable.
# Update docker_container_run.sh, replacing the old script (with -O). wget -O docker_container_run.sh \ https://raw.githubusercontent.com/GovReady/govready-q/master/deployment/docker/docker_container_run.sh chmod +x docker_container_run.sh # Remove old container and launch updated container. ./docker_container_run.sh --relaunch [your same command-line arguments]
Environment variables for launching the container without our run script¶
The following environment variables are used to configure the container when launching GovReady-Q using
docker run or a container service (i.e., not when using our
docker_container_run.sh helper script).
HOST - The domain name that GovReady-Q will be accessible at by end users. (Default:
PORT - The port that GovReady-Q will be accessed at by end users, typically either 80 (no HTTPS) or 443 (HTTPS). (Default:
HTTPS - Set to
true if GovReady-Q will be accessed by end users at an https: address. This must be done through a proxy that accepts HTTPS connections and passes the requests using HTTP to the Docker container. The proxy must set the
X-Forwarded-Proto: https header. It is also permissible for the proxy to forward HTTP requests, and those requests will be automatically redirected to the https: URL. (Default:
DEBUG - Set to
true to run in Django debug mode. (Default:
DBURL - Set to a database connection string as described in https://github.com/kennethreitz/dj-database-url. We recommend using PostgreSQL using a TLS server certificate, e.g.
postgresql://user:password@dbhost/govready_q?sslmode=verify-full&sslrootcert=/path/to/pgsql.crt (although you’ll have to figure out how to get the server certificate accessible via the container filesystem). (Default: Not set, which means using a Sqlite database stored in the container at
/usr/src/app/local/database.sqlite, which will be ephemeral if the path is not mounted to the host or a Docker volume.)
ORGANIZATION_PARENT_DOMAIN - If not set, GovReady-Q will be single-tenant and the database must be configured with a single organization whose subdomain is
main. If set, GovReady-Q will be multi-tenant, serving a landing page and organization-specific sites on different domain names. A landing/signup page and the Django
/admin site will be available at the domain name given in the
HOST environment variable and organization sites will be served at subdomains of the
ORGANIZATION_PARENT_DOMAIN domain name value. (Default: Not set).
EMAIL_DOMAIN - For enabling outbound email. The host, port, username, and password settings specify a TLS-enabled SMTP server.
EMAIL_DOMAIN is the domain name to use in outbound mail. (Default: Not set and outbound emails are dumped to logs for debugging.) To test the email configuration from the command-line, you can run
docker container exec -it govready-q python3.6 manage.py sendtestemail firstname.lastname@example.org. If email is configured, you should not see any output and you should get a test email.
FIRST_RUN - If set to
1, an administrator user will be created when the container launches and a randomly generated password will be given to the user and printed on the console, which will be visible in the container’s logs. An organization with subdomain
main will also be created.
PROCESSES - The number of concurrent requests that can be handled by the container. (Default: 4)
ADMINS - The Django ADMINS setting, passed as raw JSON. Example:
[["Admin Name 1", "email@example.com"], ["Admin Name 2", "firstname.lastname@example.org"]]. (Default: Empty list, i.e.
SYSLOG - The host and port of a syslog-compatible log message sink. (Default: None.)
MAILGUN_API_KEY - An API key for Mailgun which is used to validate incoming webhook requests from Mailgun when an incoming email is received, when Mailgun is configured to handle incoming mail. (Default: None)
BRANDING (downstream packaging only): You may override the templates and stylesheets that are used for GovReady-Q’s branding by setting this environment variable to the name of an installed Django app Python module (i.e. created using
manage.py startapp) that holds templates and static files. No such app is provided in the GovReady-Q published Docker image, so this variable can only be used by downstream image maintainers. See Applying Custom Organization Branding.
PROXY_AUTHENTICATION_EMAIL_HEADER: GovReady-Q can be deployed behind a reverse proxy that authenticates users and passes the authenticated user’s username and email address in HTTP headers. These environment variables correspond to the settings documented in Enterprise Login.
GovReady-Q’s unit tests can be run within the Docker container. After building the image:
docker container run --rm -it govready/govready-q:latest python3.6 manage.py test
Or once a Docker container running GovReady-Q is started (and named
exec to begin a shell within the container, and then launch the unit tests:
docker container exec -it govready-q bash python3.6 manage.py test guidedmodules
The functional tests run a headless Chromium web browser session and we have not yet figured out how to get this to work in our Docker container. Chromium’s process isolation capabilities seem to require special system privileges (i.e.
docker run --privileged --cap-add SYS_ADMIN) or Chromium command-line flags (
yum install -y chromium chromedriver python3.6 manage.py test ... selenium.common.exceptions.WebDriverException: Message: unknown error: Chrome failed to start: exited abnormally