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The Elastic stack (ELK) powered by Docker and Compose.

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Elastic stack (ELK) on Docker

Elastic Stack version Build Status Join the chat at

Run the latest version of the Elastic stack with Docker and Docker Compose.

It gives you the ability to analyze any data set by using the searching/aggregation capabilities of Elasticsearch and the visualization power of Kibana.

:information_source: The Docker images backing this stack include X-Pack with paid features enabled by default (see How to disable paid features to disable them). *The trial license is valid for 30 days*. After this license expires, you can continue using the free features seamlessly, without losing any data.

Based on the official Docker images from Elastic:

Other available stack variants:

  • tls
    : TLS encryption enabled in Elasticsearch.
  • searchguard
    : Search Guard support


We aim at providing the simplest possible entry into the Elastic stack for anybody who feels like experimenting with this powerful combo of technologies. This project's default configuration is purposely minimal and unopinionated. It does not rely on any external dependency or custom automation to get things up and running.

Instead, we believe in good documentation so that you can use this repository as a template, tweak it, and make it your own. sherifabdlnaby/elastdocker is one example among others of project that builds upon this idea.


  1. Requirements
  2. Usage
  3. Configuration
  4. Extensibility
  5. JVM tuning
  6. Going further


Host setup

:information_source: Especially on Linux, make sure your user has the required permissions to interact with the Docker daemon.

By default, the stack exposes the following ports:

  • 5044: Logstash Beats input
  • 5000: Logstash TCP input
  • 9600: Logstash monitoring API
  • 9200: Elasticsearch HTTP
  • 9300: Elasticsearch TCP transport
  • 5601: Kibana

:warning: Elasticsearch's bootstrap checks were purposely disabled to facilitate the setup of the Elastic stack in development environments. For production setups, we recommend users to set up their host according to the instructions from the Elasticsearch documentation: Important System Configuration.


On distributions which have SELinux enabled out-of-the-box you will need to either re-context the files or set SELinux into Permissive mode in order for docker-elk to start properly. For example on Redhat and CentOS, the following will apply the proper context:

$ chcon -R system_u:object_r:admin_home_t:s0 docker-elk/

Docker Desktop


If you are using the legacy Hyper-V mode of Docker Desktop for Windows, ensure File Sharing is enabled for the



The default configuration of Docker Desktop for Mac allows mounting files from

exclusively. Make sure the repository is cloned in one of those locations or follow the instructions from the documentation to add more locations.


Version selection

This repository tries to stay aligned with the latest version of the Elastic stack. The

branch tracks the current major version (7.x).

To use a different version of the core Elastic components, simply change the version number inside the

file. If you are upgrading an existing stack, please carefully read the note in the next section.

:warning: Always pay attention to the official upgrade instructions for each individual component before performing a stack upgrade.

Older major versions are also supported on separate branches:

Bringing up the stack

Clone this repository onto the Docker host that will run the stack, then start services locally using Docker Compose:

$ docker-compose up

You can also run all services in the background (detached mode) by adding the

flag to the above command.

:warning: You must rebuild the stack images with

docker-compose build
whenever you switch branch or update the version of an already existing stack.

If you are starting the stack for the very first time, please read the section below attentively.


Elasticsearch data is persisted inside a volume by default.

In order to entirely shutdown the stack and remove all persisted data, use the following Docker Compose command:

$ docker-compose down -v

Initial setup

Setting up user authentication

:information_source: Refer to How to disable paid features to disable authentication.

The stack is pre-configured with the following privileged bootstrap user:

  • user: elastic
  • password: changeme

Although all stack components work out-of-the-box with this user, we strongly recommend using the unprivileged built-in users instead for increased security.

  1. Initialize passwords for built-in users

    $ docker-compose exec -T elasticsearch bin/elasticsearch-setup-passwords auto --batch

    Passwords for all 6 built-in users will be randomly generated. Take note of them.

  2. Unset the bootstrap password (optional)

    Remove the

    environment variable from the
    service inside the Compose file (
    ). It is only used to initialize the keystore during the initial startup of Elasticsearch.
  3. Replace usernames and passwords in configuration files

    Use the

    user (
    for releases <7.8.0) inside the Kibana configuration file (
    ) and the
    user inside the Logstash configuration file (
    ) in place of the existing

    Replace the password for the

    user inside the Logstash pipeline file (

    :informationsource: Do not use the `logstashsystem` user inside the Logstash *pipeline** file, it does not have sufficient permissions to create indices. Follow the instructions at Configuring Security in Logstash to create a user with suitable roles.*

    See also the Configuration section below.

  4. Restart Kibana and Logstash to apply changes

    $ docker-compose restart kibana logstash

    :information_source: Learn more about the security of the Elastic stack at Secure the Elastic Stack.

Injecting data

Give Kibana about a minute to initialize, then access the Kibana web UI by opening http://localhost:5601 in a web browser and use the following credentials to log in:

  • user: elastic
  • password: <your generated elastic password>

Now that the stack is running, you can go ahead and inject some log entries. The shipped Logstash configuration allows you to send content via TCP:

# Using BSD netcat (Debian, Ubuntu, MacOS system, ...)
$ cat /path/to/logfile.log | nc -q0 localhost 5000
# Using GNU netcat (CentOS, Fedora, MacOS Homebrew, ...)
$ cat /path/to/logfile.log | nc -c localhost 5000

You can also load the sample data provided by your Kibana installation.

Default Kibana index pattern creation

When Kibana launches for the first time, it is not configured with any index pattern.

Via the Kibana web UI

:information_source: You need to inject data into Logstash before being able to configure a Logstash index pattern via the Kibana web UI.

Navigate to the Discover view of Kibana from the left sidebar. You will be prompted to create an index pattern. Enter

to match Logstash indices then, on the next page, select
as the time filter field. Finally, click Create index pattern and return to the Discover view to inspect your log entries.

Refer to Connect Kibana with Elasticsearch and Creating an index pattern for detailed instructions about the index pattern configuration.

On the command line

Create an index pattern via the Kibana API:

$ curl -XPOST -D- 'http://localhost:5601/api/saved_objects/index-pattern' \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -H 'kbn-version: 7.15.0' \
    -u elastic: \
    -d '{"attributes":{"title":"logstash-*","timeFieldName":"@timestamp"}}'

The created pattern will automatically be marked as the default index pattern as soon as the Kibana UI is opened for the first time.


:information_source: Configuration is not dynamically reloaded, you will need to restart individual components after any configuration change.

How to configure Elasticsearch

The Elasticsearch configuration is stored in


You can also specify the options you want to override by setting environment variables inside the Compose file:


environment: _non_loopback_ my-cluster

Please refer to the following documentation page for more details about how to configure Elasticsearch inside Docker containers: Install Elasticsearch with Docker.

How to configure Kibana

The Kibana default configuration is stored in


It is also possible to map the entire

directory instead of a single file.

Please refer to the following documentation page for more details about how to configure Kibana inside Docker containers: Install Kibana with Docker.

How to configure Logstash

The Logstash configuration is stored in


It is also possible to map the entire

directory instead of a single file, however you must be aware that Logstash will be expecting a
file for its own logging.

Please refer to the following documentation page for more details about how to configure Logstash inside Docker containers: Configuring Logstash for Docker.

How to disable paid features

Switch the value of Elasticsearch's

option from
(see License settings).

How to scale out the Elasticsearch cluster

Follow the instructions from the Wiki: Scaling out Elasticsearch

How to reset a password programmatically

If for any reason your are unable to use Kibana to change the password of your users (including built-in users), you can use the Elasticsearch API instead and achieve the same result.

In the example below, we reset the password of the

user (notice "/user/elastic" in the URL):
$ curl -XPOST -D- 'http://localhost:9200/_security/user/elastic/_password' \
    -H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
    -u elastic: \
    -d '{"password" : ""}'


How to add plugins

To add plugins to any ELK component you have to:

  1. Add a
    statement to the corresponding
    RUN logstash-plugin install logstash-filter-json
  2. Add the associated plugin code configuration to the service configuration (eg. Logstash input/output)
  3. Rebuild the images using the
    docker-compose build

How to enable the provided extensions

A few extensions are available inside the

directory. These extensions provide features which are not part of the standard Elastic stack, but can be used to enrich it with extra integrations.

The documentation for these extensions is provided inside each individual subdirectory, on a per-extension basis. Some of them require manual changes to the default ELK configuration.

JVM tuning

How to specify the amount of memory used by a service

By default, both Elasticsearch and Logstash start with 1/4 of the total host memory allocated to the JVM Heap Size.

The startup scripts for Elasticsearch and Logstash can append extra JVM options from the value of an environment variable, allowing the user to adjust the amount of memory that can be used by each component:

| Service | Environment variable | |---------------|----------------------| | Elasticsearch | ESJAVAOPTS | | Logstash | LSJAVAOPTS |

To accomodate environments where memory is scarce (Docker for Mac has only 2 GB available by default), the Heap Size allocation is capped by default to 256MB per service in the

file. If you want to override the default JVM configuration, edit the matching environment variable(s) in the

For example, to increase the maximum JVM Heap Size for Logstash:


environment: LS_JAVA_OPTS: -Xmx1g -Xms1g

How to enable a remote JMX connection to a service

As for the Java Heap memory (see above), you can specify JVM options to enable JMX and map the JMX port on the Docker host.

Update the

environment variable with the following content (I've mapped the JMX service on the port 18080, you can change that). Do not forget to update the
option with the IP address of your Docker host (replace DOCKERHOSTIP):

environment: LS_JAVA_OPTS: -Djava.rmi.server.hostname=DOCKER_HOST_IP

Going further

Plugins and integrations

See the following Wiki pages:

Swarm mode

Experimental support for Docker Swarm mode is provided in the form of a

file, which can be deployed in an existing Swarm cluster using the following command:
$ docker stack deploy -c docker-stack.yml elk

If all components get deployed without any error, the following command will show 3 running services:

$ docker stack services elk

:information_source: To scale Elasticsearch in Swarm mode, configure seed hosts with the DNS name

instead of

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