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Docker Spaces

Spaces accommodate custom Docker containers for apps outside the scope of Streamlit and Gradio. Docker Spaces allow users to go beyond the limits of what was previously possible with the standard SDKs. From FastAPI and Go endpoints to Phoenix apps and ML Ops tools, Docker Spaces can help in many different setups.

Setting up Docker Spaces

Selecting Docker as the SDK when creating a new Space will initialize your Space by setting the sdk property to docker in your file’s YAML block. Alternatively, given an existing Space repository, set sdk: docker inside the YAML block at the top of your Spaces file. You can also change the default exposed port 7860 by setting app_port: 7860. Afterwards, you can create a usual Dockerfile.

title: Basic Docker SDK Space
emoji: 🐳
colorFrom: purple
colorTo: gray
sdk: docker
app_port: 7860

Internally you could have as many open ports as you want. For instance, you can install Elasticsearch inside your Space and call it internally on its default port 9200.

If you want to expose apps served on multiple ports to the outside world, a workaround is to use a reverse proxy like Nginx to dispatch requests from the broader internet (on a single port) to different internal ports.

Secret Management


In Docker Spaces, the secrets management is different for security reasons. Once you create a secret in the Settings tab, you can expose the secret by adding the following line in your Dockerfile.

For example, if SECRET_EXAMPLE is the name of the secret you created in the Settings tab, you can read it at build time by mounting it to a file, then reading it with $(cat /run/secrets/SECRET_EXAMPLE).

See an example below:

# Expose the secret SECRET_EXAMPLE at buildtime and use its value as git remote URL
RUN --mount=type=secret,id=SECRET_EXAMPLE,mode=0444,required=true \
 git init && \
 git remote add origin $(cat /run/secrets/SECRET_EXAMPLE)
# Expose the secret SECRET_EXAMPLE at buildtime and use its value as a Bearer token for a curl request
RUN --mount=type=secret,id=SECRET_EXAMPLE,mode=0444,required=true \
	curl test -H 'Authorization: Bearer $(cat /run/secrets/SECRET_EXAMPLE)'


At runtime, you can access the secrets as environment variables. For example, in Python you would do os.environ.get("SECRET_EXAMPLE"). Check out this example of a Docker Space that uses secrets.


The container runs with user ID 1000. If you face permission issues, you might need to use chmod in your Dockerfile to grant the right permissions. For example, if you want to use the directory /data, you can do:

RUN mkdir -p /data
RUN chmod 777 /data

Alternatively, you can create a user and set the WORKDIR to the user’s home directory. This way, you can avoid user permission issues.

# Set up a new user named "user" with user ID 1000
RUN useradd -m -u 1000 user

# Switch to the "user" user
USER user

# Set home to the user's home directory
ENV HOME=/home/user \

# Set the working directory to the user's home directory

# Copy the current directory contents into the container at $HOME/app setting the owner to the user
COPY --chown=user . $HOME/app

Data Persistence

We don’t yet provide a built-in way to persist data in the Docker Spaces. However, we suggest using our Datasets Hub for specific cases, where you can store state and data in a git LFS repository. You can find an example of persistence here, which uses the huggingface_hub library for programmatically uploading files to a dataset repository.

In other cases, you might want to use an external storage solution from your Space’s code like an external hosted DB, S3, etc.

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