Running Neo4j in a Docker container

October 18, 2016
neo4j docker

Running Neo4j inside a Docker container is super-simple. In this short tutorial we will create a Docker configuration for Neo4j and create a default Neo4j configuration template for later tweaking.

Configuring Docker

First, we need a docker-compose.yml file. Create the file in your project root.

version: "2"

        image: neo4j:3.0
        mem_limit: 4096m
        restart: on_failure
            - "7474"
            - "7687"
            - ./data:/data
            - ./conf:/conf

This will create a Docker image with 4Gb of memory, that auto-restarts after a crash. Because we want to access Neo4j services, we have to expose ports 7474 (Rest API) and 7687 (Bolt protocol).

volumes gives us persistent storage of Neo4j database (/data) and configuration (/conf). Both directories are currently empty, but we will fix that shortly.

Building the image

With the docker-compose.yml file all ready, we just execute the following docker-compose command.

docker-compose build

That’s it. Our custom Docker container image is ready to be launched.

Dumping the default configuration

docker-compose run --rm neo dump-config

This command will spawn a container instance of neo image, defined in our docker-compose.yml file and run dump-config command inside that instance.

This is a special command, given to us by the folks from Neo4j that copies its configuration files to the /conf directory. After running this command you should see new files in your conf directory inside your project root on the host.

Configuring Neo4j

In the previous step, dump-config gave us a default template on which we will build upon. Files neo4j.conf and neo4j-wrapper.conf contain settings for the Neo4j server and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

For now, these default settings will be enough, as the details on this subject are beyond the scope of the tutorial.

You can look up futher information at

Launching Neo4j

We are now ready to launch an instance of Neo4j server.

docker-compose up

Give Neo4j a few seconds to load up then head to http://localhost:7474.