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Docker Compose, Traefik 1.7 + Lets Encrypt

If you’ve ever configured Docker + Nginx + Lets Encrypt before, it takes some time. Tools like Certbot have made this process easier, but they are not without flaws, especially when deploying to a docker environment. Traefik makes it a cinch.

Maintaining nginx configurations as well as SSL certificates is doable. Deploying a new container to a domain and getting that configured with SSL can take a bit of time but it is by no means impossible. For each deployed site, you need to have a site.conf nginx file and several more files for nginx certificates. All of these files need to be deployed in the nginx container and mounted to the host machine so when the container is rebuilt you do not lose your certificates. Check out my post on configuring lets encrypt with nginx using docker if you really want to find out.

With Traefik, there is one traefik.toml configuration file, and one json file, defaulted to acme.json that needs to be mounted. With these two files, you can effectively deploy n number of secured sites.

Traefik Container

The Traefik container is pretty simple to deploy. This is the only container that we need to mount to the filesystem to maintain our SSL certificates.

    restart: always
    image: traefik:1.7
      - "--api"
      - "--entrypoints=Name:http Address::80 Redirect.EntryPoint:https"
      - "--entrypoints=Name:https Address::443 TLS"
      - "--defaultentrypoints=http,https"
      - "--acme"
      - "--acme.storage=/etc/traefik/acme/acme.json"
      - "--acme.entryPoint=https"
      - "--acme.httpChallenge.entryPoint=http"
      - "--acme.onHostRule=true"
      - "--acme.onDemand=false"
      - "--acme.email=jason@raimondi.us"
      - "--docker"
      - "--docker.watch"
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro
      - ./traefik/acme:/etc/traefik/acme
     - "80:80"
     - "443:443"

Deploying a Secure Site

The magic of Traefik is done through labels.

      - "traefik.enable=true"
      - "traefik.port=5000"
      - "traefik.frontend.rule=Host:containers.jasonraimondi.com"
  • traefik.enable : will the site be available through the load balancer.
  • traefik.port: the port the load balancer needs to connect to the application on (and Express.js application would be typically be port 3000).
  • traefik.frontend.rule: the domain to host the site on, this value can be a comma separated list of multiple domains.
    restart: always
    image: registry:2
      - /mnt/data/registry/registry:/var/lib/registry
      - /mnt/data/registry/data:/data
      - "traefik.enable=true"
      - "traefik.port=5000"
      - "traefik.frontend.rule=Host:containers.jasonraimondi.com"

Once you have the configuration traefik.toml and the Traefik container ports exposed, just add more containers with labels and watch the magic. It takes about 10 seconds after booting the new containers to get your initial certificates. Subsequent boots will be near instantaneous.

Auto Renewing Certificates

Traefik maintains the auto renewing of the Lets Encrypt certificates, so you can sit back and not have to worry.


A example of Traefik WITH Lets Encrypt can be viewed here.

A simple example of Traefik WITHOUT Lets Encrypt can be viewed here.