Understanding Stack Configurations

  1. Basics
  2. Project configuration files
  3. Default stacks
  4. Configuration files loading order


Docksal relies on Docker Compose to launch groups of related containers. The yml files you use are Compose Files. Please read the documentation to understand their main sections.

Some containers and their parameters are required for Docksal to work properly. Please see Don’t break your Docksal setup! section.

You have to run fin project start (fin p start for short) to apply configuration changes. If you remove services or volumes you have to remove them with fin project rm [service].

Project Configuration Files


docksal.yml is a Compose file. It’s the main configuration file for a project and controls the settings for each service. Use it to modify settings that are needed for anyone that uses your project.

If you don’t have this file in your project folder, fin will load the default stack, this way providing a zero-configuration setup.

For more details on its role, check loading order.


docksal.env is an Environment file.

It is used to override some of the default environment variables, without the need for a full docksal.yml file (e.g., to override MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD) or to provide additional environment variables for your automation scripts (see custom commands).

docksal-local.yml, docksal-local.env

docksal-local.yml and docksal-local.env are used for additional customizations that happen after the main files are loaded. See loading order. A good example of their use is exposing custom ports or switching PHP versions.

These files are intended for local overrides. They should be added to .gitignore and never committed into a project repo. You can always include an example file in the repo, e.g., example.docksal-local.env, and instruct users to copy it and adjust as necessary.

Default Stacks

Docksal ships with a set of default configurations (stacks), which are yml files stored in $HOME/.docksal/stacks/. These files are a good reference when you begin creating a custom project configuration.

File name Description
volumes-*.yml Different bindings for Docker volumes. The default is volume-bind.yml. Always used for binding volumes.
services.yml Contains default service descriptions. Used for zero-configuration.
stack-default.yml The default stack with 3 services that inherits services.yml. Used for zero-configuration.
stack-default-static.yml Same configuration as stack-default.yml but does not inherit services.yml
stack-acquia.yml Acquia-like stack with Solr, Varnish and memcached

Do not change or customize existing default stacks.
Use the .docksal folder in your project to customize the project configuration.

Configuration Files Loading Order

With this swarm of configuration files, Docksal lets you configure a project in a way that works for you and your team. Just like Bash configuration files (/etc/profile, bashrc, bash_profile, bash_logout), they give the flexibility to configure a Docksal project in dozens of ways.

fin loads files in a certain order. Files loaded later override settings from the files loaded earlier. The list below goes from the earliest to the latest in this queue.

Loading order:

  1. $HOME/.docksal/stacks/volumes-*.yml - only volumes-bind.yml loads at the moment (volumes in Docksal)
  2. $HOME/.docksal/stacks/stack-*.yml - only loads if there is no docksal.yml in the project or if forced by setting the DOCKSAL_STACK variable in docksal.env
  3. docksal.yml - extends the stack if DOCKSAL_STACK is set in docksal.env or completely overrides it otherwise
  4. docksal.env - sets or modifies environment variables
  5. docksal-local.yml - extends the loaded stack or docksal.yml
  6. docksal-local.env - sets or modifies environment variables set previously

To see the files loaded for a particular project run fin config show.

Docksal Images and Versions

To see all Docker Hub images produced and supported by Docksal team run:

fin image registry

To get all tags of a certain image provide its name with the same command. For example:

fin image registry docksal/db