Troubleshooting Docker: Ensuring It Starts Automatically

Docker is a powerful tool for managing containers, but sometimes it doesn’t start automatically on boot, causing inconvenience and downtime. This blog post will guide you through the steps to ensure Docker starts automatically, along with troubleshooting tips.

Understanding the Issue

Docker not starting automatically could be due to various reasons, including configuration issues or missing service enablement. Here, we’ll focus on enabling the Docker service to start on boot and verifying its status.

Steps to Enable Docker to Start on Boot

  1. Check Docker Status: Before making any changes, it’s important to check the current status of the Docker service.
sudo systemctl status docker

This command will display the current state of Docker. If it shows as inactive or failed, you’ll need to start it manually.

  1. Enable Docker Service: To ensure Docker starts automatically on boot, you need to enable the Docker service.
sudo systemctl enable docker

This command creates a symbolic link that ensures Docker starts automatically whenever the system is rebooted.
3. Start Docker Service: If Docker is not currently running, start the service manually.

sudo systemctl start docker

After starting the service, verify its status again to ensure it’s running.

sudo systemctl status docker
  1. Verify Docker Configuration: Sometimes, Docker’s configuration might be incorrect or incomplete. Ensure that the Docker service is correctly configured to start on boot by checking the service file.
sudo systemctl cat docker

This command will display the service configuration. Look for lines indicating the service should start on boot, such as

  1. Reboot and Verify: After enabling and starting Docker, it’s a good idea to reboot your system to ensure everything is set up correctly.
sudo reboot

Once the system is back up, check the status of Docker again to confirm it’s running automatically.

sudo systemctl status docker

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check Logs: If Docker fails to start, checking the logs can provide insights into the issue.
sudo journalctl -u docker

This command will display logs related to the Docker service, helping you diagnose any issues.

  • Inspect Docker Configuration: Ensure there are no syntax errors or misconfigurations in Docker’s configuration files, typically located in /etc/docker/.

  • Review Dependencies: Docker might depend on other services. Ensure that all dependencies are correctly installed and configured.


For additional assistance, you can update Docker and Docker Compose using BigBearScripts:


Ensuring Docker starts automatically on boot is crucial for maintaining a reliable container environment. By following these steps, you can enable Docker to start on boot and troubleshoot any issues that arise. Regularly checking the status and logs of the Docker service can help you stay ahead of potential problems and ensure smooth operation.