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Getting Started with Podman

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Getting Started with Podman

Podman is a utility provided as part of the libpod library. It can be used to create and maintain containers. The following tutorial will teach you how to set up Podman and perform some basic commands.

Podman Documentation

The documentation for Podman is located here.

Installing Podman

For installing or building Podman, please see the installation instructions.

Familiarizing yourself with Podman

The code samples are intended to be run as a non-root user, and use sudo where root escalation is required.

Getting help

To get some help and find out how Podman is working, you can use the help:

$ podman --help
$ podman <subcommand> --help

For more details, you can review the manpages:

$ man podman
$ man podman-<subcommand>

Please also reference the Podman Troubleshooting Guide to find known issues and tips on how to solve common configuration mistakes.

Searching, pulling & listing images

Podman can search for images on remote registries with some simple keywords.

$ podman search <search_term>

You can also enhance your search with filters:

$ podman search httpd --filter=is-official

Downloading (Pulling) an image is easy, too.

$ podman pull

After pulling some images, you can list all images, present on your machine.

$ podman images

Note: Podman searches in different registries. Therefore it is recommend to use the full image name ( instead of httpd) to ensure, that you are using the correct image.

Running a container

This sample container will run a very basic httpd server that serves only its index page.

$ podman run -dt -p 8080:80/tcp

Note: Because the container is being run in detached mode, represented by the -d in the podman run command, Podman will print the container ID after it has executed the command. The -t also adds a pseudo-tty to run arbitrary commands in an interactive shell.

Note: We use port forwarding to be able to access the HTTP server. For successful running at least slirp4netns v0.3.0 is needed.

Listing running containers

The podman ps command is used to list created and running containers.

$ podman ps

Note: If you add -a to the podman ps command, Podman will show all containers (created, exited, running, etc.).

Testing the httpd container

As you are able to see, the container does not have an IP Address assigned. The container is reachable via it's published port on your local machine.

$ curl http://localhost:8080

From another machine, you need to use the IP Address of the host, running the container.

$ curl http://<IP_Address>:8080

Note: Instead of using curl, you can also point a browser to http://localhost:8080.

Inspecting a running container

You can "inspect" a running container for metadata and details about itself. podman inspect will provide lots of useful information like environment variables, network settings or allocated resources.

Since, the container is running in rootless mode, no IP Address is assigned to the container.

$ podman inspect -l | grep IPAddress
"IPAddress": "",

Note: The -l is a convenience argument for latest container. You can also use the container's ID or name instead of -l or the long argument --latest.

Note: If you are running remote Podman client, including Mac and Windows (excluding WSL2) machines, -l option is not available.

Viewing the container's logs

You can view the container's logs with Podman as well:

$ podman logs -l - - [04/May/2020:08:33:48 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 45 - - [04/May/2020:08:33:50 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 45 - - [04/May/2020:08:33:51 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 45 - - [04/May/2020:08:33:51 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 45 - - [04/May/2020:08:33:52 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 45 - - [04/May/2020:08:33:52 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 45

Viewing the container's pids

You can observe the httpd pid in the container with podman top.

$ podman top -l

root 1 0 0.000 22m13.33281018s pts/0 0s httpd -DFOREGROUND
daemon 3 1 0.000 22m13.333132179s pts/0 0s httpd -DFOREGROUND
daemon 4 1 0.000 22m13.333276305s pts/0 0s httpd -DFOREGROUND
daemon 5 1 0.000 22m13.333818476s pts/0 0s httpd -DFOREGROUND

Stopping the container

You may stop the container:

$ podman stop -l

You can check the status of one or more containers using the podman ps command. In this case, you should use the -a argument to list all containers.

$ podman ps -a

Removing the container

Finally, you can remove the container:

$ podman rm -l

You can verify the deletion of the container by running podman ps -a.


For a more detailed guide about Networking and DNS in containers, please see the network guide.

Checkpoint, Migration and Restoring containers

Checkpointing a container stops the container while writing the state of all processes in the container to disk. With this, a container can later be migrated and restored, running at exactly the same point in time as the checkpoint. For more details, see the checkpoint instructions.

Integration Tests

For more information on how to setup and run the integration tests in your environment, checkout the Integration Tests

Podman Python Documentation

The documentation for the Podman Python SDK is located here.

More information

For more information on Podman and its subcommands, checkout the asciiart demos on the page.