Home > Software > Docker Image Naming Conventions: Best Practices and Examples

Docker Image Naming Conventions: Best Practices and Examples

Anastasios Antoniadis

Master Docker image naming conventions with our essential guide. Learn best practices for naming Docker images to improve organization, version control, and collaboration in your containerized environments.

Docker (1)

Docker images are the cornerstone of Docker’s containerization technology, enabling the encapsulation of applications and their environments for easy deployment and scaling. As the adoption of Docker continues to rise across development and production environments, understanding and applying effective naming conventions for Docker images becomes crucial. This article explores the best practices for naming Docker images, providing clarity and consistency in your containerized ecosystem.

Understanding Docker Image Names

A Docker image name can be divided into several components:

  • Registry: The domain name of the Docker registry where the image is stored (e.g., docker.io for Docker Hub, gcr.io for Google Container Registry).
  • Username/Organization: The account or organization name under which the image is hosted within the registry.
  • Repository/Image Name: The name that identifies the image. It often reflects the application or environment the image contains.
  • Tag: A label applied to the image that usually indicates the version of the application or environment. If no tag is specified, Docker defaults to using the latest tag.

The general format for naming Docker images is:

[registry]/[username or organization]/[image name]:[tag]

Best Practices for Naming Docker Images

  1. Be Descriptive but Concise: Choose names that clearly indicate the image’s purpose or contents, but avoid overly long or complex names that are hard to remember or type.
  2. Use Lowercase Letters: Docker image names must be lowercase. Stick to lowercase to avoid errors and maintain consistency.
  3. Incorporate Version Numbers in Tags: Use tags to specify versions of your application or environment. This practice helps in maintaining different versions of the same image, aiding in rollback and testing across versions. For example, myapp:1.2.3.
  4. Utilize Hierarchical Names for Organization: For complex applications consisting of multiple services or components, consider using a hierarchical naming structure. For example, myorg/frontend:latest and myorg/backend:latest.
  5. Prefer Specific Tags Over latest: The latest tag can be misleading, as it does not necessarily refer to the most recent version of an image. Specify explicit versions or build numbers to avoid ambiguity.
  6. Include the Registry for Clarity: When sharing or documenting your Docker images, include the registry in the name. This practice eliminates confusion about where the image is hosted. For images hosted on Docker Hub, the registry name is optional and often omitted.


Here are a few examples demonstrating Docker image naming conventions:

  • Simple Application on Docker Hub:
    • myusername/myapp:2.0
  • Hierarchical Naming for Microservices:
    • myorg/service1:1.0.0
    • myorg/service2:2.2.1
  • Image Hosted on Google Container Registry:
    • gcr.io/myproject/myapp:latest

Naming Private and Internal Images

For private or internal images that are not intended to be publicly available, you might adopt a naming convention that includes environment or project-specific identifiers. For example:

  • internal-registry.example.com/projectx/staging/frontend:1.2.3
  • docker-registry.mycompany.com/devops/ci-runner:2020.04


Adopting a thoughtful and consistent approach to naming Docker images not only enhances clarity and organization but also facilitates better automation and collaboration within teams. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can ensure that your Docker images are easily identifiable, version-controlled, and aligned with your deployment strategies. Remember, the goal is to strike a balance between descriptive clarity and simplicity, ensuring that your image names serve your operational and developmental needs effectively.

Anastasios Antoniadis
Follow me
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x