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How to Fix the Docker “Missing Signature Key” Error: A Step-by-Step Guide

Anastasios Antoniadis

“Learn how to resolve the ‘missing signature key’ error in Docker with our step-by-step guide. Discover how to securely add the GPG key, configure the Docker repository, and install Docker on various Linux distributions, ensuring a secure and smooth Docker setup.”

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When working with Docker, errors are encountered during the development and deployment process. One such issue that can arise is the “missing signature key” error. This error typically occurs when trying to add a new repository or update Docker, and the system cannot verify the source due to a missing GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) key. This key is essential for ensuring the installed packages’ integrity and authenticity. This article will guide you through resolving this issue and ensuring a secure Docker environment.

Understanding the “Missing Signature Key” Error

The “missing signature key” error indicates that your package manager (like APT for Ubuntu or YUM for CentOS) is unable to verify the Docker packages you’re attempting to install or update because the GPG key for the Docker repository is not added to your system. GPG keys are a security measure that helps prevent unauthorized or malicious code from being added to your system under the guise of legitimate software.

Step 1: Retrieve the Missing GPG Key

The first step in resolving the “missing signature key” error is to retrieve the GPG key for the Docker repository. Docker provides an official GPG key to ensure the packages you download and install are authentic.

For Ubuntu and Debian Systems

You can add the Docker GPG key to your system using the following command:

curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | sudo apt-key add -

Replace ubuntu in the URL with debian if you’re using Debian. This command downloads the key and adds it to your system’s list of trusted keys.

For CentOS, Fedora, and RHEL Systems

For RPM-based systems, use the following command to add the Docker GPG key:

sudo rpm --import https://download.docker.com/linux/centos/gpg

Replace centos in the URL with fedora or rhel as appropriate for your distribution.

Step 2: Add the Docker Repository

After adding the GPG key, ensure the Docker repository is correctly added to your system. This repository contains the Docker packages you need to install.

For Ubuntu and Debian Systems

sudo add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu $(lsb_release -cs) stable"

This command adds the official Docker repository to your system’s software sources.

For CentOS, Fedora, and RHEL Systems

For RPM-based systems, Docker’s repository can be added by creating a .repo file under /etc/yum.repos.d/. For example, for CentOS:

sudo tee /etc/yum.repos.d/docker-ce.repo <<-'EOF'
name=Docker CE Stable - $basearch

Adjust the baseurl accordingly for your specific distribution and version.

Step 3: Update Package Lists and Install Docker

Once the GPG key is added and the repository is set up, update your package manager’s database to recognize the newly added repository and its GPG key.

For Ubuntu and Debian Systems

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli containerd.io

For CentOS, Fedora, and RHEL Systems

sudo yum makecache fast sudo yum install docker-ce docker-ce-cli containerd.io

Step 4: Verify the Installation

After installation, verify that Docker is correctly installed and the “missing signature key” error is resolved by running:

docker --version

This command should return the version of Docker installed on your system, indicating that Docker is now properly installed and the GPG key issue has been resolved.


The “missing signature key” error in Docker is a common issue related to the security verification of Docker packages. By carefully adding the GPG key and ensuring the Docker repository is correctly configured, you can resolve this error and maintain the integrity of your Docker installations. Always use official sources and keys to protect your system and data.

Anastasios Antoniadis
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