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How to Fix the “No Configuration File Provided” Error in Docker Compose

Anastasios Antoniadis

Learn how to resolve the “No Configuration File Provided” error in Docker Compose with our step-by-step guide.

Docker (1)

Docker is a powerful platform that allows developers to package applications into containers, making them portable and easy to deploy across different environments. However, like any complex tool, Docker sometimes presents users with perplexing errors. One such error is when Docker reports that no configuration file was provided or it cannot find the specified configuration file. This error can halt your workflow, preventing you from deploying or managing your containers. This article will guide you through understanding and resolving this issue, ensuring your Docker projects run smoothly.

Understanding the Error

The “no configuration file provided” or “not found” error in Docker usually occurs under a few specific circumstances:

  1. Docker Compose Usage: When using Docker Compose, this error can appear if the docker-compose.yml file is missing, named incorrectly, or located in a directory from which Docker Compose is not running.
  2. Docker Run Command: This error might surface for Docker run commands if Docker cannot locate the specified configuration files or environment files referenced in the command.
  3. Invalid Paths or Permissions: Incorrect file paths or insufficient permissions can prevent Docker from accessing the required configuration files.

How to Fix the Error

Resolving this error involves checking a few key areas where things might have gone wrong. Here are some steps to troubleshoot and fix the issue:

1. Verify the Existence and Location of the Configuration File

Ensure that your docker-compose.yml file or any other configuration files referenced by Docker commands actually exist and are located in the correct directory. If you’re using Docker Compose, run the docker-compose command in the directory where your docker-compose.yml file resides.

2. Check the Filename and Format

Docker Compose looks for a file named docker-compose.yml by default. Ensure your file is named correctly and adheres to the YAML format. Typos or using an unsupported format can cause Docker not to recognize the file.

3. Review Docker Compose and Docker Run Commands

If you’re manually specifying a configuration file with the -f or --file option in Docker Compose or reference configuration files in Docker run commands double-check the paths and filenames for accuracy.

4. Check File Permissions

Docker needs appropriate permissions to read the configuration files. Ensure that the files are readable by the user running the Docker command. You can adjust file permissions using the chmod command on Linux or macOS.

5. Use Absolute Paths

When referencing files, use absolute paths to avoid confusion about the file location. This is particularly useful when mounting volumes or referencing external configuration files in Docker commands.

6. Validate the YAML File

If your Docker Compose file is in place and named correctly, validate the YAML syntax. Online YAML validators can help you identify and fix issues with the file structure or syntax errors.

7. Update Docker and Docker Compose

Ensure you’re running the latest versions of Docker and Docker Compose. Older versions might have bugs or lack the features to parse and properly use your configuration files.


The “no configuration file provided” or “not found” error in Docker can stem from various issues, from simple typos to incorrect file permissions. By methodically checking the file existence, location, naming, permissions, and syntax, you can resolve this error and get back to deploying and managing your Docker containers efficiently. Attention to detail is key when working with Docker, as even small misconfigurations can lead to significant headaches.

Anastasios Antoniadis
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