Trapping signals in Docker containers


process.on('SIGTERM', function() {
console.log('shutting down...');

Signals in Docker

Usage: docker kill [OPTIONS] CONTAINER [CONTAINER...]

Kill a running container using SIGKILL or a specified signal

-s, --signal="KILL" Signal to send to the container
'use strict';var http = require('http');var server = http.createServer(function (req, res) {
res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
res.end('Hello World\n');
}).listen(3000, '');
console.log('server started');var signals = {
'SIGINT': 2,
function shutdown(signal, value) {
server.close(function () {
console.log('server stopped by ' + signal);
process.exit(128 + value);
Object.keys(signals).forEach(function (signal) {
process.on(signal, function () {
shutdown(signal, signals[signal]);

Application is the foreground process (PID1)

FROM iojs:onbuild

COPY ./program.js ./program.js
COPY ./package.json ./package.json


ENTRYPOINT ["node", "program"]
$ docker build -t signal-fg-app .
$ docker run -it --rm -p 3000:3000 --name="signal-fg-app" signal-fg-app
$ docker kill --signal="SIGTERM" signal-fg-app
$ docker stop signal-fg-app
server stopped by SIGTERM

Application is the background process (not PID1)

FROM iojs:onbuild

COPY ./program.js ./program.js
COPY ./ ./
COPY ./package.json ./package.json

RUN chmod +x ./


#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -x


# SIGUSR1-handler
my_handler() {
echo "my_handler"

# SIGTERM-handler
term_handler() {
if [ $pid -ne 0 ]; then
kill -SIGTERM "$pid"
wait "$pid"
exit 143; # 128 + 15 -- SIGTERM

# setup handlers
# on callback, kill the last background process, which is `tail -f /dev/null` and execute the specified handler
trap 'kill ${!}; my_handler' SIGUSR1
trap 'kill ${!}; term_handler' SIGTERM

# run application
node program &

# wait forever
while true
tail -f /dev/null & wait ${!}
docker build -t signal-bg-app .
docker run -it --rm -p 3000:3000 --name="signal-bg-app" signal-bg-app
docker kill --signal="SIGUSR1" signal-bg-app
docker kill --signal="SIGTERM" signal-bg-app



  1. Overview of signals
  2. Michael Kerrisk (2010), The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook. No Starch Press




Software Developer

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Grigorii Chudnov

Grigorii Chudnov

Software Developer

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