Quick Start on Docker

Quick Start instructions to install and configure Istio in a Docker Compose setup.


Installation steps

  1. Go to the Istio release page to download the installation file corresponding to your OS. If you are using a MacOS or Linux system, you can also run the following command to download and extract the latest release automatically:
    curl -L https://git.io/getLatestIstio | sh -
  2. Extract the installation file and change the directory to the file location. The installation directory contains:
    • Sample applications in samples/
    • The istioctl client binary in the bin/ directory. istioctl is used for creating routing rules and policies.
    • The istio.VERSION configuration file
  3. Add the istioctl client to your PATH. For example, run the following command on a MacOS or Linux system:

    export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH
  4. For Linux users, configure the DOCKER_GATEWAY environment variable

    export DOCKER_GATEWAY=
  5. Change directory to the root of the Istio installation directory.

  6. Bring up the Istio control plane containers:

    docker-compose -f install/consul/istio.yaml up -d
  7. Confirm that all docker containers are running:

    docker ps -a

    If the Istio Pilot container terminates, ensure that you run the istioctl context-create command and re-run the command from the previous step.

  8. Configure istioctl to use mapped local port for the Istio API server:

    istioctl context-create --api-server http://localhost:8080

Deploy your application

You can now deploy your own application or one of the sample applications provided with the installation like Bookinfo.

Note 1: Since there is no concept of pods in a Docker setup, the Istio sidecar runs in the same container as the application. We will use Registrator to automatically register instances of services in the Consul service registry.

Note 2: the application must use HTTP/1.1 or HTTP/2.0 protocol for all its HTTP traffic because HTTP/1.0 is not supported.

docker-compose -f <your-app-spec>.yaml up -d


  1. Uninstall Istio core components by removing the docker containers:
docker-compose -f install/consul/istio.yaml down

What’s next