macos linux windows Docker

Docker provides an isolated container to run applications.

  1. If you do not have Docker installed, follow the Docker installation instructions for your system here:

    If you are using Linux, we strongly recommend you also create a Docker group to manage Docker as a non-root user. See instructions on the Docker website:

  2. Create a directory or change into a directory that you want to use for your project.

mkdir my_nest_scripts
cd my_nest_scripts


You can use the docker images directly out of like this:

docker pull

TAG can be a version of NEST 2.20.2 or later. Alternatively, you can use dev for the development branch (master).

NEST 3.2 and later

As of NEST 3.2, you can use the docker-compose feature.

To use ‘docker-compose’ you need the definition file from the git repository. Download it:


You can then run docker-compose up with one of the following options:

  • NEST server

docker-compose up nest-server


docker run -it --rm -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=nest-server -p 52425:52425 /<version>

Starts the NEST API server container and opens the corresponding port 52425. Test it with curl localhost:52425/api. See the NEST Server documentation for more details.

  • NEST desktop

docker-compose up nest-desktop


docker run -it --rm -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=nest-server -p 52425:52425 /<version>
docker run -it --rm -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -p 8000:8000  /
    -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=nest-desktop<version>

Starts the NEST server and the NEST desktop web interface. Port 8000 is also made available. Open NEST Desktop in the web browser using the following http link: http://localhost:8000

Visit the NEST Desktop documentation to learn more.

  • Jupyter notebook with NEST

docker-compose up nest-notebook


docker run -it --rm -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -v $(pwd):/opt/data -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=notebook /
    -p 8080:8080<version>

Starts a notebook server with pre-installed NEST. The corresponding URL is displayed in the console. You can copy an d paste into your browser.

  • Jupyter lab with NEST

docker-compose up nest-jupyterlab


docker run -it --rm -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -v $(pwd):/opt/data -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=jupyterlab /
    -p 8080:8080<version>)

Starts a Jupyter lab server with pre-installed NEST. The corresponding URL is displayed in the console. Copy and paste the URL into your browser.

To stop and delete running containers use docker-compose down.

To run NEST 2.20.2

Jupyter notebook with NEST 2.20.2:

docker run -it --rm -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -v $(pwd):/opt/data -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=notebook /
           -p 8080:8080

Jupyter lab with NEST 2.20.2

docker run -it --rm -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -v $(pwd):/opt/data -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=jupyterlab /
           -p 8080:8080

NEST dev

If you want to use the compose configuration for the dev NEST version, you can use the following file option:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-dev.yml up nest-notebook

On Windows


The following commands should work on Windows. Please note that NEST does not officially support Windows!

docker run -it --rm -v %cd%:/opt/data -p 8080:8080 -e NEST_CONTAINER_MODE=<args> /<version>

In Powershell, ‘%cd%’ might not work for the current directory. Then you should explicitly specify a folder with existing write permissions.

In any case, this will download the docker image with the pre-installed NEST master from and start it. After booting an URL is presented. Click on it or copy it to your browser. Voilá Jupyter notebook starts from the docker image.

You can update the image with:

docker pull<version>

For more information, you can checkout the nest-docker repository