Running Flask Apps using Gunicorn+ +NGINX+Docker in in AWS EC2


Flask is a web framework for python that provides a simple interface for dynamically generating responses to web requests.

Docker is an open-source application that allows administrators to create, manage, deploy, and replicate applications using containers.

The purpose of this article is to provide step-by-step instructions for running a FLASK app integrated with gunicorn and NGINX running inside a single container hosted in AWS EC2 .


  • Flask — Python based web server backend

  • Gunicorn — Python WSGI HTTP Server for web applications.

  • NGINX —HTTP cache,load balancer, and reverse proxy server.

  • Docker — Tool designed to make it easier to create, deploy, and run applications by using containers

  • AWS EC2 — Linux machine in AWS to host the docker


  1. Update local packages in EC2

    sudo yum update -y

  2. Install Docker in EC2

    ** **sudo amazon-linux-extras install docker sudo service docker start sudo usermod -a -G docker ec2-user

Re-Login and verify the docker installation without using sudo

docker info

3. Directory Setup

Create a directory for flask app and config files

mkdir flask_docker
cd flask_docker

4. Create a simple Flask App

Simple flask application with default route.

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

def hello():
    return "<h1 style='color:blue'>Hello Flask and Docker!</h1>"

if __name__ == "__main__":

5. Python Dependencies

Create a requirements.txt file with all dependencies to the flask app


6. NGINX Config File

Create a file named nginx_config.conf with below configs.

server {
 listen 80;
 server_name <your dns>;
location / {
 proxy_pass [](;

7. Create Docker File

We now have all the required inputs to create a Docker file. The docker file will have commands to create a flask application docker image.

  • Install Python3

  • Install Flask

  • Install Gunicorn

  • Install Nginx

  • Gunicorn and Nginx configuration to serve flask application in port 80

#Linux Version
FROM amazonlinux:latest
RUN yum -y install which unzip aws-cli

# Install Python
RUN yum install -y amazon-linux-extras
RUN amazon-linux-extras install python3

# Install Nginx
RUN amazon-linux-extras install nginx1

# set working diretory
WORKDIR /flaskapp

# copy requirements.txt and install
COPY requirements.txt requirements.txt
RUN pip3 install -r requirements.txt

# Copy Flask application code
COPY nginx_config.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/virtual.conf


RUN chmod +x /

8. Build Docker Image

Create a docker image using the Dockerfile

docker build --tag flask_docker .

Running the above command should build a docker image with all instructions from Dockerfile

Docker Build ImageDocker Build Image

9. Run Docker Container in EC2

docker run --name flask_container -dit -p 80:80 flask_docker

10.** Verify the flask page in EC2 DNS**


Hello Flask and Docker!

That’s it. We now have a portable flask application integrated with gunicorn and Nginx running inside a single docker container. Sample code here.

Bonus: Docker Commands

Docker commands are explained in detail here. Here are some of the commands used in the article.

  1. Build a Docker Image

    docker build –tag .

  2. Run a Docker Container from Image

    docker run –name -dit -p

    C- Port running in docker container L - Port listening to external requests

    d -detach p - port i - Keep STDIN open even if not attached t- Allocate a pseudo-tty

  3. SSH to Running Docker

    docker exec -it flask_container bash

  4. List ,Stop and Remove Containers

    # Stop the running containers docker stop $(docker ps -a -q)

    # Remove stopped containers

    docker rm $(docker ps -a -q)

    # List images docker images

  5. Reload Nginx running in Docker

    docker exec -it nginx -s reload

  • FROM: Set the base image to use

  • RUN: Run command and commit the ending result (container) image

  • MAINTAINER: Set the author/owner data of the Dockerfile

  • USER: Set the user to run the containers from the image

  • ADD: Copy a file from the host into the container

  • CMD: Set default commands to be executed, or passed to the ENTRYPOINT

  • ENTRYPOINT: Set the default entrypoint application inside the container

  • ENV: Set environment variable (e.g. key = value)

  • EXPOSE: Expose a port to outside

  • WORKDIR: Set the directory for the directives of CMD to be executed

  • VOLUME: Mount a directory from the host to the container

Thanks for reading!