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Bash Script for Nagios to Check Status of Docker Container
# Author: Erik Kristensen
# Email:
# License: MIT
# Nagios Usage: check_nrpe!check_docker_container!_container_id_
# Usage: ./ _container_id_
# Depending on your docker configuration, root might be required. If your nrpe user has rights
# to talk to the docker daemon, then root is not required. This is why root privileges are not
# checked.
# The script checks if a container is running.
# OK - running
# WARNING - restarting
# CRITICAL - stopped
# UNKNOWN - does not exist
# CHANGELOG - March 20, 2017
# - Removes Ghost State Check, Checks for Restarting State, Properly finds the Networking IP addresses
# - Returns unknown (exit code 3) if docker binary is missing, unable to talk to the daemon, or if container id is missing
if [ "x${CONTAINER}" == "x" ]; then
echo "UNKNOWN - Container ID or Friendly Name Required"
exit 3
if [ "x$(which docker)" == "x" ]; then
echo "UNKNOWN - Missing docker binary"
exit 3
docker info > /dev/null 2>&1
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo "UNKNOWN - Unable to talk to the docker daemon"
exit 3
RUNNING=$(docker inspect --format="{{.State.Running}}" $CONTAINER 2> /dev/null)
if [ $? -eq 1 ]; then
echo "UNKNOWN - $CONTAINER does not exist."
exit 3
if [ "$RUNNING" == "false" ]; then
echo "CRITICAL - $CONTAINER is not running."
exit 2
RESTARTING=$(docker inspect --format="{{.State.Restarting}}" $CONTAINER)
if [ "$RESTARTING" == "true" ]; then
echo "WARNING - $CONTAINER state is restarting."
exit 1
STARTED=$(docker inspect --format="{{.State.StartedAt}}" $CONTAINER)
NETWORK=$(docker inspect --format="{{range .NetworkSettings.Networks}}{{.IPAddress}}{{end}}" $CONTAINER)
echo "OK - $CONTAINER is running. IP: $NETWORK, StartedAt: $STARTED"

Pro, this is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

Thanks a lot ;)

wrenzi commented Jun 16, 2015

Nice gist, thanks.

Thanks a lot, great job.

Alino commented Jul 18, 2015

cool, thank you

l8nite commented Jul 19, 2015

Are ghosted containers still an issue? This thread seems to indicate they aren't

Thanks, just what I needed!

SpheMakh commented Nov 8, 2015


lightxu commented Nov 19, 2015

Awesome script, thank you :) docker inspect is a powerful command

💯 💯

How can i run this script without sudo?Because when i try to run this script via nagios user,it says does not exist and with sudo ./check_docker_container container_id command it works fine.Any suggestions?Thanks

michabbb commented Feb 2, 2016

when doing the ghost command, i get:

Template parsing error: template: :1:9: executing "" at <.State.Ghost>: Ghost is not a field of struct type *types.ContainerState

is this an error or a normal msg ? thanks !

BartJol commented Feb 23, 2016

I get the same error as michabb, (Docker version 1.9.1, build a34a1d5, on Ubuntu, Trusty Tahr 14.04.4 LTS), but when I issue the docker inspect command for the container I am using, the State.Ghost field does not exist. So I expect this is:
a. a State property that is just not in the container
b. a State property that is not included in the docker version
Neither give me any worries. But it would be nice to know which it is :)

I thought off option c: the property is only added in specific circumstances, that would be strange though, imho.

Ow the properties I do have are:
"State": {
"Status": "running",
"Running": true,
"Paused": false,
"Restarting": false,
"OOMKilled": false,
"Dead": false,
"Pid": 5667,
"ExitCode": 0,
"Error": "",
"StartedAt": "2016-02-23T11:44:17.338327578Z",
"FinishedAt": "0001-01-01T00:00:00Z"

A bit of a newbie in docker, but maybe Dead is a replacement for ghost, have to read more changelogs and manual pages.

Awesome, it helped me to write my own script. Good job.

since this comment, I've adopted this script with two modifications:

  1. It returns status UNKNOWN if the docker command is missing (instead of OK)
  2. I removed all the GHOST check code

hash docker 2>/dev/null || { echo "UNKNOWN - docker command not found"; exit 3; }

first of thanks for sharing.
Small comment:
Guys please be sure that when you run above script from nrpe i.e as nagios unprivileged user you have sudo rights for

docker inspect

Lost like an hour to discover why the scriprt didn't work through nrpe.

Added something like to top
# permissions
if [ "$(whoami)" != "root" ]; then
    echo "Root privileges are required to run this, try running with sudo..."
    exit 2

Thanks man, after 3 years it's still not outdated! 👍

ventz commented Nov 26, 2016

If you are using Docker 1.12+ and using the IP driver (direct,macvlan, etc) -- the way to get the IP address is:

NETWORK=$(docker inspect --format="{{range .NetworkSettings.Networks}}{{.IPAddress}}{{end}}" $CONTAINER)

That also works on the default networked containers, so it's probably a better way.

noxxer commented Dec 15, 2016

A slight improvement:

docker ps -q --filter "name=nginx" | awk '{print $1}' | xargs docker inspect --format="{{ .State.Status }}"

other ps filter options:
and inspect additional features :

Thanks a lot!!

2> /dev/null is what I needed after hours of searching. 🙇
Thank you!


ekristen commented Mar 20, 2017

I wasn't getting notifications on this! My apologies.

I've updated the script with most of the suggestions in the comments.

Please note, I'm not using this script anymore, but if needed I'll move this to a git repo so pull requests can be accepted.

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