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In DevOps Last updated: September 18, 2023
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Docker Containers have helped developers in many ways. The benefits of containerization include better collaboration, cost-effectiveness, mobility, and the ability to test/deploy an application quickly.

Given that there are so many valuable benefits, many services depend on Docker containers.

With the increasing reliance on technology, it is equally important to manage the Docker Containers.

Yes, even if you use the best Docker hosting platforms, you need effective tools to manage them.

Here, we focus on some simple and effective CLI tools to help you monitor and manage a Docker container.

Maintaining Docker Containers Using CLI Tools

Even though Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are available, many administrators still prefer the command line or terminal (CLI).

But, why?

Generally, a GUI evolves and can change how it works/where the options exist.

In contrast, a CLI doesn’t receive any drastic change that resets the learning curve. So, once you are used to the CLI, you do not have to worry much about its updates.

A CLI tool can be easy to get used to without constantly adapting to new changes.

Furthermore, a GUI can have silly bugs and issues, which could hamper the operation of managing a docker.

On the other hand, a CLI tool is largely stable and does not come with any weird glitches/bugs.

Not to forget, it is totally possible to remotely manage Docker containers using just your mobile phone when it comes to a command-line tool.

Command Line Tools to Manage Docker

It will be convenient and safe to manage docker containers using CLI tools with all these benefits.

However, it would be useful if you already know how to run commands inside a Docker container.

But, what are some options to try? Are the command-line terminal tools capable enough to monitor multiple containers and help manage them?

Let us take a look at a few tools that you can try.



If you want an immersive terminal interface for managing or monitoring the containers and services, Dockly is a fantastic tool.

It is a Node.js CLI application, which means that you can install it using the npm repository. You need not leave the CLI or remember all the docker commands or option flags, and Dockly makes everything easier.

The tool is actively maintained and quite popular among other tools.

It can stream the log output of all your running docker containers to the log box, where you can easily scroll up/down as required. You also get the ability to create a new bash session quickly.

Dockly also supports the Docker swarm mode. So, you can toggle between the local containers and the swarm mode.


Dive is an exciting tool that lets you explore a docker image and its contents.

The tool aims to help you analyze the docker image and get ideas to shrink/manage the size of your Docker image.

Not just limited to the ability to view the layers and contents, but the tool also mentions additional details of file changes, modified, added, or removed, in the file tree. You can analyze your image manually or try its image efficiency estimate.

The tool can also guess how much wasted space your image contains.

You can run this in your Cl pipeline to ensure that you do not waste additional space. You can head to its GitHub page to learn how to get it installed and use it.


If you do not need a lot of functionality but focus on monitoring the services, Ctop is a perfect pick.

It gives you real-time metrics for multiple containers, including the essential details, like CID, CPU usage, memory usage, and network stats. All of it in a simple user interface.

While it primarily makes monitoring easy with multiple containers, it also has a single container view to inspect a specific container.

You can build the package from its GitHub page or use some pre-built binaries maintained by third parties.


A terminal tool that helps you monitor and manage docker containers. Dry is a straightforward application with no requirements for external libraries.

It also features support for a swarm cluster. So, you can either look for information about containers or the swarm setup.

For convenience, it also supports many Docker CLI commands (with the same functions) that you can use within Dry.

So, you won’t need to get out of the CLI and stick to this tool most of the time.

Lazy Docker

Lazy Docker is a top-rated tool that gives every ability you would want to perform for a Docker container from a single user interface.

You do not have to memorize various Docker commands to perform different actions.

You can view the state of your docker containers or the environment, and the logs are accessible quickly. You can view basically anything attached to a container/service, including the ASCII graphs, layers of image, and more.

It also features mouse support. So, you can click/press to get things done quickly, which gives you an added layer of convenience.

Do you think it missed out on some actions? Fret not; you can add your custom command within the tool to make things super fast.


Poco is not as popular as some other tools mentioned in this list. However, it helps with certain tasks using the CLI.

With Poco, you can organize and manage Docker/Docker-compose and Kubernetes projects as well.

No matter how complex the project is, it uses simple YAML config files to help you find the project or initialize it in the local environment.

Numerous developers indeed keep themselves busy creating and managing the containers without thinking about organizing/keeping them accessible.

Thanks to Poco, you do not need the hassle of organizing things yourself, but just use the simple configuration files. Moreover, it also supports version control using Git and SVN, making this more efficient.


Sen can be a good pick if you want functionality and a simple user interface to manage docker containers.

Sen can help you interactively manage your containers and images. You can also perform the basic actions to start, stop, restart, kill, or delete a service or container.

The dashboard view will show all the containers and images in an organized manner. Starting from logs to real-time updates, you get a lot of functionality from a tool that looks so simple.

Unfortunately, Sen isn’t as actively managed as other CLI tools. However, it receives bug fixes. If you do not need extra fancy features, you can rely on this tool.


Skopeo, unlike some other tools, focuses on operations on container images and its repositories. It does not help you monitor/manage services inside the docker containers but lets you manage your images.

Some functions include copying an image from/to storage registries, inspecting a remote image to analyze properties and layers without pulling the image, deleting an image, and more.

Skopeo command does not require root privileges for most of the functions. Also, it does not require a daemon to work. With this tool, you can manage Open Container (OCI) images or prefer Docker v2 images.

Final Words: CLI Tools to Enhance the Docker Management Operation

Most power users rely on CLI tools to get things done, and it is no different when it comes to Docker containers.

Whether you want to monitor the system, manage the services, organize images, and want any other ability to manage your Docker deployment efficiently, a command-line tool should help.

Even if you are a beginner, getting used to the CLI tools can give you great flexibility and control with anything you do, using Docker.

While several types of CLI tools are available, you can get a good head start with the ones mentioned above.

You may now have a look at Docker Architecture.

  • Ankush Das
    A computer science graduate with a passion to explore and write about various technologies. When he’s not writing, it is usually his cats who keep him busy.
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