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    Slow Docker on Windows WSL2? Here’s a solution

    Slow Docker on Windows WSL2? Here’s a solution

    CHALLENGE: Incorrectly configured Docker on Windows leads to slow Docker performance

    SOLUTION: Run Docker Windows from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with WSL2 enabled

    One of the more common problems for Developers that use Windows is that the projects with Docker configuration work really slowly, to a point when sometimes a single browser request needs to wait 30-60 seconds to be completed. This is obviously a problem, one that negatively affects project progression and generally makes the life of developers more difficult.

    Why is Docker so slow? The root of the issue is that Windows 10 is (was) using WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), which is a layer between Windows and Linux. Communication between these two (Hard Drive operations) can be quite slow.

    Solution for Docker performance improvement

    The suggested solution is:

    • use WSL 2 in Windows 10
    • and start Docker directly from Ubuntu in Windows

    Check out the step-by-step tutorial below. The “WSL 2” feature, released as Windows Update in mid 2020, was designed to increase file system performance and support full system call compatibility. Properly configured Docker and Windows WSL2 will give you really good performance in terms of speed.

    Step 1: ENABLE WSL2 on Windows

    A. Enable WSL 2 on your Windows
    B. Install Linux on Windows 10 (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS from Microsoft store)
    C. Enable WSL 2 on Ubuntu 20.04
    D. Install Docker Desktop
    E. Enable WSL 2 for Docker
    More info:

    Step 2: Install SSH on Ubuntu

    We want to enable SSH connection to Ubuntu and we will be using it for local files’ “deployment”. Our goal here is:

    – We have a GIT project cloned on the main Windows hard drive (SSD)
    – We’re developing using PHPStorm
    – PHPStorm Files’ deployment is configured in a way to automatically send files to Ubuntu.
    – With this setup, we will instantly see the changes to our code in the browser.

    How to configure SSH on Ubuntu:

    Step 3: Configure PHPStorm Deployment

    A. File / Settings / Build, Execution, Deployment – Deployment
    B. Click + (to add a new deployment config) – choose SFTP
    C. Fill in ‘SSH configuration’
    – Host: your Ubuntu public IP
    (to find the proper IP address, type the following command in your Ubuntu: ip a)
    – User name: your ubuntu username
    – Authentication type: Password
    – Password: your ubuntu pass
    D. Set proper directories mapping in: Deployment / Mappings
    E. Deployment / Options:
    – find the option ‘Upload change files automatically to the default server’ and set to ‘Always’

    Step 4: ssh to Ubuntu, run Docker

    A. Open your SSH Client (ex: Cmder ) and connect to Ubuntu using SSH connection:
    $ ssh [email protected]
    (use your Ubuntu credentials here, we were using the ones in PHPStorm Deployment configuration)
    B. Log in to the root account:
    $ sudo su
    C. Run Docker:
    $ docker-compose up -d

    Step 5: Connect to the database

    A. Log into your Docker container:
    $ docker exec -it myproject_php bash
    $ cd /var/www/html/public/
    B. Download MYSQL Client:
    $ wget
    C. Find database credentials (in Docker configuration files), ex:
    C. Open the following link in the browser: http://localhost/adminer-4.7.7-mysql.php
    Server: mysql
    Username: root
    Password: mypass
    Database name: mydatabasename


    That’s it. We’ve configured:
    – WSL2 on Windows
    – Ubuntu Linux on Windows
    – PHPStorm Deployment
    – Running Docker from Ubuntu
    – Have ability to access Docker database
    This configuration allows Docker to run really fast. Instead of waiting 60 seconds, now the browser request will run faster than 1 second!


    * Error after trying to start Docker, ex: ERROR: Encountered errors while bringing up the project.
    – always use Ubuntu being logged in as a root:
    $ sudo su
    * I see an error related to “not sufficient permissions”
    – Run Powershell or the SSH Client using the ‘Run as administrator’ option
    * I can’t install SSH on Win Ubuntu:
    sudo su
    apt install openssh-server
    service ssh start
    service ssh status

    If you get the following error: sshd: no hostkeys available – exiting :

    If you get the following error: Permission denied (publickey):
    nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

    Find: PasswordAuthentication
    Set it to: yes
    #and then restart the ssh service:
    service ssh restart

    * hyper-v is not enabled

    To Enable Hyper-V
    Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V –All

    To Disable Hyper-V
    Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V-All 1

    * Check if hyper-v is enabled:
    Run WIN Powershell (with Admin rights) and execute:

    $hyperv = Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V-All -Online
    if($hyperv.State -eq “Enabled”) {
    Write-Host “Hyper-V is enabled.”
    } else {
    Write-Host “Hyper-V is disabled.”

    Do you need someone to implement this solution for you? Check out our specialists for hire in the outsourcing section.

    Are you considering a global project and are uncertain how to proceed? See how we do it.

    1 response
    1. This article provides a fantastic solution to a common problem that many Windows developers face when working with Docker. Slow Docker performance can be frustrating, and your step-by-step guide is a game-changer.

      By following these clear and straightforward instructions, developers can significantly improve their workflow and project progress. This method not only fixes the issue of slow Docker but also makes the development process smoother, making it more efficient and enjoyable.

      I want to express my appreciation for sharing this valuable solution, which is sure to help many developers who struggle with Docker performance on Windows. Your detailed explanations and helpful troubleshooting tips show a deep understanding of the problem, making it easier for readers to successfully implement this solution. Great job!

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