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Release Docker image

This repository contains a Dockerized version of the Pact Broker. You can pull the pactfoundation/pact-broker image from Dockerhub. If you're viewing these docs on Dockerhub, here is a link to the github repository.

Note: On 12 May 2018, the format of the docker tag changed from M.m.p-RELEASE to M.m.p.RELEASE (where M.m.p is the semantic version of the underlying Pact Broker package) so that Dependabot can recognise when the version has been incremented.

In a hurry?#

If you want to try out a Pact Broker that can be accessed by all your teams, without having to fill in requisition forms and wait for 3 months, you can get a free trial at Built by a group of core Pact maintainers, Pactflow is a fork of the OSS Pact Broker with extra goodies like an improved UI, user and team management, secrets, field level verification results and federated login. It's also fully supported, and that means when something goes wrong, someone else gets woken up in the middle of the afternoon to fix it...

Migrating from the dius/pact-broker image#

The pactfoundation/pact-broker image is a forked version of the dius/pact-broker image. It is smaller (as it runs on Alpine Linux with Puma instead of the larger Passenger Phusion base image), and does not need root permissions.

All the environment variables used for dius/pact-broker are compatible with pactfoundation/pact-broker. The only breaking change is that the default port has changed from 80 to 9292 (because a user without root permisisons cannot bind to a port under 1024). If you wish to expose port 80 (or 443) you can deploy Ngnix in front of it (see the docker-compose file for an example).

Which one should I use?#

Please read for information on which server will suit your needs best. The tl;dr is that if you want to run the docker image in a managed architecture which will make your application highly available (eg. ECS, Kubernetes) then use the pactfoundation/pact-broker. Puma will not restart itself if it crashes, so you will need external monitoring to ensure the Pact Broker stays available.

If you want to run the container as a standalone instance, then the dius/pact-broker image which uses Phusion Passenger may serve you better, as Passenger will restart any crashed processes.


  • A running Postgresql (or MySQL) database and the ability to connect to it (see Postgres is recommended over MySQL for performance and support reasons.

Getting Started#

  1. Install Docker
  2. Prepare your environment if you are not running postgresql in a docker container. Setup the pact broker connection to the database through the use of the following environment variables.

Create the database#

On an instance of Postgres version 10 or later, connect as a user with administrator privileges and run:

CREATE DATABASE pact_broker;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE pact_broker TO pact_broker;

Configure the connection details#

You can either set the PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_URL in the format driver://username:password@host:port/database (eg. postgres://user1:pass1@myhost/mydb) or, you can set the credentials individually using the following environment variables:

* `PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_ADAPTER` (optional, defaults to 'postgres', see note below.)
* `PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_PORT` (optional, defaults to the default port for the specified adapter)

Adapter can be 'postgres' (recommended) or 'sqlite' (non production use only).

For investigations/spikes you can use SQlite. It is not supported as a production database, as it does not support concurrent requests. Additionally, unless you mount it from an external volume, the database will be disposed of when the container shuts down.

  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_NAME (arbitrary file in the /tmp directory eg. /tmp/pact_broker.sqlite3)

You can additionally set:

* `PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_SSLMODE` - optional, possible values: 'disable', 'allow', 'prefer', 'require', 'verify-ca', or 'verify-full' to choose how to treat SSL (only respected if using the postgres database adapter. See for more information.)
* `PACT_BROKER_SQL_LOG_LEVEL` - optional, defaults to debug. The level at which to log SQL statements. Valid options are none, debug, info, warn.
* `PACT_BROKER_SQL_LOG_WARN_DURATION` - optional, defaults to 5 seconds. Log the SQL for queries that take longer than this number of seconds.
* `PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_MAX_CONNECTIONS` - optional, defaults to 4. The maximum size of the connection pool. There is no need to set this unless you notice particular connection contention issues.
* `PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_POOL_TIMEOUT` - optional, 5 seconds by default. The number of seconds to wait if a connection cannot be acquired before raising an error. There is no need to set this unless you notice particular connection contention issues.
* `PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CONNECT_MAX_RETRIES` - optional, defaults to 0. When running the Pact Broker Docker image experimentally using Docker Compose on a local development machine, the Broker application process may be ready before the database is available for connection, causing the application container to exit with an error. Setting the max retries to a non-zero number will allow it to retry the connection the configured number of times, waiting 3 seconds between attempts.


  • The application makes use of the Puma application server.
  • Apart from creating a database no further preparation is required.
  • The image does not need root privileges to run, however, the root filesystem (or at least, the /tmp directory) must be writeable for Puma to temporarily store files when processing large requests. See this issue.

Using basic auth#

To enable basic auth, run your container with:


If you want to allow public read access (but still require credentials for writing), then omit setting the READ_ONLY credentials and set PACT_BROKER_ALLOW_PUBLIC_READ=true.

Developers should use the read only credentials on their local machines, and the CI should use the read/write credentials. This will ensure that pacts and verification results are only published from your CI.

Note that the verification status badges are not protected by basic auth, so that you may embed them in README markdown.

Heartbeat URL#

If you are using the docker container within an AWS autoscaling group, and you need to make a heartbeat URL publicly available, set PACT_BROKER_PUBLIC_HEARTBEAT=true. No database connection will be made during the execution of this endpoint.

The heartbeat is available at /diagnostic/status/heartbeat.

Using SSL#

See the Pact Broker configuration documentation.

Setting the log level#

Set the environment variable PACT_BROKER_LOG_LEVEL to one of DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, or FATAL.


Webhook whitelists#

  • PACT_BROKER_WEBHOOK_HOST_WHITELIST - a space delimited list of hosts (eg., network ranges (eg., or regular expressions (eg. /.*\\.foo\\.com$/). Regular expressions should start and end with a / to differentiate them from Strings. Note that backslashes need to be escaped with a second backslash. Please read the Webhook whitelists section of the Pact Broker configuration documentation to understand how the whitelist is used. Remember to use quotes around this value as it may have spaces in it.
  • PACT_BROKER_WEBHOOK_SCHEME_WHITELIST - a space delimited list (eg. http https). Defaults to https.

Other webhook settings#

  • PACT_BROKER_WEBHOOK_RETRY_SCHEDULE - a space delimited list of integers specifying the number of seconds after which to retry webhook requests when they fail. Defaults to 10 60 120 300 600 1200. This does not normally need to be changed.
  • PACT_BROKER_WEBHOOK_HTTP_CODE_SUCCESS - a space delimited list of successful http codes (e.g. 200 201 301). Defaults to 200 201 202 203 204 205 206. If webhook call returns the response with http code that is listed in the success codes then the operation is considered as a success, otherwise the webhook will be re-triggered based on PACT_BROKER_WEBHOOK_RETRY_SCHEDULE configuration. In most cases, configuring this is not necessary, but there are some CI systems that return a non 200 status for a success, which is why this feature exists.

Other environment variables#

  • PACT_BROKER_PORT - the port that the Pact Broker application runs on. Defaults to 9292.
  • PACT_BROKER_BASE_URL - optional but strongly recommended when deploying the Pact Broker to production as it prevents some security vulnerabilities. If you find that the URLs generated by the API are using an IP instead of a hostname, you can set this environment variable to force the desired base URL. Must include the port if it's a non-standard one. eg. https://my-broker:9292. This can also be used if you are mounting the Docker container so that it runs on a non root context eg. Not that this setting does not change where the application is mounted within the Docker container - it just changes the links.
  • PACT_BROKER_DISABLE_SSL_VERIFICATION - false by default, may be set to true.
  • PACT_BROKER_ORDER_VERSIONS_BY_DATE - true by default. Setting this to false is deprecated.
  • PACT_BROKER_PUMA_PERSISTENT_TIMEOUT - allows configuration of the Puma persistent timeout.

General Pact Broker configuration and usage#

Documentation for the Pact Broker application itself can be found in the Pact Broker docs.

Automatic data clean up#

Performance can degrade when too much data accumulates in the Pact Broker. To read about the automatic data clean up feature, please see the Maintenance page of the Pact Broker documentation.

You will need version or later of the pactfoundation/pact-broker Docker image for this feature.

Running the clean task on a cron schedule within the application container#

If you have exactly one Pact Broker container running at a time, you can configure cron on the container to run the clean up.

  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_ENABLED: set to true to enable the clean. Default is false.
  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_CRON_SCHEDULE: set to a cron schedule that will run when your Broker is under the least operational load. Default is 2:15am - 15 2 * * *
  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_DELETION_LIMIT: The maximum number of records to delete at a time for each of the categories listed in the Categories of removable data. Defaults to 500.
  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_OVERWRITTEN_DATA_MAX_AGE: The maximum number of days to keep "overwritten" data as described in the Categories of removable data
  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_KEEP_VERSION_SELECTORS: a JSON string containing a list of the "keep" selectors described in Configuring the keep selectors e.g [{"latest": true, "tag": true}, {"max_age": 90}] (remember to escape the quotes if necessary in your configuration files/console).
  • PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_DRY_RUN: defaults to false. Set to true to see the output of what would have been deleted if the task had run. This is helpful when experimenting with or fine tuning the clean feature. As nothing is deleted when in dry-run mode, the same output will be printed in the logs each time the task runs.

Running the clean task from an external source#

If you are running more than one Pact Broker Docker container at a time for the same database, then you will end up with two clean up tasks fighting with each other to delete the data. In this situation, it is best to run the clean task from an external location at a regular interval. To do this, run an instance of the pact-broker docker image with the entrypoint clean, the same database connection credentials as the application, and the same environment variables described in the section above except the PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_ENABLED and PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_CLEAN_CRON_SCHEDULE vars.

You can see a working example in the docker-compose-clean.yml file. To run the example locally, run:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-clean.yml up pact-broker
# in another console
docker-compose -f docker-compose-clean.yml up clean

Known issues with the data clean up task#

  • When the pact-broker docker container gets restarted because of an internal error, another supercronic (the application that runs the cron task in the background) process seems to get started each time, leading to multiple clean tasks running at once. This issue has been noticed in local testing, but we do not know if it is likely to be an issue under normal production use. Please raise an issue if you are observing it. The mitigation for this is to run the clean from an external source as documented above.

Running with Docker Compose#

For a quick start with the Pact Broker and Postgres, we have an example Docker Compose setup you can use:

  1. Modify the docker-compose.yml file as required.
  2. Run docker-compose build to build the pact_broker container locally.
  3. Run docker-compose up to get a running Pact Broker and a clean Postgres database.

Now you can access your local broker:

curl -v http://localhost # you can visit in your browser too!
# SSL endpoint, note that URLs in response contain https:// protocol
curl -v -k https://localhost:8443

NOTE: this image should be modified before using in Production, in particular, the use of hard-coded credentials

Running with Openshift#

If you call your service "pact_broker", an environment variable called PACT_BROKER_PORT will be created which will conflict with the Docker image's PACT_BROKER_PORT (see this issue for background). In this case, you have two options.

See pact-broker-openshift for an example config file.

Running on Kubernetes#

If you call your service "pact_broker", an environment variable called PACT_BROKER_PORT will be created which will conflict with the Docker image's PACT_BROKER_PORT (see this issue for background). In this case, you have two options.

Running on Heroku#

Heroku provides the database connection string as the environment variable DATABASE_URL, and the port as PORT. See the section on Using different environment variable names to allow the Pact Broker to use these environment variables instead of PACT_BROKER_PORT and PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_URL.

Running on AWS with an ALB#

If you are running the Docker image behind an ALB with an idle timeout, you may need to set the Puma persistent timeout using the PACT_BROKER_PUMA_PERSISTENT_TIMEOUT environment variable. See issue 26 for details.

You will also want to make use of the Heartbeat URL

Using different environment variable names#

If you are running your Docker container in a managed environment, you may not be able to control the names of the environment variables that are set by that software.

In this case, you can tell the application to use different environment variables to source the following configuration options.


To allow the port of the Pact Broker to be set by a different environment variable, set PACT_BROKER_PORT_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE_NAME to the name of your chosen variable, and then set that variable. eg.


Database URL#

To allow the URL of the database to be set by a different environment variable, set PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_URL_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE_NAME to the name of your chosen variable, and then set that variable. eg.


Database migrations#

The Pact Broker auto migrates on startup, and will always do so in a way that is backwards compatible, to support architectures that run multiple instances of the application at a time (eg. AWS auto scaling).

You can use a custom entrypoint to the Pact Broker Docker image to perform a rollback. A rollback would be required if you needed to downgrade your Pact Broker image. The db-migrate entrypoint is support in versions and later. To perform the rollback, you must use at minimum the version of the Docker image that performed the migrations in the first place. You can always use the latest image to rollback.

To work out which migration to rollback to, select the tag of the Pact Broker gem version you want at and then look in the db/migrations directory. Find the very last migration in the directory, and take the numbers at the start of the file name. This is your "target".

# You can use the PACT_BROKER_DATABASE_URL or the separate environment variables as listed in the Getting Started section.
docker run --rm \
--entrypoint db-migrate \

To get the current version of the database run:

docker run --rm \
--entrypoint db-version \


See the Troubleshooting page on the docs site.

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