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Update 2020-01-09 22:57:08
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Compose file versions and upgrading

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

The Compose file is a YAML file defining services, networks, and volumes for a Docker application.

The Compose file formats are now described in these references, specific to each version.

Reference fileWhat changed in this version
Version 3 (most current, and recommended)Version 3 updates
Version 2Version 2 updates
Version 1Version 1 updates

The topics below explain the differences among the versions, Docker Engine compatibility, and how to upgrade.

Compatibility matrix

There are several versions of the Compose file format 1, 2, 2.x, and 3.x

This table shows which Compose file versions support specific Docker releases.

Compose file formatDocker Engine release

In addition to Compose file format versions shown in the table, the Compose itself is on a release schedule, as shown in Compose releases, but file format versions do not necessarily increment with each release. For example, Compose file format 3.0 was first introduced in Compose release 1.10.0, and versioned gradually in subsequent releases.

Looking for more detail on Docker and Compose compatibility?

We recommend keeping up-to-date with newer releases as much as possible. However, if you are using an older version of Docker and want to determine which Compose release is compatible, refer to the Compose release notes. Each set of release notes gives details on which versions of Docker Engine are supported, along with compatible Compose file format versions. (See also, the discussion in issue #3404.)

For details on versions and how to upgrade, see Versioning and Upgrading.


There are currently three versions of the Compose file format:

  • Version 1, the legacy format. This is specified by omitting a version key at the root of the YAML.

  • Version 2.x. This is specified with a version: '2' or version: '2.1', etc., entry at the root of the YAML.

  • Version 3.x, the latest and recommended version, designed to be cross-compatible between Compose and the Docker Engine’s swarm mode. This is specified with a version: '3' or version: '3.1', etc., entry at the root of the YAML.

v2 and v3 Declaration

Note: When specifying the Compose file version to use, make sure to specify both the major and minor numbers. If no minor version is given, 0 is used by default and not the latest minor version.

The Compatibility Matrix shows Compose file versions mapped to Docker Engine releases.

To move your project to a later version, see the Upgrading section.

Note: If you’re using multiple Compose files or extending services, each file must be of the same version - you cannot, for example, mix version 1 and 2 in a single project.

Several things differ depending on which version you use:

  • The structure and permitted configuration keys
  • The minimum Docker Engine version you must be running
  • Compose’s behaviour with regards to networking

These differences are explained below.

Version 1

Compose files that do not declare a version are considered version 1”. In those files, all the services are declared at the root of the document.

Version 1 is supported by Compose up to 1.6.x. It will be deprecated in a future Compose release.

Version 1 files cannot declare named volumes, networks or build arguments.

Compose does not take advantage of networking when you use version 1: every container is placed on the default bridge network and is reachable from every other container at its IP address. You need to use links to enable discovery between containers.


webbuild: . ports- "5000:5000" volumes- .:/code links- redis redisimage: redis

Version 2

Compose files using the version 2 s

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