Difference between Pause, Kill and stop the Docker image

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Pause Container:

  • When you pause a container, it freezes the container’s processes in memory. Essentially, it suspends all processes within the container.
  • Pausing a container doesn’t stop it completely; it just halts its execution temporarily.
  • The container’s file system, network connections, and other resources remain intact and accessible.
  • You can unpause a paused container, and it will resume execution from where it left off.

To pause a container, you can use the docker pause command followed by the container’s name or ID:

docker pause my_container

Stop Container:

  • Stopping a container means terminating its execution entirely.
  • When you stop a container, Docker sends a SIGTERM signal to the main process inside the container, giving it a chance to shut down gracefully. If the process doesn’t stop within a certain timeout period (default is 10 seconds), Docker forcefully terminates it with a SIGKILL signal.
  • Stopping a container releases its resources, including network connections, file system locks, and any allocated hardware resources.
  • You can start a stopped container, and it will start fresh from its initial state.

To stop a container, you can use the docker stop command followed by the container’s name or ID:

docker stop my_container

Kill Container:

The docker kill command is used to forcefully terminate a running container. It sends a SIGKILL signal to the main process inside the container, immediately stopping all processes within it without allowing them to shut down gracefully. This can result in potential data loss or corruption if processes were in the middle of critical operations.

Here’s the general syntax for docker kill:


For example, to kill a container named my_container, you would run:

docker kill my_container

You can also use the container ID instead of the name:

docker kill <container_id>

It’s important to use docker kill judiciously because it doesn’t allow processes to perform any cleanup operations before termination, potentially leading to undesirable consequences such as data corruption or incomplete transactions. Typically, you should try to use docker stop first to allow processes within the container to shut down gracefully, and only resort to docker kill if the container doesn’t respond to the stop signal or if immediate termination is necessary.

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