Running LocalStack inside Podman


By default, the LocalStack CLI starts the LocalStack runtime inside a Docker container. Docker may not be available on your system, and a popular alternative is Podman which you can use to run LocalStack. Podman support is still experimental, and the following docs give you an overview of the current state.

From the Podman docs:

Podman is a daemonless, open source, Linux native tool designed to make it easy to find, run, build, share and deploy applications using Open Containers Initiative (OCI) Containers and Container Images. Podman provides a command line interface (CLI) familiar to anyone who has used the Docker Container Engine. Most users can simply alias Docker to Podman (alias docker=podman) without any problems.


To run localstack, simply aliasing alias docker=podman is not enough, for the following reasons:

  • localstack is using docker-py which requires a connection to /var/run/docker.sock
  • Lambda requires mounting the Docker socket /var/run/docker.sock into the container (see Lambda providers).

Here are several options on running LocalStack using podman:


The package podman-docker emulates the Docker CLI using podman. It creates the following links:

  • /usr/bin/docker -> /usr/bin/podman
  • /var/run/docker.sock -> /run/podman/podman.sock

This package is available for some distros:

Rootfull Podman with podman-docker

The simplest option is to run localstack using podman by having podman-docker and running localstack start as root

# you have to start the podman socket first
sudo systemctl start podman

# then
sudo sh -c 'DEBUG=1 localstack start'

Rootfull Podman without podman-docker

# you still have to start the podman socket first
sudo systemctl start podman

# you have to pass a bunch of env variables
sudo sh -c 'DEBUG=1 DOCKER_CMD=podman DOCKER_HOST=unix://run/podman/podman.sock DOCKER_SOCK=/run/podman/podman.sock localstack start'

Rootless Podman

You have to prepare your environment first:

# again, you have to start the podman socket first
systemctl --user start podman.service

# and then localstack
DEBUG=1 DOCKER_CMD="podman" DOCKER_SOCK=$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/podman/podman.sock DOCKER_HOST=unix://$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/podman/podman.sock localstack start

If you have problems with subuid and subgid, you could try to use overlay.ignore_chown_errors option

DEBUG=1 DOCKER_CMD="podman --storage-opt overlay.ignore_chown_errors=true" DOCKER_SOCK=$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/podman/podman.sock DOCKER_HOST=unix://$XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/podman/podman.sock localstack start

Podman on Windows

You can run Podman on Windows using WSLv2. In the guide, we use a Docker Compose setup to run LocalStack.

Initialize and start Podman:

$ podman machine init
$ podman machine start

At this stage, Podman operates in rootless mode, where exposing port 443 on Windows is not possible. To enable this, switch Podman to rootful mode using the following command:

podman machine set --rootful

For the Docker Compose setup, use the following configuration. When running in rootless mode, ensure to comment out the HTTPS gateway port, as it is unable to bind to privileged ports below 1024.

version: "3.8"
    container_name: "${LOCALSTACK_DOCKER_NAME:-localstack-main}"
    image: localstack/localstack-pro
      - ""
      - ""
      - ""
      - "label=disable"
      - DEBUG=${DEBUG:-0}
      - "${LOCALSTACK_VOLUME_DIR:-./volume}:/var/lib/localstack"
      - "/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock"

The docker socket /var/run/docker.sock is correctly linked by default in a Podman setup.

To start the services, use docker compose up or podman compose up, depending on the availability of docker-compose.

Last modified July 18, 2024: setup markdownlint (#1382) (f2ebb421e)