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Some time after originally publishing this recipe, I had the opportunity to meet the Portainer team, who are based out of Auckland, New Zealand. We now have an ongoing friendly working relationship. For a time, Portainer was my GitHub Sponsor ❤, and in return, I maintained their official Kubernetes helm charts! 👍

Portainer is a lightweight sexy UI for visualizing your docker environment. It also happens to integrate well with Docker Swarm clusters, which makes it a great fit for our stack.

Portainer attempts to take the "geekiness" out of containers, by wrapping all the jargon and complexity in a shiny UI and some simple abstractions. It's a great addition to any stack, especially if you're just starting your containerization journey!

I am all of the Sith!

In 2021, Portainer released "Dark Mode". Here's why I think this is 100% my fault :)

Portainer Screenshot

Portainer Requirements


Already deployed:



Setup data locations

Create a folder to store portainer's persistent data:

mkdir /var/data/portainer

Portainer Docker Swarm config

Create a docker swarm config file in docker-compose syntax (v3), something like the example below:

Fast-track with premix! 🚀

I automatically and instantly share (with my sponsors) a private "premix" git repository, which includes necessary docker-compose and env files for all published recipes. This means that sponsors can launch any recipe with just a git pull and a docker stack deploy 👍.

🚀 Update: Premix now includes an ansible playbook, so that sponsors can deploy an entire stack + recipes, with a single ansible command! (more here)

version: '3.2'

    image: portainer/portainer-ce
    command: -H tcp://tasks.agent:9001 --tlsskipverify
      - "9000:9000"
      - "8000:8000"
      - /var/data/portainer:/data
      - internal
      - traefik_public
      mode: replicated
      replicas: 1
        constraints: [node.role == manager]
        # traefik
        - traefik.enable=true

        # traefikv1
        - traefik.port=9000    
        # uncomment if you want to protect portainer with traefik-forward-auth using traefikv1 
        # - traefik.frontend.auth.forward.address=http://traefik-forward-auth:4181
        # - traefik.frontend.auth.forward.authResponseHeaders=X-Forwarded-User
        # - traefik.frontend.auth.forward.trustForwardHeader=true        

        # traefikv2
        - "traefik.http.routers.portainer.rule=Host(``)"
        - "traefik.http.routers.portainer.entrypoints=https"
        - ""
        # uncomment if you want to protect portainer with traefik-forward-auth using traefikv2
        # - "traefik.http.routers.portainer.middlewares=forward-auth"

    image: portainer/agent
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock
      - /var/lib/docker/volumes:/var/lib/docker/volumes
      - internal
      mode: global
        constraints: [node.platform.os == linux]

    external: true
    driver: overlay
        - subnet:


Setup unique static subnets for every stack you deploy. This avoids IP/gateway conflicts which can otherwise occur when you're creating/removing stacks a lot. See my list here.

Umm.. didn't you just copy these from the official Portainer docs?

Almost word-for-word! I've made a few (opinionated) improvements though:

  • Expose Portainer via Traefik with valid LetsEncrypt SSL certs
  • Optionally protected Portainer's web UI with OIDC auth via Traefik Forward Auth
  • Use filesystem paths instead of Docker volumes for maximum "swarminess" (We want an HA swarm, and HA Docker Volumes are a PITA, so we just use our ceph shared storage)


Launch Portainer stack

Launch the Portainer stack by running docker stack deploy portainer -c <path -to-docker-compose.yml>

Log into your new instance at https://YOUR-FQDN. You'll be prompted to set your admin user/password on first login. Start at "Home", and click on "Primary" to manage your swarm (you can manage multiple swarms via one Portainer instance using the agent):

Portainer Home

Chef's notes 📓

  1. There are some schenanigans you can do to install templates in Portainer. Don't go crying to them for support though! 😿 

Tip your waiter (sponsor) 👏

Did you receive excellent service? Want to compliment the chef? (..and support development of current and future recipes!) Sponsor me on Github / Ko-Fi / Patreon, or see the contribute page for more (free or paid) ways to say thank you! 👏

Employ your chef (engage) 🤝

Is this too much of a geeky PITA? Do you just want results, stat? I do this for a living - I'm a full-time Kubernetes contractor, providing consulting and engineering expertise to businesses needing short-term, short-notice support in the cloud-native space, including AWS/Azure/GKE, Kubernetes, CI/CD and automation.

Learn more about working with me here.

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