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Install Docker Compose

After installing Docker, you may also want to install Docker Compose. This tool allows you to manage applications that rely on multiple containers instead of just one.

This tutorial assumes you are running Debian or Ubuntu.

Debian 12 - Install Compose Plugin

One used to have to install docker compose as a separate tool through Python PIP, but now it can be installed as a plugin for docker, which simply requires you to switch to using docker compose commands instead of docker-compose. To install this way, use the following command:

sudo apt update \
  && sudo apt install docker-compose-plugin

Using PIP3 (recommended)

If you are using Debian 10, or Ubuntu 20.04, then you want to install docker-compose using the following:

sudo apt-get install python3-pip -y \
  && sudo pip3 install --upgrade pip \
  && sudo pip3 install docker-compose


  • Debian 10 - docker-compose version 1.25.5, build unknown

Using PIP

This method was what I used when installing the latest version of docker-compose on Debian 8 and Ubuntu 16.04.

sudo apt-get install python-pip -y \
  && sudo pip install --upgrade pip \
  && sudo pip install docker-compose

Native Packages

On Ubuntu 18.04, you can install docker-compose by simply running:

sudo apt-get install docker-compose -y

This will install an older version than the PIP method, but should get the job done. I found this caused strange issues when building docker images in Ubuntu 18.04 so went back to using PIP.

Check Version

To test that you have successfully installed docker compose, run the following command:

docker-compose --version
Last updated: 19th June 2023
First published: 16th August 2018