containerignore - Man Page

files to ignore buildah or podman build context directory


Before container engines build image, they look for a file named .containerignore or .dockerignore in the root context directory. If one of these file exists, the CLI modifies the context to exclude files and directories that match patterns specified in the file. This avoids adding them to images using the ADD or COPY instruction.

The CLI interprets the .containerignore or .dockerignore file as a newline-separated list of patterns similar to the file globs of Unix shells. For the purposes of matching, the root of the context is considered to be both the working and the root directory. For example, the patterns /foo/bar and foo/bar both exclude a file or directory named bar in the foo subdirectory of PATH or in the root of the git repository located at URL. Neither excludes anything else.

If a line in .containerignore or .dockerignore file starts with # in column 1, then this line is considered as a comment and is ignored before interpreted by the CLI.


Here is an example .containerignore file:

# comment

This file causes the following build behavior: Rule Behavior

# comment 	Ignored.
*/temp* 	Exclude files and directories whose names start with temp in any immediate subdirectory of the root.
For example, the plain file /somedir/temporary.txt is excluded, as is the directory /somedir/temp.
*/*/temp* 	Exclude files and directories starting with temp from any subdirectory that is two levels below the
root. For example, /somedir/subdir/temporary.txt is excluded.
temp? 	Exclude files and directories in the root directory whose names are a one-character extension of temp. For example, /tempa and /tempb are excluded.

Matching is done using Go’s filepath.Match rules. A preprocessing step removes leading and trailing whitespace and eliminates . and .. elements using Go’s filepath.Clean. Lines that are blank after preprocessing are ignored.

Beyond Go’s filepath.Match rules, Docker also supports a special wildcard string ** that matches any number of directories (including zero). For example, */.go will exclude all files that end with .go that are found in all directories, including the root of the build context.

Lines starting with ! (exclamation mark) can be used to make exceptions to exclusions. The following is an example .containerignore file that uses this mechanism:


All markdown files except are excluded from the context.

The placement of ! exception rules influences the behavior: the last line of the .containerignore that matches a particular file determines whether it is included or excluded. Consider the following example:


No markdown files are included in the context except README files other than

Now consider this example:


All of the README files are included. The middle line has no effect because !README*.md matches and comes last.

You can even use the .containerignore file to exclude the Containerfile or Dockerfile and .containerignore files. These files are still sent to the daemon because it needs them to do its job. But the ADD and COPY instructions do not copy them to the image.

Finally, you may want to specify which files to include in the context, rather than which to exclude. To achieve this, specify * as the first pattern, followed by one or more ! exception patterns.

See Also

buildah-build(1), podman-build(1), docker-build(1)


*Sep 2021, Compiled by Dan Walsh (dwalsh at redhat dot com) based on .dockerignore documentation.

Referenced By

The man page .containerignore(5) is an alias of containerignore(5).

Sep 2021 Container User Manuals