ASP.NET Core Docker HTTPS With Multiple Projects and Postgres

Published 2020-06-08

A chocolate ice cream cone.

Photo by Irene Kredenets on Unsplash

It's officially summer in Wisconsin! OK, not quite yet but we did just have our first day that broke 90 F. And there's no better time to stay inside and create Docker containers!

This is going to be a very specific tutorial on getting docker running your ASP.NET Core application using https.

It will be more of a walkthrough on how I configured my docker files to support my .NET solution that has multiple projects as well as Postgres database running in separate container. I also used EF Core as my ORM.

Project Structure šŸ“

The is the basic structure I have for my solution. Notice the docker-compose* files are up under src/, while the API project has it's own Dockerfile.

  - src
    - API (project) # this is the WebAPI that gets launched
      - Dockerfile
    - Common (project)
      - Common.csproj
    - Core (project)
      - Core.csproj
    - Infrastructure (project)
      - Infrastructure.csproj
  - tests
    - API.Tests (project)
    - Core.Tests (project)

Enable HTTPS in Startup.cs

First let's look at Startup.cs in the WebAPI. A couple things need configured.

UseHttpsRedirection tells something to use https

public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IWebHostEnvironment env)

Add the DbContexts services to the container. In my case, I have one context for users, and one for everything else.

Note the server and port. This will be specified in our docker-compose files later.

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
  services.AddDbContext<ApplicationContext>(options =>
      options.UseNpgsql("Server=db;Port=5432;Database=petcrm;User Id=app_user;Password=app_user"));

  services.AddDbContext<IdentityContext>(options =>
                  options.UseNpgsql("Server=db;Port=5432;Database=petcrm;User Id=app_user;Password=app_user"));

Setup EF Core Migrations šŸ¦†

If you haven't already, create your migrations. I wanted my migrations in my Infrastructure project, since's that's where the responsibility resides.

First I had to add an inner class to my DbContexts. The IdentityContext looks the same, just replace Application with Identity.

public class ApplicationContext : DbContext
  public class ApplicationContextDesignFactory : IDesignTimeDbContextFactory<ApplicationContext>
      public ApplicationContext CreateDbContext(string[] args)
          var optionsBuilder = new DbContextOptionsBuilder<ApplicationContext>()
              .UseNpgsql("Server=db;Port=5432;Database=petcrm;User Id=app_user;Password=app_user");
          return new ApplicationContext(optionsBuilder.Options);

Since I had two contexts, I had to add both separately while referencing a startup project (API) so the dotnet cli could create instances of the contexts.

# src/Infrastructure
$ dotnet ef migrations add --context IdentityContext InitialIdentityMigration --startup-project ../API/API.csproj
$ dotnet ef migrations add --context ApplicationContext InitialApplicationMigration --startup-project ../API/API.csproj

I wanted to apply the migrations at runtime since Postgres would be running in a container that didn't exist yet. DbContext.Database has a Migrate method and it needs to be run after the webhost is built but before it runs, making Program.cs a suitable place to do this.

I created an extension method to not clutter up Program with too much code.

public static class MigrationHelper
    public static IHost MigrateDatabase<T>(this IHost host) where T : DbContext
        using (var scope = host.Services.CreateScope())
            var services = scope.ServiceProvider;
                var db = services.GetRequiredService<T>();
            catch (Exception ex)
                var logger = services.GetRequiredService<ILogger<Program>>();
                logger.LogError(ex, $"An error occurred while migrating the database.  {ex.Message}");
        return host;

Then in Program.cs after the host is built, run the extension method with each context.

public class Program
    public async static Task Main(string[] args)
        var host = CreateHostBuilder(args).Build();



    public static IHostBuilder CreateHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        .ConfigureWebHostDefaults(webBuilder =>

Oof, more work than expected, but it turned out OK :)

Docker setup šŸ³

Let's look at the API project's Dockerfile first. With Visual Studio, add docker support to the project to build out the shell then make some adjustments as needed.

Since I have multiple projects, I needed copy commands for each before restoring and building. Here's what I ended up with.

FROM AS base

FROM AS build
COPY ["API/API.csproj", "API/"]
COPY ["Core/Core.csproj", "Core/"]
COPY ["Infrastructure/Infrastructure.csproj", "Infrastructure/"]
RUN dotnet restore "API/API.csproj"
COPY . .
RUN dotnet build "API.csproj" -c Release -o /app/build

FROM build AS publish
RUN dotnet publish "API.csproj" -c Release -o /app/publish

FROM base AS final
COPY --from=publish /app/publish .
ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "API.dll"]

Docker Compose Setup for HTTPS šŸ”’

First let's put some certs in place. Here is a refernence on it:

The docs say you can use .Net CLI:

$ dotnet dev-certs https -ep %USERPROFILE%\.aspnet\https\aspnetapp.pfx -p { password here }
$ dotnet dev-certs https --trust

You may not need to, but if you already have a cert in there from other development you can clean it out first:

$ dotnet dev-certs https --clean

Now we'll just look at the docker-compose.debug.yml file. Note that it is run from the solution root folder so that the docker has access to the other projects as well.

$ docker-compose -f "src\docker-compose.debug.yml" up -d --build

And here is the compose debug configuration. (NOTE this is for development only, production settings will likely be different, like a more complex password for starters)

# Please refer on how to setup an https developer certificate for your ASP .NET Core service.
version: '3.4'

    image: api
      context: .
      dockerfile: API/Dockerfile # the Dockerfile is stored in the API project
      - 5000:80 # port mapping
      - 5001:443
      - db
      - ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT=Development # debug runs in development mode
      - ASPNETCORE_URLS=https://+:443;http://+:80
      - ASPNETCORE_Kestrel__Certificates__Default__Password={password} # password used when making the cert, without curly braces
      - ASPNETCORE_Kestrel__Certificates__Default__Path=/https/aspnetapp.pfx
      - ~/.vsdbg:/remote_debugger:rw
      - ~/.aspnet/https:/https:ro

  db: # this is used as the host in your connection string 
    image: postgres
    container_name: 'postgres_container'
      - POSTGRES_USER=app_user
      - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=app_user
      - POSTGRES_DB=dbname
      - pgdata:/var/lib/postgresql/data # this is where your data persists in the container
      - 5432:5432 # use this port in your connection string


3...2...1... šŸš€

Everything should be in place, now time to fire it up!

Run the docker-compose command from above shown below again. Remember to be up one directory from the docker-compose.debug.yml file.

$ docker-compose -f "src\docker-compose.debug.yml" up -d --build

Your terminal will loop through each step of the Dockerfile - remember your compose file referenced the one in the API project. I recommend you carefully read through the output to see all that docker is doing when building the containers.

If you have docker desktop, you should see your containers running!

Or you can show docker processes with docker ps.

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                                         NAMES
bde76d1c4138        api                 "dotnet API.dll"         About an hour ago   Up About an hour>80/tcp,>443/tcp   src_api_1
b93643bdf5f0        postgres            "docker-entrypoint.sā€¦"   About an hour ago   Up About an hour>5432/tcp                        postgres_container

Notice the ports! The API can be accessed through HTTPS at https://localhost:5001

Inside the container, it's on port 443.

Postgres is on 5432 inside and out of the container.

Happy coding šŸ¦ core#docker