Docker Container exited with code 137

January 18, 2018

When attempting to fire up a bunch of docker containers using docker-compose on a Mac, one of the containers was randomly exiting with the exit code 137. The message would look something like this:

container_name exited with code 137

My first reaction was to try to quickly run docker exec -it container-id /bin/bash and then take a look at the logs, but before I was quick enough to do that I decided to look into exit code 137.

As it turns out this code is commonly associated with Docker for Mac not having enough RAM allocated to it. More specifically the Linux OOM (out of memory) Killer, kicked in and terminated the process.

So it is an easy fix, go to the Docker Menu and select Preferences then the Advanced tab and increase the Memory.

Adjust docker memory to fix exited with code 137 error

My docker memory was set to 2.0 GB (perhaps the default), I increased it to 4.0 GB and problem solved.

You may also be able to get around this problem by setting the --memory limit when starting a container, or if you are using docker compose, you can do something like this in your docker-compose.yml file:

version: '3'
    image: image-name:tag
          memory: 50M
          memory: 20M

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