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Docker Tip #53: Difference between a Registry, Repository and Image

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A Docker repository is where you can store 1 or more versions of a specific Docker image. An image can have 1 or more versions (tags).

A Docker image can be compared to a git repo. A git repo can be hosted inside of a GitHub repository, but it could also be hosted on Gitlab, BitBucket or your own git repo hosting service. It could also sit on your development box and not be hosted anywhere.

The same goes for a Docker image. You can choose to not push it anywhere, but you could also push it to the Docker Hub which is both a public and private service for hosting Docker repositories. There are other third party repository hosting services too.

The thing to remember here is a Docker repository is a place for you to publish and access your Docker images. Just like GitHub is a place for you to publish and access your git repos.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Docker Hub and other third party repository hosting services are called “registries”. A registry stores a collection of repositories.

You could say a registry has many repositories and a repository has many different versions of the same image which are individually versioned with tags.

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