Docker license for development and production

Case : Development

Q 1 : is license for docker (pro|team|business) per user can be used on multiple machines for use ?

system 1, system 2 - both can have same user for docker development.

Q 2 : let say we have image build from scratch using docker file on system 1 and then transfer the build image to deploy and run the same in different machine like system 2, system 3, system 4 … system n.

so image build on system 1 (development ) = this will require 1 license (for user doing development on system 1)
& built image deployed and run on system 2,3,… (deployed & running) = ? (can the same user log into these machines and just deploy and run built image in container on these machine)

for this above scenario in Q2 : only one license will be required right ? as all system are in host location with one user logged & managing all systems.

Q 3 : Similar case like Q2
but with some difference like :
the deployed system are at client location , so once we develop image and use it to deploy on multiple machine at client loc.

for this above scenario in Q3 : only one license will be required right ? as system 1 user requires it to build the image and NO license for the deployed systems right as those are at client loc.


The Docker license is for Docker Hub features and in case of large companies, for using Docker Desktop. You can log in on as many machines as you want. Pulling images from private registries or repositories on Docker Hub don’t require any subscription, so if you want to share your images and you have a client for which you develop an application, and the client runs Docker CE and not Docker Desktop (which is only fo development), they can just use their own account for free.

Of course, if they want to run Docker Desktop, and the client company is a large company, they need their own subscription.

I guess, you could use your account on their Docker Desktop just to download the private images and then log out, but the subscription is for a person, you couldn’t share your account with your subscription if that is reqiored fo the application or if they want to use your image for development on Docker Desktop.

Note that although I’m pretty sure it works as I interpreted it, I’m not a Docker staff member and I can’t legally allow you to do anything. So if you are not sure that you are doing something legal, you could try to contact Docker support or maybe write an email to

I recommended this email address a few times, but I don’t know who is reading it and how frequently.

Hi rimelek,
Thanks for quick response, will check further with the recommended mail for above queries.
My major concern is regarding following case -

Let’s say i (employee of large company) have purchased 1 license for development (only using docker CE & NO docker desktop required).

Given i am the sole developer.

  1. with that 1 license i can develop & test & deploy on any number of host systems.(multiple machine using and running same license) ?

my developed image, i have push to docker hub.

  1. now what the client or any third party will require (in-terms of licensing, number of license) to just pull the same image and run it on their multiple machines setups (Given they also belongs to large company and just need docker for running the image in a container nothing else in multiple machines).

Thanks in advance

The size of the company is relevant only when using Docker Desktop. Docker CE is free for everyone. Pushing and pulling images are also free.

Yes and in case of Docker CE the license is irrelevant.

Again. The license is not relevant when using Docker CE. If they use Docker Desktop, they need to pay (depending of the size and income of the company)

Hi rimelek
Thanks for the clarification , as far as i know this same distinction is not very clearly mentioned on docker website.

Would like to know what falls under each category ?

  • Docker CE = [cli , builkit,compose…] ?
  • Docker Desktop = [UI,…] ?

So the licensing categories [Pro,Team,Business] are only for Docker Desktop ?

Would be great if you could help me with some reference from docker site on above points.