How to use IPv6 for docker containers on Digitalocean

August 7, 2017

You get ipv6 adrresses on digitalocean for free, so why not give your containers an address which is reachable from everywhere in the world?

A few words

You only get a routable space from xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxx0 to xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxf, which means your’re able to use 14 addresses for your containers (-2, because of droplet address and network address).

Since we need to tell docker which subnet to use, I will use xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxx0/124 in this tutorial, which will give you 14 addresses available to your containers.

Since we’re only part of a subnet, we need to enable NDP Proxying on the droplet later on.

You could read more about NDP Proxying here


First, create a new droplet. I use the smallest kind of droplet, but every kind should work. Just make sure you activate ipv6.

After creating, it should look somewhat like that on the DO page:

Setting up your droplet

Login in into your droplet, head over to and install docker.

Recently the docker page got quite confusing, make sure you take the CE (Community Edition) and install it on your system.

Configuring the docker daemon

With your favorite text editor open /etc/default/docker (with sudo, otherwise, you won’t be able to write), find the line


and replace it with

DOCKER_OPTS="--ipv6 --fixed-cidr-v6 xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxx0/124"

Setting up NDP Proxying

NDP(Network Discovery Protocol) is basically the DHCP Replacement for IPv6. Because our host already has an address assigned from the subnet docker will use, we need to make sure NDP takes that into account, which is done by NDP Proxying.

To do that, just execute the following command on your droplet to activate NDP Proxying

user@droplet $ sudo sysctl net.ipv6.conf.eth0.proxy_ndp=1

Restart the docker daemon

Now we’re ready to go, so restart the docker daemon

user@droplet $ sudo service docker restart

Running containers

Sadly, we need to tell the host for every container we run which ipv6 address it got, so the host is able to route the traffic to the corresponding droplet.

So, start your container, exec a shell and run

user@droplet $ sudo ip a

You should see an ipv6 address from the correct subnet, if it’s your first container it should get the address after your host.

Let’s assume you get the address: 2001:XXXX::X009

To tell that to the host, execute

user@droplet $ sudo ip -6 neigh add proxy 2001:XXXX::X009 dev eth0


Your container should now be available from everywhere in the world, congratulations!


If you’re not able to reach it, make sure you disable the firewall.

On ubuntu that’s done by

user@droplet$ sudo ufw disable