How To Fix docker-compose command not found Error


Developers may define and manage multi-container Docker applications using Docker Compose, a robust tool. It makes it easier to run numerous containers simultaneously, providing seamless service integration. However, while trying to run Docker Compose commands, users could get the annoying “docker-compose command not found” error. This post intends to walk you through the troubleshooting procedures to fix this problem and restore your Docker Compose to normal operation.

Understanding the docker-compose command

Let’s define the “docker-compose command not found” error before moving on to the debugging procedures. When the Docker Compose executable cannot be found in the system’s search paths, this error occurs. Users must install Docker Compose individually because it is not included by default in the Docker Engine installation.

Reasons for “docker-compose command not found” error

Several reasons could lead to this error. Some common causes include:

  1. Docker Compose not installed: If Docker Compose is not installed, the system won’t recognize the command, resulting in the error.
  2. Incorrect PATH variable: The PATH environment variable might not be configured correctly to locate the Docker Compose executable.
  3. Corrupted installation: A corrupted installation of Docker Compose can prevent the command from being recognized.

Troubleshooting steps for fixing the error” error

Follow these steps to troubleshoot and resolve the “docker-compose command not found” error:

Check Docker installation

Before dealing with Docker Compose, ensure that Docker itself is installed correctly on your system. Open the terminal and run:

docker --version

If Docker is not installed, follow the official Docker installation guide for your operating system.

Verify PATH variable

The PATH variable is crucial for the system to find executable files. Check if Docker Compose’s installation path is included in the PATH variable:

echo $PATH

If the path to Docker Compose is missing, add it to the PATH variable by editing your shell profile file (e.g., .bashrc or .zshrc).

Reinstall Docker Compose

In some cases, the Docker Compose installation might be corrupted. To fix this, uninstall Docker Compose and then reinstall it using the official documentation for your platform.

Update system packages

Ensure that your system packages are up to date. Outdated packages might cause conflicts with Docker Compose. Update the package lists and upgrade installed packages:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Advanced Troubleshooting

If the basic troubleshooting steps did not resolve the issue, consider these advanced solutions:

Checking user permissions

Ensure that the user has the necessary permissions to execute Docker Compose commands. Check the user’s access rights and consider running the commands with administrative privileges.

Verifying Docker Compose version

Different projects may require specific Docker Compose versions. Verify that you have the correct version installed for the project you are working on.

Docker Compose alternatives

If you still encounter issues, consider using alternative tools like Podman, which offer similar functionality to Docker Compose.


Through methodical troubleshooting, the “docker-compose command not found” problem can be fixed. Users can rapidly get Docker Compose up and running on their computers by checking the installation of Docker, checking the PATH value, and reinstalling Docker Compose. Checking permissions, versions, or looking at alternative tools can be required for more experienced users.


  1. Q: Why is Docker Compose not included with Docker Engine?
    • Docker Compose is a separate tool catering to specific use cases, and its modular nature allows users to choose whether or not to use it.
  2. Q: Can I install Docker Compose using package managers like apt or yum?
    • Yes, Docker Compose can be installed using package managers on Linux distributions.
  3. Q: Is Docker Compose available for Windows and macOS?
    • Yes, Docker Compose is compatible with Windows, macOS, and various Linux distributions.

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