What you need to know about upcoming Docker Hub rate limiting

Matt Carter

Oct 30 2020

On August 24th, we announced the implementation of rate limiting for Docker container pulls for some users. Beginning November 2, Docker will begin phasing in limits of Docker container pull requests for anonymous and free authenticated users. The limits will be fully enforced Monday, November 2, from 9-10 am PT, and then reduced to 5,000 pulls per 6 hours for anonymous and free users. This will briefly inform some users whether they are exceeding the limits, but allow service to resume within an hour. The limits will be gradually reduced over a number of weeks until the final levels (where anonymous users are limited to 100 container pulls per six hours and free users limited to 200 container pulls per six hours) are reached. All paid Docker accounts (Pro, Team or Legacy subscribers) are exempt from rate limiting. 

The rationale behind the phased implementation periods is to allow our anonymous and free tier users and integrators to see the places where anonymous CI/CD processes are pulling container images. This will allow Docker users to address the limitations in one of two ways:  upgrade to an unlimited Docker Pro or Docker Team subscription,  or adjust application pipelines to accommodate the container image request limits.  After a lot of thought and discussion, we’ve decided on this gradual, phased increase over the upcoming weeks instead of an abrupt implementation of the policy. An up-do-date status update on rate limitations is available at https://www.docker.com/increase-rate-limits.

Docker users can get an up-to-date view of their usage limits and updated status messages by querying for current pulls used as well as header messages returned from the Docker Hub API. This blog post walks developers through how they can access their current account usage as well as understanding the header messages. And finally, Docker users can avoid rate limits completely by upgrading to a Pro or Team subscription: subscription details and upgrade information is available at https://docker.com/pricing. And non-commercial open source projects can apply for a sponsored Open Source Docker account by filling out this application.  No pull rate restrictions will be applied to namespaces approved as non-commercial Open Source projects.