Install Portainer BE with Docker on WSL / Docker Desktop

These installation instructions are for Portainer Business Edition (BE). For Portainer Community Edition (CE) refer to the CE install documentation.


Portainer consists of two elements, the Portainer Server, and the Portainer Agent. Both elements run as lightweight Docker containers on a Docker engine. This document will help you install the Portainer Server container on your Windows environment with WSL and Docker Desktop. To add a new WSL / Docker Desktop environment to an existing Portainer Server installation, please refer to the Portainer Agent installation instructions.

To get started, you will need:

  • The latest version of Docker Desktop installed and working.

  • Administrator access on the machine that will host your Portainer Server instance.

  • Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) installed and a Linux distribution selected. For a new installation we recommend WSL2.

  • By default, Portainer Server will expose the UI over port 9443 and expose a TCP tunnel server over port 8000. The latter is optional and is only required if you plan to use the Edge compute features with Edge agents.

  • A license key for Portainer Business Edition.

The installation instructions also make the following assumptions about your environment:

  • Your environment meets our requirements. While Portainer may work with other configurations, it may require configuration changes or have limited functionality.

  • You are accessing Docker via Unix sockets. Alternatively, you can also connect via TCP.

  • SELinux is disabled within the Linux distribution used by WSL. If you require SELinux, you will need to pass the --privileged flag to Docker when deploying Portainer.

  • Docker is running as root. Portainer with rootless Docker has some limitations, and requires additional configuration.


First, create the volume that Portainer Server will use to store its database:

docker volume create portainer_data

Then, download and install the Portainer Server container:

docker run -d -p 8000:8000 -p 9443:9443 --name portainer --restart=always -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock -v portainer_data:/data portainer/portainer-ee:latest

By default, Portainer generates and uses a self-signed SSL certificate to secure port 9443. Alternatively you can provide your own SSL certificate during installation or via the Portainer UI after installation is complete.

If you require HTTP port 9000 open for legacy reasons, add the following to your docker run command:

-p 9000:9000

Portainer Server has now been installed. You can check to see whether the Portainer Server container has started by running docker ps:

root@server:~# docker ps
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                                              COMMAND                  CREATED        STATUS        PORTS                                                                                  NAMES
f4ab79732007   portainer/portainer-ee:latest                      "/portainer"             2 weeks ago    Up 29 hours>8000/tcp, :::8000->8000/tcp,>9000/tcp, :::9443->9443/tcp   portainer

Logging In

Now that the installation is complete, you can log into your Portainer Server instance by opening a web browser and going to:


Replace localhost with the relevant IP address or FQDN if needed, and adjust the port if you changed it earlier.

You will be presented with the initial setup page for Portainer Server.

Initial setup

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