Data persistence

With DockerSpawner, the user’s home directory is not persistent by default, so some configuration is required to do so unless the directory is to be used with temporary or demonstration JupyterHub deployments.

The simplest version of persistence to the host filesystem is to isolate users in the filesystem, but leave everything owned by the same ‘actual’ user with DockerSpawner. That is, using docker mounts to isolate user files, not ownership or permissions on the host.

Volume mapping

Volume mapping for DockerSpawner in is required configuration for persistence. To map volumes from the host file/directory to the container (referred to as guest) file/directory mount point, set the c.DockerSpawner.volumes to specify the guest mount point (bind) for the volume.

If you use {username} in either the host or guest file/directory path, username substitution will be done and {username} will be replaced with the current user’s name.


The jupyter/docker-stacks notebook images run the Notebook server as user jovyan and set the user’s notebook directory to /home/jovyan/work.


# Explicitly set notebook directory because we'll be mounting a host volume to
# it.  Most jupyter/docker-stacks *-notebook images run the Notebook server as
# user `jovyan`, and set the notebook directory to `/home/jovyan/work`.
# We follow the same convention.
notebook_dir = os.environ.get('DOCKER_NOTEBOOK_DIR') or '/home/jovyan/work'
c.DockerSpawner.notebook_dir = notebook_dir

# Mount the real user's Docker volume on the host to the notebook user's
# notebook directory in the container
c.DockerSpawner.volumes = { 'jupyterhub-user-{username}': notebook_dir }

Memory limits

If you have jupyterhub >= 0.7, you can set a memory limit for each user’s container easily.

c.Spawner.mem_limit = '2G'

The value can either be an integer (bytes) or a string with a ‘K’, ‘M’, ‘G’ or ‘T’ prefix.


The jupyterhub-deploy-docker repo contains a reference deployment that persists the notebook directory; see its for an example configuration.

See Docker documentation on data volumes for more information on data persistence.