Understand Bitnami's Rolling tags for container images



Did you know Bitnami automatically releases new tags under the following circumstances?

  • Once detected a new version of the application (always using revision 0)
  • When a fixable CVE in any system package is detected
  • If there are changes in the configuration scripts: new features, improvements, bug fixes, etc impacting Dockerfile, bash logic, ...

Container image tags uniquely identify a container image, allowing you to deploy a specific version of an image. A single image can have multiple tags associated with it. Typically, every time you publish a new version of an image, you will also update its tags to make it easier for your users to get the latest version.

This guide will explain Bitnami's tagging system and how you can use it to identify different versions of its container images.

Rolling tags

Bitnami uses rolling tags for its container images. To understand how this works, let's look at the tags for the Bitnami WordPress container image:

latest, 6, 6-debian-12, 6.4.3
  • The latest tag always points to the latest revision of the WordPress image.
  • The 6 tag is a rolling tag that always points to the latest revision of WordPress 6.y.z
  • The 6-debian-12 tag points to the latest revision of WordPress 6.y.z for Debian 12.
  • The 6.4.3 tag is a rolling tag that points to the latest revision of WordPress 6.4.3. It will be updated with different revisions or daily releases but only for WordPress 6.4.3.

When Bitnami revises container images, typically to upgrade system packages, fix bugs or improve system configuration, it also updates the container tags to point to the latest revision of the image. Therefore, the rolling tags shown above are dynamic; they will always point to the latest revision or daily release for the corresponding image.

As an example, the 6.4.3 tag might point to WordPress 6.4.3 revision 10 now but will refer to WordPress 6.4.3 revision 11 when Bitnami next updates the container image. The suffix revision number (rXX) is incremented every time Bitnami releases an updated version of the image for the same version of the application.

It is worth noting that any tags that do not explicitly specify a distribution should be assumed to refer to the base image used in the Bitnami Application Catalog, at this moment, Debian 12.

Immutable tags

What if you depend on a specific revision of an image? For these scenarios, Bitnami also attaches a static (immutable) tag to each revision. In this example, the 6.4.3-debian-12-r10 tag refers to WordPress 6.4.3 revision 10, and using this tag ensures that users always get the same image every time.

Usage recommendations

Which tag should you use and when? Follow these guidelines:

  • If you are using containers in a production environment (such as Kubernetes), Bitnami recommends using immutable tags. This ensures that your deployment is not affected if a new revision inadvertently breaks existing functionality.
  • If you are using containers for development, Bitnami suggests using rolling tags. This ensures that you are always using the latest version. Rolling tags also make it easier to use a specific version of a development tool (such as bitnami/node:18 for Node.js 18).

To learn more, consider visiting the following links:

check-circle-line exclamation-circle-line close-line
Scroll to top icon