Today, your Linux containers are not really portable - you have to build one for each destination platform. Until now. The new Red Hat Universal Base Images enable you to build your container ONCE and freely redistribute it to multiple deployment platforms - whether Red Hat or not. Read more about UBI below, or visit the Red Hat container tools topic.

In this brief video, Red Hat's Scott McCarty demonstrates Red Hat Universal Base Images by creating a container image on Fedora, then deploying it on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

UBI graphic student at desk

Red Hat UBI is a Verified Publisher on Docker Hub

Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBI) on Docker Hub are now available as Verified Publisher images in a variety of configurations and sizes, including Micro, the newly announced variation with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4 that delivers the smallest UBl footprint for edge computing.

UBIs are Open Container Initiative (OCI)-compliant, freely redistributable, container base operating system images that include complimentary runtime languages and packages, but previously, you could only get these images from the Red Hat container catalog.

Now, you can get them in Docker Hub, making it even easier for you to build and deploy UBI-based containers anywhere.


Read the press release

What is Universal Base Image?

Announced at Red Hat Summit 2019, Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBI) are OCI-compliant container base operating system images with complementary runtime languages and packages that are freely redistributable. Like previous base images, they are built from portions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. UBI images can be obtained from the Red Hat container catalog, and be built and deployed anywhere. 

UBI is designed to be a foundation for cloud-native and web applications use cases developed in containers. You can build a containerized application using UBI, push it to your choice of registry server, easily share it with others - and because it’s freely redistributable — even deploy it on non-Red Hat platforms. And since it’s built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, UBI is a platform that is reliable, secure, and performant.

What's included in UBI?

Less than the full operating system, the Red Hat Universal Base Image includes three things:

Base Images

A set of three base images (Minimal, Standard, and Multi-service) are provided to provide optimum starting points for a variety of use cases.

Runtime Languages

A set of language runtime images (PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Node.js) enable developers to start coding out of the gate with the confidence that a Red Hat built container image provides.

Complementary packages

A set of associated YUM repositories/channels include RPM packages and updates that allow users to add application dependencies and rebuild UBI container images anytime they want.


3 UBI base image options

Red Hat provides these three base images for starting your container development:


Image name: ubi

-Unified, OpenSSL crypto stack
-Full YUM stack
-Includes useful basic OS tools (tar, gzip, vi, etc.)

UBI Platform documentation


Image name: ubi-minimal

-Minimized pre-installed content set
-No suid binaries
-Minimal package manager (install, update, and remove)

UBI minimal documentation


Image name: ubi-init

-run mysql and httpd side-by-side in the same container
-run systemd in a container on start
-Enables services at build time

UBI Multi-service documentation


Container development tools

Learn about Linux containers and Red Hat container development tools.

Container Topic page

UBI ebook cover

Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBI)


As a developer, you need a source of container base images that have many of the qualities of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but that can be consumed by your users/customers without acquiring a Red Hat subscription.

Red Hat provides this with Universal Base Images (UBI), a subset of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for building applications in containers - what’s different is they have their own unique EULA which means they are freely redistributable.

UBI provides trusted and redistributable base images. Learn all you need to know about UBI in this free resource.


Download ebook now

Container certification

Are you a software provider or Independent Software Vendor (ISV)?


In order to meet enterprise customers' security and support requirements, software vendors can take advantage of Red Hat Container Certification. Once certified, partner applications are fully supported by Red Hat when deployed on Red Hat container platforms, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Red Hat OpenShift. 

Partner benefits of Red Hat Container Certification

  • Continuous monitoring of certified images to identify security risks or outdated components.
  • Security vulnerabilities can be automatically updated and published.
  • Reduce development costs by standardizing on a robust container foundation. 
  • Prepares you for Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification to manage your application with the best enterprise distribution of Kubernetes.

Learn more about Red Hat Technical Partner Program and Container Certification.


UBI and container blog articles for you

openshift containers

3 improvements to the OpenShift 4.12 developer experience

Discover 3 new improvements to the Console in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12 and how these updates enhance the developer experience.

Featured image for Cryostat (was ContainerJFR) topics.

Configure a pod security context with Cryostat Operator

With the introduction of new security context constraints, pods must be properly configured under the enforced security standards defined globally or

Featured image for Cryostat (was ContainerJFR) topics.

New enhancements in the Cryostat 2.2 JMC agent plugin

Discover how the new Cryostat JMC agent plugin injects custom JDK flight recorder events into containerized applications in this demonstration.

UBI Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about Red Hat Universal Base Images, we hope this FAQ document has your answers.