Setting Up Server-Side Google Tag Manager (GTM) with Docker


In today's digital landscape, tracking and analyzing user interactions on your website is essential for making informed decisions and optimizing user experiences. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a powerful tool that allows you to manage and deploy various tracking tags, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel, without needing to modify your website's code. While GTM is primarily known for its client-side capabilities, it also offers a server-side version, which can be invaluable for advanced tracking and data processing needs.

In this article, we'll walk you through the process of setting up Server-Side Google Tag Manager using Docker, complete with examples to illustrate each step. This setup provides greater flexibility and control over your data processing, making it a valuable addition to your analytics toolbox.


Before we dive into the setup process, make sure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Docker: Install Docker on your server or local development environment. You can download it from the official Docker website.
  2. Google Tag Manager Account: You should already have a Google Tag Manager account with the necessary containers and tags set up. If not, create one at Google Tag Manager.
  3. A Server or Host: You'll need a server or host where you can run Docker containers. This can be a cloud-based server or your local machine.

Step 1. Create a GTM Server Container

First, let's create a Docker container to host the Server-Side Google Tag Manager.

docker run -d -p 80:80 --name gtm-server nginx

In this example, we're using the NGINX web server as a lightweight container to act as the GTM server. Adjust the port (80) as needed.

Step 2. Set Up a Reverse Proxy

To ensure that requests to your server are correctly routed to GTM, you need to set up a reverse proxy. We can use NGINX as a reverse proxy as well. Create an NGINX configuration file (e.g., gtm-proxy.conf) with the following content.

server {
    listen 80;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://gtm-server;

Replace with your actual domain name or server IP address.

Now, link this configuration file to your NGINX container.

docker run -d -p 80:80 --name gtm-proxy -v /path/to/gtm-proxy.conf:/etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf nginx

Step 3. Configure GTM Server Container

Now that we have the server and proxy set up, it's time to configure the GTM Server container. For this, you need to set your Server-Side GTM container ID and container environment variables.

docker run -d -p 80:80 --name gtm-server \
    -v /path/to/your/gtm-server-config.json:/gtm-server/config.json \
  • GTM_CONTAINER_ID: Replace with your Server-Side GTM container ID.
  • GTM_ENVIRONMENT: Replace with your container's environment (e.g., dev, qa, prod).
  • /path/to/your/gtm-server-config.json: Mount your GTM server configuration JSON file.

Step 4. Start and Test the Containers

Start your containers:

docker start gtm-server gtm-proxy

Now, you should be able to access your Server-Side GTM setup via your domain or server IP address. Ensure everything is working correctly by visiting your website and inspecting the network requests to verify that tags are firing as expected.


Setting up Server-Side Google Tag Manager with Docker offers flexibility and control over your data processing pipeline. With this setup, you can easily manage and deploy tags, track user interactions, and process data in a controlled environment.

Remember to regularly monitor your GTM configurations and server containers to ensure they continue to meet your tracking and analytics needs. As your requirements evolve, you can adjust your GTM setup accordingly, making Docker an invaluable tool for maintaining a robust and flexible tracking infrastructure.

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