The build container runs out of memory

What is a Build Container?

Before we dive into the solutions, let's first understand what a build container is. A build container is a lightweight, portable container that is used to build and compile code. Build containers can help to ensure that your builds are consistent and reproducible, regardless of the environment they are run in.

Build containers typically run on top of a containerization platform like Docker. They provide an isolated environment for running build processes, which can help to avoid conflicts with other software on your system.

What Causes a Build Container to Run Out of Memory?

A build container can run out of memory for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

  • The build process requires more memory than is available in the container.
  • The build process is poorly optimised and uses more memory than necessary.
  • The container is configured with too little memory.
  • Other processes running on the host machine are consuming too much memory, leaving less available for the container.

What to Do When a Build Container Runs Out of Memory?

If you experience an issue where your build container runs out of memory, there are a few things you can try to resolve the issue.

  1. Increase the Memory Limit

The first thing you should try is to increase the memory limit for the container. You can do this by updating the container's configuration file and specifying a higher memory limit.

set -e

export NODE_OPTIONS="--max-old-space-size=4096" # Increases to 4 GB

This command sets the memory limit to 4GB. You can adjust the value as needed for your specific use case.

  1. Optimize Your Build Process

If increasing the memory limit doesn't resolve the issue, the next step is to optimize your build process. There are a variety of ways you can do this, depending on the specific issues you are encountering.

Some common optimisations include:

  • Breaking up large builds into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Using caching mechanisms to avoid re-compiling code that hasn't changed.
  • Reducing the number of dependencies required for the build process.
  • Simplifying the build process to use fewer resources.

By optimising your build process, you can reduce the amount of memory required to run the build process and avoid running out of memory.


Running out of memory in a build container can be a frustrating issue to encounter, but with a few tweaks to your configuration and build process, you can usually resolve the issue. By following the tips outlined in this article, you should be able to get your build process running smoothly once again.

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