Database containers


You might want to use TestContainers' database support:

  • Instead of H2 database for DAO unit tests that depend on database features that H2 doesn't emulate. TestContainers is not as performant as H2, but does give you the benefit of 100% database compatibility (since it runs a real DB inside of a container).
  • Instead of a database running on the local machine or in a VM for DAO unit tests or end-to-end integration tests that need a database to be present. In this context, the benefit of TestContainers is that the database always starts in a known state, without any contamination between test runs or on developers' local machines.

Note: Of course, it's still important to have as few tests that hit the database as possible, and make good use of mocks for components higher up the stack.

You can obtain a temporary database in one of two ways:

  • JUnit @Rule/@ClassRule: this mode starts a database inside a container before your tests and tears it down afterwards.
  • Using a specially modified JDBC URL: after making a very simple modification to your system's JDBC URL string, TestContainers will provide a disposable stand-in database that can be used without requiring modification to your application code.

TestContainers currently supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle XE and Virtuoso.

Note: Oracle XE support does not bundle the proprietary Oracle JDBC drivers - you must provide these yourself.

Examples and options

JUnit rule

Add a @Rule or @ClassRule to your test class, e.g.:

public class SimpleMySQLTest {
    public MySQLContainer mysql = new MySQLContainer();

Now, in your test code (or a suitable setup method), you can obtain details necessary to connect to this database:

  • mysql.getJdbcUrl() provides a JDBC URL your code can connect to
  • mysql.getUsername() provides the username your code should pass to the driver
  • mysql.getPassword() provides the password your code should pass to the driver

Note that if you use @Rule, you will be given an isolated container for each test method. If you use @ClassRule, you will get on isolated container for all the methods in the test class.



As long as you have TestContainers and the appropriate JDBC driver on your classpath, you can simply modify regular JDBC connection URLs to get a fresh containerized instance of the database each time your application starts up.


  • TC needs to be on your application's classpath at runtime for this to work
  • For Spring Boot you need to specify the driver manually spring.datasource.driver-class-name=org.testcontainers.jdbc.ContainerDatabaseDriver

Original URL: jdbc:mysql://somehostname:someport/databasename

Insert tc: after jdbc: as follows. Note that the hostname, port and database name will be ignored; you can leave these as-is or set them to any value.

JDBC URL examples

Simple TestContainers JDBC driver usage


(Note: this will use the latest version of MySQL)

Using TestContainers with a fixed version


Using PostgreSQL


Using an init script

TestContainers can run an initscript after the database container is started, but before your code is given a connection to it. The script must be on the classpath, and is referenced as follows:


This is useful if you have a fixed script for setting up database schema, etc.

Using an init function

Instead of running a fixed script for DB setup, it may be useful to call a Java function that you define. This is intended to allow you to trigger database schema migration tools. To do this, add TC_INITFUNCTION to the URL as follows, passing a full path to the class name and method:


The init function must be a public static method which takes a java.sql.Connection as its only parameter, e.g.

public class JDBCDriverTest {
    public static void sampleInitFunction(Connection connection) throws SQLException {
        // e.g. run schema setup or Flyway/liquibase/etc DB migrations here...

Overriding MySQL my.cnf settings

For MySQL databases, it is possible to override configuration settings using resources on the classpath. Assuming somepath/mysql_conf_override is a directory on the classpath containing .cnf files, the following URL can be used:


Any .cnf files in this classpath directory will be mapped into the database container's /etc/mysql/conf.d directory, and will be able to override server settings when the container starts.

Additional Non-standard Methods

Virtuoso SPARQL Service URL

VirtuosoContainer provides access to the SPARQL service URL

String sparqlServiceUrl = ((VirtuosoContainer)container).getSparqlUrl();

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