A Coder workspace is designed to shutdown (triggered by either scheduled workspace inactivity or manually by users and administrators) and be rebuilt.

The persistent volume claim (or /home/<username>) mounted to the workspace ensures that the workspaces retain cloned code repositories and other personalization settings.

You can manage a Coder workspace's lifecycle at the organization-level to auto shutdown after a defined period of inactivity or when administrators want to force workspace rebuilds.


Rebuilding a workspace allows you to update to the latest image, edit resource requests, or restart your workspace after a shutdown.

Only the /home/<username> directory persists between rebuilds. Rebuilds do not affect configurations and source code within the /home/<username> subtree, even if the underlying image or its dependencies change.

Note: username is defined in the image. See Docker's image documentation


Users can configure a workspace auto-start time, which sets the time when Coder will rebuild and start their workspaces. Users typically set this time to coincide with the start of their working day.


Organizations can set an auto-off inactivity threshold. After a workspace hasn't been accessed for the specified threshold, it is shut down. A stopped workspace requires a rebuild before you can access it again.


Coder exposes a few hooks during the build process. Once a workspace is available and running on an underlying host, the following steps are taken:

  1. Injection of secrets into the workspace: Coder injects authentication for the Coder CLI, allowing the CLI to perform authenticated CLI commands. If your Coder instance is configured with a Git provider, your SSH key pair is injected during this step as well, allowing it to perform authenticated git operations.

  2. Execution of /coder/configure: Execution of this script, which is included in the workspace image, allows images to perform startup operations that are consistent across all of the workspaces that use the image. If you need your image to include modifications to /home/<user>, include the instructions in this script.

    In other words, the configure script is not run as the root user but as the /home/<user>, so configurations are stored in /home/<user>. You may also run commands with sudo, but these changes will not persist in /home/<user>.

  3. Execution of ~/personalize: Execution of this script allows you to customize your personal development workspace on each rebuild. Coder injects the personalize script into the workspace and includes cloning logic if a user has specified a dotfiles repo. Read more on personalization here.

See an opportunity to improve our docs? Make an edit.