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Install and Set Up kubectl

Use the Kubernetes command-line tool, kubectl, to deploy and manage applications on Kubernetes. Using kubectl, you can inspect cluster resources; create, delete, and update components; look at your new cluster; and bring up example apps.

Before you begin

You must use a kubectl version that is within one minor version difference of your cluster. For example, a v1.2 client should work with v1.1, v1.2, and v1.3 master. Using the latest version of kubectl helps avoid unforeseen issues.

Install kubectl

Here are a few methods to install kubectl.

Install kubectl binary using native package management


sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y apt-transport-https
curl -s https://packages.cloud.google.com/apt/doc/apt-key.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
sudo touch /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kubernetes.list 
echo "deb http://apt.kubernetes.io/ kubernetes-xenial main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kubernetes.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y kubectl

cat <<EOF > /etc/yum.repos.d/kubernetes.repo
[kubernetes]
name=Kubernetes
baseurl=https://packages.cloud.google.com/yum/repos/kubernetes-el7-x86_64
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
repo_gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://packages.cloud.google.com/yum/doc/yum-key.gpg https://packages.cloud.google.com/yum/doc/rpm-package-key.gpg
EOF
yum install -y kubectl

Install with snap on Ubuntu

If you are on Ubuntu or one of other Linux distributions that support snap package manager, kubectl is available as a snap application.

  1. Switch to the snap user and run the installation command:

    sudo snap install kubectl --classic
    
  2. Test to ensure the version you installed is sufficiently up-to-date:

    kubectl version
    

Install with Homebrew on macOS

If you are on macOS and using Homebrew package manager, you can install kubectl with Homebrew.

  1. Run the installation command:

    brew install kubernetes-cli
    
  2. Test to ensure the version you installed is sufficiently up-to-date:

    kubectl version
    

Install with Macports on macOS

If you are on macOS and using Macports package manager, you can install kubectl with Macports.

  1. Run the installation command:

    port install kubectl
    
  2. Test to ensure the version you installed is sufficiently up-to-date:

    kubectl version
    

Install with Powershell from PSGallery

If you are on Windows and using Powershell Gallery package manager, you can install and update kubectl with Powershell.

  1. Run the installation commands (making sure to specify a DownloadLocation):

    Install-Script -Name install-kubectl -Scope CurrentUser -Force
    install-kubectl.ps1 [-DownloadLocation <path>]
    
    Note: If you do not specify a DownloadLocation, kubectl will be installed in the user’s temp Directory.

    The installer creates $HOME/.kube and instructs it to create a config file

  2. Test to ensure the version you installed is sufficiently up-to-date:

    kubectl version
    
    Note: Updating the installation is performed by rerunning the two commands listed in step 1.

Install with Chocolatey on Windows

If you are on Windows and using Chocolatey package manager, you can install kubectl with Chocolatey.

  1. Run the installation command:

    choco install kubernetes-cli
    
  2. Test to ensure the version you installed is sufficiently up-to-date:

    kubectl version
    
  3. Change to your %HOME% directory:

    For example: cd C:\users\yourusername

  4. Create the .kube directory:

    mkdir .kube
    
  5. Change to the .kube directory you just created:

    cd .kube
    
  6. Configure kubectl to use a remote Kubernetes cluster: New-Item config -type file

    Note: Edit the config file with a text editor of your choice, such as Notepad.
    

Download as part of the Google Cloud SDK

You can install kubectl as part of the Google Cloud SDK.

  1. Install the Google Cloud SDK.
  2. Run the kubectl installation command:

    gcloud components install kubectl
    
  3. Test to ensure the version you installed is sufficiently up-to-date:

    kubectl version
    

Install kubectl binary using curl

  1. Download the latest release:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/$(curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt)/bin/darwin/amd64/kubectl
    

    To download a specific version, replace the $(curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt) portion of the command with the specific version.

    For example, to download version v1.12.0 on macOS, type:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.12.0/bin/darwin/amd64/kubectl
    
  2. Make the kubectl binary executable.

    chmod +x ./kubectl
    
  3. Move the binary in to your PATH.

    sudo mv ./kubectl /usr/local/bin/kubectl
    
  1. Download the latest release with the command:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/$(curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt)/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl
    

    To download a specific version, replace the $(curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt) portion of the command with the specific version.

    For example, to download version v1.12.0 on Linux, type:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.12.0/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl
    
  2. Make the kubectl binary executable.

    chmod +x ./kubectl
    
  3. Move the binary in to your PATH.

    sudo mv ./kubectl /usr/local/bin/kubectl
    
  1. Download the latest release v1.12.0 from this link.

    Or if you have curl installed, use this command:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.12.0/bin/windows/amd64/kubectl.exe
    

    To find out the latest stable version (for example, for scripting), take a look at https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt.

  2. Add the binary in to your PATH.

Configure kubectl

In order for kubectl to find and access a Kubernetes cluster, it needs a kubeconfig file, which is created automatically when you create a cluster using kube-up.sh or successfully deploy a Minikube cluster. See the getting started guides for more about creating clusters. If you need access to a cluster you didn’t create, see the Sharing Cluster Access document. By default, kubectl configuration is located at ~/.kube/config.

Check the kubectl configuration

Check that kubectl is properly configured by getting the cluster state:

kubectl cluster-info

If you see a URL response, kubectl is correctly configured to access your cluster.

If you see a message similar to the following, kubectl is not correctly configured or not able to connect to a Kubernetes cluster.

The connection to the server <server-name:port> was refused - did you specify the right host or port?

For example, if you are intending to run a Kubernetes cluster on your laptop (locally), you will need a tool like minikube to be installed first and then re-run the commands stated above.

If kubectl cluster-info returns the url response but you can’t access your cluster, to check whether it is configured properly, use:

kubectl cluster-info dump

Enabling shell autocompletion

kubectl includes autocompletion support, which can save a lot of typing!

The completion script itself is generated by kubectl, so you typically just need to invoke it from your profile.

Common examples are provided here. For more details, consult kubectl completion -h.

On Linux, using bash

On CentOS Linux, you may need to install the bash-completion package which is not installed by default.

yum install bash-completion -y

To add kubectl autocompletion to your current shell, run source <(kubectl completion bash).

To add kubectl autocompletion to your profile, so it is automatically loaded in future shells run:

echo "source <(kubectl completion bash)" >> ~/.bashrc

On macOS, using bash

On macOS, you will need to install bash-completion support via Homebrew first:

## If running Bash 3.2 included with macOS
brew install bash-completion
## or, if running Bash 4.1+
brew install bash-completion@2

Follow the “caveats” section of brew’s output to add the appropriate bash completion path to your local .bashrc.

If you installed kubectl using the Homebrew instructions then kubectl completion should start working immediately.

If you have installed kubectl manually, you need to add kubectl autocompletion to the bash-completion:

kubectl completion bash > $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion.d/kubectl

The Homebrew project is independent from Kubernetes, so the bash-completion packages are not guaranteed to work.

Using Zsh

If you are using zsh edit the ~/.zshrc file and add the following code to enable kubectl autocompletion:

if [ $commands[kubectl] ]; then
  source <(kubectl completion zsh)
fi

Or when using Oh-My-Zsh, edit the ~/.zshrc file and update the plugins= line to include the kubectl plugin.

plugins=(kubectl)

What's next

Learn how to launch and expose your application.