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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 -
echo "deb https://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:

    sudo port selfupdate
    sudo 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 on Windows using Chocolatey or scoop

To install kubectl on Windows you can use either Chocolatey package manager or scoop command-line installer.

choco install kubernetes-cli
scoop install kubectl

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

    kubectl version
    
  2. Navigate to your home directory:

    cd %USERPROFILE%
    
  3. Create the .kube directory:

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

    cd .kube
    
  5. 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 v1.13.7 on macOS, type:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.13.7/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 v1.13.7 on Linux, type:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.13.7/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 v1.13.7 from this link.

    Or if you have curl installed, use this command:

    curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.13.7/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 provides autocompletion support for Bash and Zsh, which can save you a lot of typing!

Below are the procedures to set up autocompletion for Bash (including the difference between Linux and macOS) and Zsh.

Introduction

The kubectl completion script for Bash can be generated with the command kubectl completion bash. Sourcing the completion script in your shell enables kubectl autocompletion.

However, the completion script depends on bash-completion, which means that you have to install this software first (you can test if you have bash-completion already installed by running type _init_completion).

Install bash-completion

bash-completion is provided by many package managers (see here). You can install it with apt-get install bash-completion or yum install bash-completion, etc.

The above commands create /usr/share/bash-completion/bash_completion, which is the main script of bash-completion. Depending on your package manager, you have to manually source this file in your ~/.bashrc file.

To find out, reload your shell and run type _init_completion. If the command succeeds, you’re already set, otherwise add the following to your ~/.bashrc file:

source /usr/share/bash-completion/bash_completion

Reload your shell and verify that bash-completion is correctly installed by typing type _init_completion.

Enable kubectl autocompletion

You now need to ensure that the kubectl completion script gets sourced in all your shell sessions. There are two ways in which you can do this:

  • Source the completion script in your ~/.bashrc file:

    echo 'source <(kubectl completion bash)' >>~/.bashrc
  • Add the completion script to the /etc/bash_completion.d directory:

    kubectl completion bash >/etc/bash_completion.d/kubectl
Note: bash-completion sources all completion scripts in /etc/bash_completion.d.

Both approaches are equivalent. After reloading your shell, kubectl autocompletion should be working.

Warning: macOS includes Bash 3.2 by default. The kubectl completion script requires Bash 4.1+ and doesn’t work with Bash 3.2. A possible way around this is to install a newer version of Bash on macOS (see instructions here). The below instructions only work if you are using Bash 4.1+.

Introduction

The kubectl completion script for Bash can be generated with the command kubectl completion bash. Sourcing the completion script in your shell enables kubectl autocompletion.

However, the completion script depends on bash-completion, which means that you have to install this software first (you can test if you have bash-completion already installed by running type _init_completion).

Install bash-completion

You can install bash-completion with Homebrew:

brew install bash-completion@2
Note: The @2 stands for bash-completion 2, which is required by the kubectl completion script (it doesn’t work with bash-completion 1). In turn, bash-completion 2 requires Bash 4.1+, that’s why you needed to upgrade Bash.

As stated in the output of brew install (“Caveats” section), add the following lines to your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile file:

export BASH_COMPLETION_COMPAT_DIR=/usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d
[[ -r /usr/local/etc/profile.d/bash_completion.sh ]] && . /usr/local/etc/profile.d/bash_completion.sh

Reload your shell and verify that bash-completion is correctly installed by typing type _init_completion.

Enable kubectl autocompletion

You now need to ensure that the kubectl completion script gets sourced in all your shell sessions. There are multiple ways in which you can do this:

  • Source the completion script in your ~/.bashrc file:

    echo 'source <(kubectl completion bash)' >>~/.bashrc
  • Add the completion script to /usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d:

    kubectl completion bash >/usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d/kubectl
  • If you installed kubectl with Homebrew (as explained here), then the completion script was automatically installed to /usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d/kubectl. In that case, you don’t need to do anything.

Note: bash-completion (if installed with Homebrew) sources all the completion scripts in the directory that is set in the BASH_COMPLETION_COMPAT_DIR environment variable.

All approaches are equivalent. After reloading your shell, kubectl autocompletion should be working.

The kubectl completion script for Zsh can be generated with the command kubectl completion zsh. Sourcing the completion script in your shell enables kubectl autocompletion.

To do so in all your shell sessions, add the following to your ~/.zshrc file:

source <(kubectl completion zsh)

After reloading your shell, kubectl autocompletion should be working.

If you get an error like complete:13: command not found: compdef, then add the following to the beginning of your ~/.zshrc file:

autoload -Uz compinit
compinit

What's next

Learn how to launch and expose your application.

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