How to get started, and achieve tasks, using Kubernetes

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Sharing Cluster Access with kubeconfig

Client access to a running Kubernetes cluster can be shared by copying the kubectl client config bundle (kubeconfig). This config bundle lives in $HOME/.kube/config, and is generated by cluster/ Sample steps for sharing kubeconfig below.

1. Create a cluster

$ cluster/

2. Copy kubeconfig to new host

$ scp $HOME/.kube/config user@remotehost:/path/to/.kube/config

3. On new host, make copied config available to kubectl

$ mv /path/to/.kube/config $HOME/.kube/config
$ mv /path/to/.kube/config $PWD
# via environment variable
$ export KUBECONFIG=/path/to/.kube/config

# via commandline flag
$ kubectl ... --kubeconfig=/path/to/.kube/config

Manually Generating kubeconfig

kubeconfig is generated by kube-up but you can generate your own using (any desired subset of) the following commands.

# create kubeconfig entry
$ kubectl config set-cluster $CLUSTER_NICK \
    --server= \
    --certificate-authority=/path/to/apiserver/ca_file \
    --embed-certs=true \
    # Or if tls not needed, replace --certificate-authority and --embed-certs with
    --insecure-skip-tls-verify=true \

# create user entry
$ kubectl config set-credentials $USER_NICK \
    # bearer token credentials, generated on kube master
    --token=$token \
    # use either username|password or token, not both
    --username=$username \
    --password=$password \
    --client-certificate=/path/to/crt_file \
    --client-key=/path/to/key_file \
    --embed-certs=true \

# create context entry
$ kubectl config set-context $CONTEXT_NAME \
    --cluster=$CLUSTER_NICK \
    --user=$USER_NICK \


$ export KUBECONFIG=/path/to/standalone/.kube/config

For more details on kubeconfig see, and/or run kubectl config -h.

Merging kubeconfig Example

kubectl loads and merges config from the following locations (in order)

  1. --kubeconfig=/path/to/.kube/config command line flag
  2. KUBECONFIG=/path/to/.kube/config env variable
  3. $PWD/.kube/config
  4. $HOME/.kube/config

If you create clusters A, B on host1, and clusters C, D on host2, you can make all four clusters available on both hosts by running

# on host2, copy host1's default kubeconfig, and merge it from env
$ scp host1:/path/to/home1/.kube/config /path/to/other/.kube/config

$ export $KUBECONFIG=/path/to/other/.kube/config

# on host1, copy host2's default kubeconfig and merge it from env
$ scp host2:/path/to/home2/.kube/config /path/to/other/.kube/config

$ export $KUBECONFIG=/path/to/other/.kube/config

Detailed examples and explanation of kubeconfig loading/merging rules can be found in kubeconfig-file.


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