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Pull an Image from a Private Registry

This page shows how to create a Pod that uses a Secret to pull an image from a private Docker registry or repository.

Before you begin

To check the version, enter kubectl version.

Log in to Docker

On your laptop, you must authenticate with a registry in order to pull a private image:

docker login

When prompted, enter your Docker username and password.

The login process creates or updates a config.json file that holds an authorization token.

View the config.json file:

cat ~/.docker/config.json

The output contains a section similar to this:

{
    "auths": {
        "https://index.docker.io/v1/": {
            "auth": "c3R...zE2"
        }
    }
}
Note: If you use a Docker credentials store, you won’t see that auth entry but a credsStore entry with the name of the store as value.

Create a Secret in the cluster that holds your authorization token

A Kubernetes cluster uses the Secret of docker-registry type to authenticate with a container registry to pull a private image.

Create this Secret, naming it regcred:

kubectl create secret docker-registry regcred --docker-server=<your-registry-server> --docker-username=<your-name> --docker-password=<your-pword> --docker-email=<your-email>

where:

You have successfully set your Docker credentials in the cluster as a Secret called regcred.

Inspecting the Secret regcred

To understand the contents of the regcred Secret you just created, start by viewing the Secret in YAML format:

kubectl get secret regcred --output=yaml

The output is similar to this:

apiVersion: v1
data:
  .dockerconfigjson: eyJodHRwczovL2luZGV4L ... J0QUl6RTIifX0=
kind: Secret
metadata:
  ...
  name: regcred
  ...
type: kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson

The value of the .dockerconfigjson field is a base64 representation of your Docker credentials.

To understand what is in the .dockerconfigjson field, convert the secret data to a readable format:

kubectl get secret regcred --output="jsonpath={.data.\.dockerconfigjson}" | base64 --decode

The output is similar to this:

{"auths":{"yourprivateregistry.com":{"username":"janedoe","password":"xxxxxxxxxxx","email":"jdoe@example.com","auth":"c3R...zE2"}}}

To understand what is in the auth field, convert the base64-encoded data to a readable format:

echo "c3R...zE2" | base64 --decode

The output, username and password concatenated with a :, is similar to this:

janedoe:xxxxxxxxxxx

Notice that the Secret data contains the authorization token similar to your local ~/.docker/config.json file.

You have successfully set your Docker credentials as a Secret called regcred in the cluster.

Create a Pod that uses your Secret

Here is a configuration file for a Pod that needs access to your Docker credentials in regcred:

pods/private-reg-pod.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: private-reg
spec:
  containers:
  - name: private-reg-container
    image: <your-private-image>
  imagePullSecrets:
  - name: regcred

Download the above file:

wget -O my-private-reg-pod.yaml https://k8s.io/examples/pods/private-reg-pod.yaml

In file my-private-reg-pod.yaml, replace <your-private-image> with the path to an image in a private registry such as:

janedoe/jdoe-private:v1

To pull the image from the private registry, Kubernetes needs credentials. The imagePullSecrets field in the configuration file specifies that Kubernetes should get the credentials from a Secret named regcred.

Create a Pod that uses your Secret, and verify that the Pod is running:

kubectl create -f my-private-reg-pod.yaml
kubectl get pod private-reg

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