Reference Documentation

Design docs, concept definitions, and references for APIs and CLIs.

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kubectl Cheat Sheet

See also: Kubectl Overview and JsonPath Guide.

Kubectl Autocomplete

$ source <(kubectl completion bash) # setup autocomplete in bash, bash-completion package should be installed first.
$ source <(kubectl completion zsh)  # setup autocomplete in zsh

Kubectl Context and Configuration

Set which Kubernetes cluster kubectl communicates with and modify configuration information. See kubeconfig file documentation for detailed config file information.

$ kubectl config view # Show Merged kubeconfig settings.

# use multiple kubeconfig files at the same time and view merged config
$ KUBECONFIG=~/.kube/config:~/.kube/kubconfig2 kubectl config view

# Get the password for the e2e user
$ kubectl config view -o jsonpath='{.users[?( == "e2e")].user.password}'

$ kubectl config current-context              # Display the current-context
$ kubectl config use-context my-cluster-name  # set the default context to my-cluster-name

# add a new cluster to your kubeconf that supports basic auth
$ kubectl config set-credentials kubeuser/ --username=kubeuser --password=kubepassword

# set a context utilizing a specific username and namespace.
$ kubectl config set-context gce --user=cluster-admin --namespace=foo \
  && kubectl config use-context gce

Creating Objects

Kubernetes manifests can be defined in json or yaml. The file extension .yaml, .yml, and .json can be used.

$ kubectl create -f ./my-manifest.yaml           # create resource(s)
$ kubectl create -f ./my1.yaml -f ./my2.yaml     # create from multiple files
$ kubectl create -f ./dir                        # create resource(s) in all manifest files in dir
$ kubectl create -f         # create resource(s) from url
$ kubectl run nginx --image=nginx                # start a single instance of nginx
$ kubectl explain pods,svc                       # get the documentation for pod and svc manifests

# Create multiple YAML objects from stdin
$ cat <<EOF | kubectl create -f -
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: busybox-sleep
  - name: busybox
    image: busybox
    - sleep
    - "1000000"
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: busybox-sleep-less
  - name: busybox
    image: busybox
    - sleep
    - "1000"

# Create a secret with several keys
$ cat <<EOF | kubectl create -f -
apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: mysecret
type: Opaque
  password: $(echo "s33msi4" | base64)
  username: $(echo "jane" | base64)

Viewing, Finding Resources

# Get commands with basic output
$ kubectl get services                          # List all services in the namespace
$ kubectl get pods --all-namespaces             # List all pods in all namespaces
$ kubectl get pods -o wide                      # List all pods in the namespace, with more details
$ kubectl get deployment my-dep                 # List a particular deployment

# Describe commands with verbose output
$ kubectl describe nodes my-node
$ kubectl describe pods my-pod

$ kubectl get services # List Services Sorted by Name

# List pods Sorted by Restart Count
$ kubectl get pods --sort-by='.status.containerStatuses[0].restartCount'

# Get the version label of all pods with label app=cassandra
$ kubectl get pods --selector=app=cassandra rc -o \

# Get ExternalIPs of all nodes
$ kubectl get nodes -o jsonpath='{.items[*].status.addresses[?(@.type=="ExternalIP")].address}'

# List Names of Pods that belong to Particular RC
# "jq" command useful for transformations that are too complex for jsonpath
$ sel=${$(kubectl get rc my-rc --output=json | jq -j '.spec.selector | to_entries | .[] | "\(.key)=\(.value),"')%?}
$ echo $(kubectl get pods --selector=$sel --output=jsonpath={})

# Check which nodes are ready
$ JSONPATH='{range .items[*]}{}:{range @.status.conditions[*]}{@.type}={@.status};{end}{end}' \
 && kubectl get nodes -o jsonpath=$JSONPATH | grep "Ready=True"

Updating Resources

$ kubectl rolling-update frontend-v1 -f frontend-v2.json           # Rolling update pods of frontend-v1
$ kubectl rolling-update frontend-v1 frontend-v2 --image=image:v2  # Change the name of the resource and update the image
$ kubectl rolling-update frontend --image=image:v2                 # Update the pods image of frontend
$ kubectl rolling-update frontend-v1 frontend-v2 --rollback        # Abort existing rollout in progress
$ cat pod.json | kubectl replace -f -                              # Replace a pod based on the JSON passed into stdin

# Force replace, delete and then re-create the resource. Will cause a service outage.
$ kubectl replace --force -f ./pod.json

# Create a service for a replicated nginx, which serves on port 80 and connects to the containers on port 8000
$ kubectl expose rc nginx --port=80 --target-port=8000

# Update a single-container pod's image version (tag) to v4
$ kubectl get pod mypod -o yaml | sed 's/\(image: myimage\):.*$/\1:v4/' | kubectl replace -f -

$ kubectl label pods my-pod new-label=awesome                      # Add a Label
$ kubectl annotate pods my-pod icon-url=       # Add an annotation
$ kubectl autoscale deployment foo --min=2 --max=10                # Auto scale a deployment "foo"

Patching Resources

Patch a resource(s) with a strategic merge patch.

$ kubectl patch node k8s-node-1 -p '{"spec":{"unschedulable":true}}' # Partially update a node

# Update a container's image; spec.containers[*].name is required because it's a merge key
$ kubectl patch pod valid-pod -p '{"spec":{"containers":[{"name":"kubernetes-serve-hostname","image":"new image"}]}}'

# Update a container's image using a json patch with positional arrays
$ kubectl patch pod valid-pod --type='json' -p='[{"op": "replace", "path": "/spec/containers/0/image", "value":"new image"}]'

Editing Resources

The edit any API resource in an editor.

$ kubectl edit svc/docker-registry                      # Edit the service named docker-registry
$ KUBE_EDITOR="nano" kubectl edit svc/docker-registry   # Use an alternative editor

Scaling Resources

$ kubectl scale --replicas=3 rs/foo                                 # Scale a replicaset named 'foo' to 3
$ kubectl scale --replicas=3 -f foo.yaml                            # Scale a resource specified in "foo.yaml" to 3
$ kubectl scale --current-replicas=2 --replicas=3 deployment/mysql  # If the deployment named mysql's current size is 2, scale mysql to 3
$ kubectl scale --replicas=5 rc/foo rc/bar rc/baz                   # Scale multiple replication controllers

Deleting Resources

$ kubectl delete -f ./pod.json                      # Delete a pod using the type and name specified in pod.json
$ kubectl delete pod,service baz foo                # Delete pods and services with same names "baz" and "foo"
$ kubectl delete pods,services -l name=myLabel      # Delete pods and services with label name=myLabel
$ kubectl -n my-ns delete po,svc --all              # Delete all pods and services in namespace my-ns

Interacting with running Pods

$ kubectl logs my-pod                                 # dump pod logs (stdout)
$ kubectl logs -f my-pod                              # stream pod logs (stdout)
$ kubectl run -i --tty busybox --image=busybox -- sh  # Run pod as interactive shell
$ kubectl attach my-pod -i                            # Attach to Running Container
$ kubectl port-forward my-pod 5000 6000               # Forward port 6000 of Pod to your to 5000 on your local machine
$ kubectl port-forward my-svc 6000                    # Forward port to service
$ kubectl exec my-pod -- ls /                         # Run command in existing pod (1 container case)
$ kubectl exec my-pod -c my-container -- ls /         # Run command in existing pod (multi-container case)
$ kubectl top pod POD_NAME --containers               # Show metrics for a given pod and its containers

Interacting with Nodes and Cluster

$ kubectl cordon my-node                                                # Mark my-node as unschedulable
$ kubectl drain my-node                                                 # Drain my-node in preparation for maintenance
$ kubectl uncordon my-node                                              # Mark my-node as schedulable
$ kubectl top node my-node                                              # Show metrics for a given node
$ kubectl cluster-info                                                  # Display addresses of the master and services
$ kubectl cluster-info dump                                             # Dump current cluster state to stdout
$ kubectl cluster-info dump --output-directory=/path/to/cluster-state   # Dump current cluster state to /path/to/cluster-state

# If a taint with that key and effect already exists, its value is replaced as specified.
$ kubectl taint nodes foo dedicated=special-user:NoSchedule

Resource types

The following table includes a list of all the supported resource types and their abbreviated aliases.

Resource type Abbreviated alias
componentstatuses cs
configmaps cm
daemonsets ds
deployments deploy
endpoints ep
event ev
horizontalpodautoscalers hpa
ingresses ing
limitranges limits
namespaces ns
nodes no
persistentvolumeclaims pvc
persistentvolumes pv
pods po
podsecuritypolicies psp
replicasets rs
replicationcontrollers rc
resourcequotas quota
serviceaccount sa
services svc

Formatting output

To output details to your terminal window in a specific format, you can add either the -o or -output flags to a supported kubectl command.

Output format Description
-o=custom-columns=<spec> Print a table using a comma separated list of custom columns
-o=custom-columns-file=<filename> Print a table using the custom columns template in the <filename> file
-o=json Output a JSON formatted API object
-o=jsonpath=<template> Print the fields defined in a jsonpath expression
-o=jsonpath-file=<filename> Print the fields defined by the jsonpath expression in the <filename> file
-o=name Print only the resource name and nothing else
-o=wide Output in the plain-text format with any additional information, and for pods, the node name is included
-o=yaml Output a YAML formatted API object

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