Kubernetes Setup

Your Pulumi program is required to import the pulumi/kubernetes provider package to allow the Pulumi CLI to authenticate and interact with a running Kubernetes cluster.

By default, Pulumi will use a local kubeconfig if available, or one can be passed as a provider argument in the request.

With the kubeconfig available, Pulumi communicates with the API Server using the official Kubernetes client-go library, just like kubectl does.


If you do not have a cluster set up and running yet, you’ll need to do the following steps.

  1. Install the Pulumi CLI.
  2. Install a package manager for your Pulumi program language runtime, such as npm or Yarn for Node.js, or PyPI for Python.
  3. Provision a Kubernetes cluster. For a new managed Kubernetes cluster, check out the cluster guides.
  4. Download kubectl and verify the cluster is up and running.


By default, Pulumi will look for a kubeconfig file in the following locations, just like kubectl:

  • The environment variable: $KUBECONFIG,
  • Or in current user’s default kubeconfig directory: ~/.kube/config

If the kubeconfig file is not in either of these locations, Pulumi will not find it, and it will fail to authenticate against the cluster. Set one of these locations to a valid kubeconfig file, if you have not done so already.

Once the cluster is accessible, setup is complete and you can proceed to the desired tutorials.

Note: Pulumi never sends any authentication secrets or credentials to the Pulumi service. See the FAQ for more detail.


Kubernetes Configuration

The kubeconfig file defines some number of contexts. Each context is a name that is associated with a cluster, namespace, and a “user” (a local-only name that’s associated with a credential that allows access to the cluster).

To create a context, for example, you can run the kubectl set-context command as follows:

$ kubectl config \
    set-context my-context \
    --cluster=my-cluster \

If you have done this and are using the default context file, you will be able to set the configuration variable kubernetes:context in the Pulumi config system to the given context name:

$ pulumi stack init new-kube-stack
$ pulumi config set kubernetes:context my-context

If you don’t want to select a context, you can always make it the default:

$ kubectl config \
    use-context my-context

Note: Depending on a default context is a bad idea if you’re going to share your stack with others; it makes your stack dependent on ambient information not known to Pulumi, an anti-pattern that leads to unrepeatable deployments.

Additionally, the Kubernetes provider accepts many configuration settings.

These can be provided to the default Kubernetes provider via pulumi config set kubernetes:<option>, or passed to the constructor of a new kubernetes.Provider to construct a specific instance of the Kubernetes provider for your requests.

Each Kubernetes resource managed by Pulumi will have a link in the corresponding Pulumi Console to view the resource in the cluster. These links are local, and require the client run kubectl proxy beforehand to access the resource.

To learn more about kubectl proxy check out the reference docs.