Essential kubectl Commands

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List a Resource from the API Server

To retrieve details of a specific resource in Kubernetes, use the following command:

kubectl get <resource-name> <obj-name> [-o yaml/json]

Describe a Resource from the API Server

To get a detailed description of a specific resource, use:

kubectl describe <resource-name> <obj-name>

Create or Update Resources from a File

To create or update resources from a YAML file, use:

kubectl apply -f obj.yaml

Delete Resources from a File

To delete resources defined in a YAML file, use:

kubectl delete -f obj.yaml
# or to destroy the resource by its name
kubectl delete <resource-name> <obj-name>

Edit a Resource in the Kubernetes Database (i.e., etcd)

To edit a resource directly in the Kubernetes database, use:

kubectl edit <resource-name> <obj-name>

Learn more about best practices for microservices

Display Inline Documentation (and Provide Useful Examples)

To display help and usage examples for a specific command, use:

kubectl create job --help
# or
kubectl help create job

Describe YAML Specification

To get a description of the YAML specification for a specific resource type, use:

kubectl explain pods.spec [--recursive]

Display Logs for a Container (i.e., stdout/stderr)

To display logs from a specific container, use:

kubectl logs <pod-name> [ -c <container-name> ]

Learn more about log management

Open an Interactive Shell Inside a Container

To open an interactive shell inside a container, use:

kubectl exec -it <pod-name> -- bash

Provide Network Access to a Pod

To listen on port 8080 locally and forward data to/from port 80 in the pod, use:

# Listen on port 8080 locally, forwarding data to/from port 80 in the pod
kubectl port-forward pod/mypod 8080:80 &

# Access the pod with an HTTP client
curl http://localhost:8080

Quickly Generate a YAML Specification

The --dry-run=client -o yaml options allow you to generate YAML without creating the resource in Kubernetes. They are very useful for quickly generating YAML files that can serve as a working base. Here is an example of its usage:

kubectl create service clusterip my-service --tcp=5678:8080 --dry-run=client -o yaml

See List of Resources in Use

This command requires the installation of ‘kubernetes-sigs/metrics-server’. To display metrics for nodes and pods, use:

kubectl top nodes
kubectl top pods

Copy Files To and From a Container

To copy files to and from a container, use:

kubectl cp <pod-name:/path/to/remote/file> </path/to/local/file>