To deploy Kubernetes in Rancher, you’ll first need to create a new environment that has an environment template with the container orchestration set as Kubernetes.

Creating a Kubernetes Environment

In the dropdown of environments, click on the Manage Environments. To create a new environment, click on Add Environment, provide a Name, Description (Optional), and select an environment template that has Kubernetes as the orchestration. If access control is turned on, you can add members and select their membership role. Anyone added to the membership list would have access to your environment.

After a Kubernetes environment has been created, you can navigate to the environment by either selecting the name of the environment in the environment’s dropdown in the upper left hand corner or by selecting Switch to this Environment in the specific environment’s drop down.

Note: As Rancher adds support for multiple container orchestration frameworks, Rancher currently does not support the ability to switch between environments that already have services running in it.

Starting Kubernetes

After a Kubernetes environment has been created, the infrastructure services will not be started until you add at least one host to your environment. The process of adding hosts is the same steps for all container orchestration types. Once the first host has been added, Rancher will automatically start the deployment of the infrastructure services including the Kubernetes services (i.e. master, kubelet, etcd, proxy, etc.). You can see the progress of the deployment by accessing the Kubernetes -> Infrastructure Stacks tab.

Note: Only admins of Rancher or owners of the environment will be able to view the infrastructure services.

When adding hosts to Kubernetes, the hostnames are used as unique identifiers for Kubernetes nodes when using kubectl get nodes.

Using Kubernetes

Once the setup has completed, you can begin to create or manage your own Kubernetes applications via the following ways:

Rancher Catalog

Rancher supports the capability of hosting a catalog of Kubernetes templates. To use a template, click on the Catalog tab. Select the template that you want to launch and click View Details. Review and edit the stack name, stack description, and configuration options and click on Launch.

If you want to add your own templates to Kubernetes, you add them to the Rancher catalog and place your templates in a kubernetes-templates folder.


To configure your own kubectl to talk to your newly created Kubernetes cluster, go to Kubernetes -> kubectl. Click on Generate Config to generate the necessary kube/config_file that you can download and add to your local directory.

In the config file, it provides the necessary information for your local machine so that anything you launch using kubectl will be displayed in Rancher.

kubectl via Shell

Rancher provides a convenient shell access to a managed kubectl instance that can be used to manage Kubernetes clusters and applications.

Adding a Private Registry To Kubernetes

Private registries can be used with Kubernetes services by adding your private registry in your Kubernetes environment.