How to install kubectl in Ubuntu

Kubernetes is a tool to orchestrate multiple different containers at the same time. Kubernetes provides a very rich set of abstractions, effectively software primitives, that automate functions for compute, storage, networking, and other infrastructure services, yet deceptively simple to set up initially.

kubectl is the command line interface of Kubernetes, You can use kubectl to manage cluster resources, deploy and inspect applications. kubectl is available on most major platforms, including Linux, macOS, and Windows.

In this article, we will show you how to install kubectl on Ubuntu. The guide is applicable to older versions of Ubuntu and many as well as Linux distros based on Ubuntu, such as Linux Mint or Pop! OS.

Update all packages

Before installing any new package or application, it is recommended that you update your system. To do this, run the commands below which invoke apt package manager to fetch a fresh package list from Ubuntu repository.

sudo apt update

Install kubectl on Ubuntu using snap

Snap is the new way of installing software on Linux systems. Snap was introduced by Canonical, the reputable company behind Ubuntu. With snaps, you can install all of an app’s dependencies with a single command, and updates are automatic and resilient. Plus, apps run in their own isolated sandbox, thus minimizing security risks.

If your Ubuntu version is higher than 16.04, snap is already installed and ready to go, you don’t have to do anything else. For those who don’t want to check OS version, Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04 and 20.04 LTS has snap built-in. But in case you’re running legacy Ubuntu versions, as well as Ubuntu flavours that don’t include snap by default, snap can be installed from the Ubuntu Software Centre by searching for snapd or running the following command.

sudo apt install snapd

If you are installing snap for the first time, it is advised to install the core package to make sure that all the basic features of snap works fine. In order to do that, run the following command in any terminal window :

sudo snap install core

Now that snap is properly set up, all you need to do to install kubectl is running the command below :

sudo snap install kubectl --classic

The --classic flag instruct snap to install kubectl as a “classic” confinement. Binaries within a snap installed with classic confinement will load the depencies from the host system, not the core snap image, so it won’t be portable between distros and versions of distros.

Once the installation completes, you can confirm that the system recognizes kubectl by running kubectl version

Install kubectl using apt

As an alternative to snap, you can add the Kubernetes repository into Ubuntu, and then use apt to fetch the up-to-date version of kubectl from Google iself.

Step 1 : Install curl on your system by running the commands below

sudo apt update sudo apt upgrade sudo apt-get install -y apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl
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Step 2 : Install public key signed by Google and add the Kubernetes repository to your system by running the commands below.

sudo curl -fsSLo /usr/share/keyrings/kubernetes-archive-keyring.gpg https://packages.cloud.google.com/apt/doc/apt-key.gpg echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/kubernetes-archive-keyring.gpg] https://apt.kubernetes.io/ kubernetes-xenial main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/kubernetes.list
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Step 3 : Update apt package index with the new repository and install kubectl by running :

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install -y kubectl
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Install kubectl binary directly

If you’re in a hurry and just wants to install kubectl as fast as you possible, you can download kubectl and install it directly on your system. You won’t be able to update it automatically in the future, but on the other side, you can fetch any specific kubectl version you want.

Before getting further, ensure that you already had curl installed on your system. If you don’t, run the following commands to install curl and its depencies.

sudo apt-get install -y apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl
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In order to install the latest version of kubectl, you can sequentially run the following commands :

curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/$(curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt)/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl chmod +x ./kubectl sudo mv ./kubectl /usr/local/bin/kubectl
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You can replace the $(curl -s https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/stable.txt) part in the commands above with a specific version to install that version instead of the latest one. For example, in order to install version 1.7.5, run:

curl -LO https://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.7.5/bin/linux/amd64/kubectl
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We hope that the information above helped you successfully install kubectl on your Ubuntu system. We’ve also covered other software installation for Linux, such as How to install Chromium browser in Debian, How to install CMake, Airflow and ADB/fastboot on Ubuntu, in case you’re interested. If you have any suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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