Installation

Flux install, bootstrap, upgrade and uninstall documentation.

This guide walks you through setting up Flux to manage one or more Kubernetes clusters.

Prerequisites

You will need a Kubernetes cluster that matches one of the following versions:

Kubernetes versionMinimum required
v1.20>= 1.20.6
v1.21>= 1.21.0
v1.22>= 1.22.0
v1.23 and later>= 1.23.0

Note that Flux may work on Kubernetes 1.19, but we don’t recommend running EOL versions in production.

Install the Flux CLI

The Flux CLI is available as a binary executable for all major platforms, the binaries can be downloaded form GitHub releases page.

With Homebrew for macOS and Linux:

brew install fluxcd/tap/flux

With Bash for macOS and Linux:

curl -s https://fluxcd.io/install.sh | sudo bash

With yay (or another AUR helper) for Arch Linux:

yay -S flux-bin

With nix-env for NixOS:

nix-env -i fluxcd

With Chocolatey for Windows:

choco install flux

To configure your shell to load flux bash completions add to your profile:

. <(flux completion bash)

zsh, fish, and powershell are also supported with their own sub-commands.

A container image with kubectl and flux is available on DockerHub and GitHub:

  • docker.io/fluxcd/flux-cli:<version>
  • ghcr.io/fluxcd/flux-cli:<version>

Bootstrap

Using the flux bootstrap command you can install Flux on a Kubernetes cluster and configure it to manage itself from a Git repository.

If the Flux components are present on the cluster, the bootstrap command will perform an upgrade if needed. The bootstrap is idempotent, it’s safe to run the command as many times as you want.

The Flux component images are published to DockerHub and GitHub Container Registry as multi-arch container images with support for Linux amd64, arm64 and armv7 (e.g. 32bit Raspberry Pi) architectures.

If your Git provider is AWS CodeCommit, Azure DevOps, Bitbucket Server, GitHub or GitLab please follow the specific bootstrap procedure:

Generic Git Server

The bootstrap git command takes an existing Git repository, clones it and commits the Flux components manifests to the specified branch. Then it configures the target cluster to synchronize with that repository.

Run bootstrap for a Git repository and authenticate with your SSH agent:

flux bootstrap git \
  --url=ssh://git@<host>/<org>/<repository> \
  --branch=<my-branch> \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

The above command will generate an SSH key (defaults to RSA 2048 but can be changed with --ssh-key-algorithm), and it will prompt you to add the SSH public key as a deploy key to your repository.

If you want to use your own SSH key, you can provide a private key using --private-key-file=<path/to/private.key> (you can supply the passphrase with --password=<key-passphrase>). This option can also be used if no SSH agent is available on your machine.

If your Git server doesn’t support SSH, you can run bootstrap for Git over HTTPS:

flux bootstrap git \
  --url=https://<host>/<org>/<repository> \
  --username=<my-username> \
  --password=<my-password> \
  --token-auth=true \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

If your Git server uses a self-signed TLS certificate, you can specify the CA file with --ca-file=<path/to/ca.crt>.

With --path you can configure the directory which will be used to reconcile the target cluster. To control multiple clusters from the same Git repository, you have to set a unique path per cluster e.g. clusters/staging and clusters/production:

./clusters/
├── staging # <- path=clusters/staging
│   └── flux-system # <- namespace dir generated by bootstrap
│       ├── gotk-components.yaml
│       ├── gotk-sync.yaml
│       └── kustomization.yaml
└── production # <- path=clusters/production
    └── flux-system

After running bootstrap you can place Kubernetes YAMLs inside a dir under path e.g. clusters/staging/my-app, and Flux will reconcile them on your cluster.

For examples on how you can structure your Git repository see:

GitHub and GitHub Enterprise

The bootstrap github command creates a GitHub repository if one doesn’t exist and commits the Flux components manifests to specified branch. Then it configures the target cluster to synchronize with that repository by setting up an SSH deploy key or by using token-based authentication.

Generate a personal access token (PAT) that can create repositories by checking all permissions under repo. If a pre-existing repository is to be used the PAT’s user will require admin permissions on the repository in order to create a deploy key.

Export your GitHub personal access token as an environment variable:

export GITHUB_TOKEN=<your-token>

Run the bootstrap for a repository on your personal GitHub account:

flux bootstrap github \
  --owner=my-github-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster \
  --personal

Run the bootstrap for a repository owned by a GitHub organization:

flux bootstrap github \
  --owner=my-github-organization \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --team=team1-slug \
  --team=team2-slug \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

When you specify a list of teams, those teams will be granted maintainer access to the repository.

To run the bootstrap for a repository hosted on GitHub Enterprise, you have to specify your GitHub hostname:

flux bootstrap github \
  --hostname=my-github-enterprise.com \
  --ssh-hostname=my-github-enterprise.com \
  --owner=my-github-organization \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

If your GitHub Enterprise has SSH access disabled, you can use HTTPS and token authentication with:

flux bootstrap github \
  --token-auth \
  --hostname=my-github-enterprise.com \
  --owner=my-github-organization \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

GitLab and GitLab Enterprise

The bootstrap gitlab command creates a GitLab repository if one doesn’t exist and commits the Flux components manifests to specified branch. Then it configures the target cluster to synchronize with that repository by setting up an SSH deploy key or by using token-based authentication.

Generate a personal access token that grants complete read/write access to the GitLab API.

Export your GitLab personal access token as an environment variable:

export GITLAB_TOKEN=<your-token>

Run the bootstrap for a repository on your personal GitLab account:

flux bootstrap gitlab \
  --owner=my-gitlab-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=master \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster \
  --token-auth \
  --personal

To run the bootstrap for a repository using deploy keys for authentication, you have to specify the SSH hostname:

flux bootstrap gitlab \
  --ssh-hostname=gitlab.com \
  --owner=my-gitlab-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=master \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

Run the bootstrap for a repository owned by a GitLab (sub)group:

flux bootstrap gitlab \
  --owner=my-gitlab-group/my-gitlab-subgroup \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=master \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

To run the bootstrap for a repository hosted on GitLab on-prem or enterprise, you have to specify your GitLab hostname:

flux bootstrap gitlab \
  --hostname=my-gitlab.com \
  --token-auth \
  --owner=my-gitlab-group \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=master \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

Bitbucket Server and Data Center

The bootstrap bitbucket-server command creates a Bitbucket Server repository if one doesn’t exist and commits the Flux components manifests to the specified branch. Then it configures the target cluster to synchronize with that repository by setting up an SSH deploy key or by using token-based authentication.

Generate a personal access token that grant read/write access to the repository.

Export your Bitbucket personal access token as an environment variable:

export BITBUCKET_TOKEN=<your-token>

Run the bootstrap for a repository on your personal Bitbucket Server account:

flux bootstrap bitbucket-server \
  --owner=my-bitbucket-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster \
  --hostname=my-bitbucket-server.com \
  --personal

Run the bootstrap for a repository owned by a Bitbucket Server project:

flux bootstrap bitbucket-server \
  --owner=my-bitbucket-project \
  --username=my-bitbucket-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster \
  --hostname=my-bitbucket-server.com \
  --group=group-name 

When you specify a list of groups, those teams will be granted write access to the repository.

Note: The username is mandatory for project owned repositories. The specified user must own the BITBUCKET_TOKEN and have sufficient rights on the target project to create repositories.

To run the bootstrap for a repository with a different SSH hostname (e.g. with a different port):

flux bootstrap bitbucket-server \
  --hostname=my-bitbucket-server.com \
  --ssh-hostname=my-bitbucket-server.com:7999 \
  --owner=my-bitbucket-project \
  --username=my-bitbucket-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

If your Bitbucket Server has SSH access disabled, you can use HTTPS and token authentication with:

flux bootstrap bitbucket-server \
  --token-auth \
  --hostname=my-bitbucket-server.com \
  --owner=my-bitbucket-project \
  --username=my-bitbucket-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

Air-gapped Environments

To bootstrap Flux on air-gapped environments without access to github.com and ghcr.io, first you’ll need to download the flux binary, and the container images from a computer with access to internet.

List all container images:

$ flux install --export | grep ghcr.io

image: ghcr.io/fluxcd/helm-controller:v0.8.0
image: ghcr.io/fluxcd/kustomize-controller:v0.9.0
image: ghcr.io/fluxcd/notification-controller:v0.9.0
image: ghcr.io/fluxcd/source-controller:v0.9.0

Pull the images locally and push them to your container registry:

docker pull ghcr.io/fluxcd/source-controller:v0.9.0
docker tag ghcr.io/fluxcd/source-controller:v0.9.0 registry.internal/fluxcd/source-controller:v0.9.0
docker push registry.internal/fluxcd/source-controller:v0.9.0

Copy flux binary to a computer with access to your air-gapped cluster, and create the pull secret in the flux-system namespace:

kubectl create ns flux-system

kubectl -n flux-system create secret generic regcred \
    --from-file=.dockerconfigjson=/.docker/config.json \
    --type=kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson

Finally, bootstrap Flux using the images from your private registry:

flux bootstrap <GIT-PROVIDER> \
  --registry=registry.internal/fluxcd \
  --image-pull-secret=regcred \
  --hostname=my-git-server.internal

Note that when running flux bootstrap without specifying a --version, the CLI will use the manifests embedded in its binary instead of downloading them from GitHub. You can determine which version you’ll be installing, with flux --version.

Bootstrap with Terraform

The bootstrap procedure can be implemented with Terraform using the Flux provider published on registry.terraform.io.

The provider consists of two data sources (flux_install and flux_sync) for generating the Kubernetes manifests that can be used to install or upgrade Flux:

data "flux_install" "main" {
  target_path    = "clusters/my-cluster"
  network_policy = false
  version        = "latest"
}

data "flux_sync" "main" {
  target_path = "clusters/my-cluster"
  url         = "https://github.com/${var.github_owner}/${var.repository_name}"
  branch      = "main"
}

For more details on how to use the Terraform provider please see fluxcd/terraform-provider-flux.

Customize Flux manifests

You can customize the Flux components before or after running bootstrap.

Assuming you want to customise the Flux controllers before they get deployed on the cluster, first you’ll need to create a Git repository and clone it locally.

Create the file structure required by bootstrap with:

mkdir -p clusters/my-cluster/flux-system
touch clusters/my-cluster/flux-system/gotk-components.yaml \
    clusters/my-cluster/flux-system/gotk-sync.yaml \
    clusters/my-cluster/flux-system/kustomization.yaml

Add patches to kustomization.yaml:

apiVersion: kustomize.config.k8s.io/v1beta1
kind: Kustomization
resources: # manifests generated during bootstrap
  - gotk-components.yaml
  - gotk-sync.yaml

patches: # customize the manifests during bootstrap
  - target:
      kind: Deployment
      labelSelector: app.kubernetes.io/part-of=flux
    patch: |
            # strategic merge or JSON patch

Push the changes to main branch:

git add -A && git commit -m "init flux" && git push

And run the bootstrap for clusters/my-cluster:

flux bootstrap git \
  --url=ssh://git@<host>/<org>/<repository> \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster

To make further amendments, pull the changes locally, edit the kustomization.yaml file, push the changes upstream and rerun bootstrap or let Flux upgrade itself.

Checkout the bootstrap cheatsheet for various examples of how to customize Flux.

Multi-tenancy lockdown

Assuming you want to lock down Flux on multi-tenant clusters, add the following patches to clusters/my-cluster/flux-system/kustomization.yaml:

apiVersion: kustomize.config.k8s.io/v1beta1
kind: Kustomization
resources:
  - gotk-components.yaml
  - gotk-sync.yaml
patches:
  - patch: |
      - op: add
        path: /spec/template/spec/containers/0/args/0
        value: --no-cross-namespace-refs=true      
    target:
      kind: Deployment
      name: "(kustomize-controller|helm-controller|notification-controller|image-reflector-controller|image-automation-controller)"
  - patch: |
      - op: add
        path: /spec/template/spec/containers/0/args/-
        value: --no-remote-bases=true      
    target:
      kind: Deployment
      name: "kustomize-controller"
  - patch: |
      - op: add
        path: /spec/template/spec/containers/0/args/0
        value: --default-service-account=default      
    target:
      kind: Deployment
      name: "(kustomize-controller|helm-controller)"
  - patch: |
      - op: add
        path: /spec/serviceAccountName
        value: kustomize-controller      
    target:
      kind: Kustomization
      name: "flux-system"

With the above configuration, Flux will:

  • Deny cross-namespace access to Flux custom resources, thus ensuring that a tenant can’t use another tenant’s sources or subscribe to their events.
  • Deny accesses to Kustomize remote bases, thus ensuring all resources refer to local files, meaning only the Flux Sources can affect the cluster-state.
  • All Kustomizations and HelmReleases which don’t have spec.serviceAccountName specified, will use the default account from the tenant’s namespace. Tenants have to specify a service account in their Flux resources to be able to deploy workloads in their namespaces as the default account has no permissions.
  • The flux-system Kustomization is set to reconcile under a service account with cluster-admin role, allowing platform admins to configure cluster-wide resources and provision the tenant’s namespaces, service accounts and RBAC.

To apply these patches, push the changes to the main branch and run flux bootstrap.

Dev install

For testing purposes you can install Flux without storing its manifests in a Git repository:

flux install

Or using kubectl:

kubectl apply -f https://github.com/fluxcd/flux2/releases/latest/download/install.yaml

Then you can register Git repositories and reconcile them on your cluster:

flux create source git podinfo \
  --url=https://github.com/stefanprodan/podinfo \
  --tag-semver=">=4.0.0" \
  --interval=1m

flux create kustomization podinfo-default \
  --source=podinfo \
  --path="./kustomize" \
  --prune=true \
  --validation=client \
  --interval=10m \
  --health-check="Deployment/podinfo.default" \
  --health-check-timeout=2m

You can register Helm repositories and create Helm releases:

flux create source helm bitnami \
  --interval=1h \
  --url=https://charts.bitnami.com/bitnami

flux create helmrelease nginx \
  --interval=1h \
  --release-name=nginx-ingress-controller \
  --target-namespace=kube-system \
  --source=HelmRepository/bitnami \
  --chart=nginx-ingress-controller \
  --chart-version="5.x.x"

Deploy key rotation

To rotate the SSH key generated at bootstrap, first delete the secret from the cluster with:

kubectl -n flux-system delete secret flux-system

Then generate a new secret with:

flux create secret git flux-system \
  --url=ssh://git@<host>/<org>/<repository>

The above command will print the SSH public key, once you set it as the deploy key, Flux will resume all operations.

Upgrade

Update Flux CLI to the latest release with brew upgrade fluxcd/tap/flux or by downloading the binary from GitHub.

Verify that you are running the latest version with:

flux --version

Bootstrap upgrade

If you’ve used the bootstrap procedure to deploy Flux, then rerun the bootstrap command for each cluster using the same arguments as before:

flux bootstrap github \
  --owner=my-github-username \
  --repository=my-repository \
  --branch=main \
  --path=clusters/my-cluster \
  --personal

The above command will clone the repository, it will update the components manifest in <path>/flux-system/gotk-components.yaml and it will push the changes to the remote branch.

Tell Flux to pull the manifests from Git and upgrade itself with:

flux reconcile source git flux-system

Verify that the controllers have been upgrade with:

flux check

Terraform upgrade

Update the Flux provider to the latest release and run terraform apply.

Tell Flux to upgrade itself in-cluster or wait for it to pull the latest commit from Git:

kubectl annotate --overwrite gitrepository/flux-system reconcile.fluxcd.io/requestedAt="$(date +%s)"

In-cluster upgrade

If you’ve installed Flux directly on the cluster, then rerun the install command:

flux install

The above command will apply the new manifests on your cluster. You can verify that the controllers have been upgraded to the latest version with flux check.

If you’ve installed Flux directly on the cluster with kubectl, then rerun the command using the latest manifests from the main branch:

kustomize build https://github.com/fluxcd/flux2/manifests/install?ref=main | kubectl apply -f-

Uninstall

You can uninstall Flux with:

flux uninstall --namespace=flux-system

The above command performs the following operations:

  • deletes Flux components (deployments and services)
  • deletes Flux network policies
  • deletes Flux RBAC (service accounts, cluster roles and cluster role bindings)
  • removes the Kubernetes finalizers from Flux custom resources
  • deletes Flux custom resource definitions and custom resources
  • deletes the namespace where Flux was installed

If you’ve installed Flux in a namespace that you wish to preserve, you can skip the namespace deletion with:

flux uninstall --namespace=infra --keep-namespace