How to Install Kubernetes on Alpine Linux: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Kubernetes is a powerful container orchestration tool that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Alpine Linux, with its lightweight and security-focused design, makes a great host for Kubernetes. This tutorial will guide you through the process of installing Kubernetes on Alpine Linux.


  • A fresh installation of Alpine Linux.
  • Root access or sudo privileges.
  • A minimum of 2 GB of RAM and 2 CPUs.
  • Internet connectivity.

Step 1: Update the System

Before installing any new packages, ensure that your Alpine Linux system is up to date:

apk update
apk upgrade

Step 2: Install Necessary Dependencies

Kubernetes and its dependencies require several additional packages. Install them using the apk package manager:

apk add bash curl conntrack-tools ipset iproute2

Step 3: Disable Swap

Kubernetes requires swap to be disabled. To disable swap, run the following commands:

swapoff -a
sed -i '/ swap / s/^/#/' /etc/fstab

Step 4: Install Docker

Kubernetes uses Docker as the container runtime. Install Docker with the following commands:

apk add docker
rc-update add docker boot
service docker start

Step 5: Add Kubernetes Repository

Alpine Linux does not include Kubernetes packages by default. Add the Kubernetes repository:

echo "" >> /etc/apk/repositories
apk update

Step 6: Install Kubernetes Components

Install kubeadm, kubelet, and kubectl:

apk add kubeadm kubelet kubectl

Enable and start the kubelet service:

rc-update add kubelet boot
service kubelet start

Step 7: Configure Sysctl for Kubernetes

Kubernetes requires specific kernel parameters to be set. Create a configuration file for sysctl:

cat < /etc/sysctl.d/k8s.conf
net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-iptables = 1
net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-ip6tables = 1

Apply the new settings:

sysctl --system

Step 8: Initialize Kubernetes Cluster

Initialize the Kubernetes cluster with kubeadm:

kubeadm init --pod-network-cidr=

After the initialization is complete, you will see a kubeadm join command. Save this command as you will need it to join worker nodes to the cluster.

Step 9: Configure kubectl for the Root User

Set up the kubectl configuration for the root user:

mkdir -p $HOME/.kube
cp -i /etc/kubernetes/admin.conf $HOME/.kube/config
chown $(id -u):$(id -g) $HOME/.kube/config

Step 10: Install a Pod Network Add-on

Kubernetes requires a network add-on to manage the network communication between the pods. We will use Flannel for this purpose:

kubectl apply -f

Step 11: Join Worker Nodes (Optional)

If you have additional nodes to join the cluster, run the kubeadm join command you saved earlier on each worker node. For example:

kubeadm join <master-ip>:<master-port> --token <token> --discovery-token-ca-cert-hash sha256:<hash>

Step 12: Verify the Installation

Check the status of the nodes:

kubectl get nodes

Check the status of the pods:

kubectl get pods --all-namespaces


You have successfully installed Kubernetes on Alpine Linux. From here, you can deploy and manage containerized applications using Kubernetes. Alpine Linux’s lightweight and minimalistic nature makes it an excellent choice for running Kubernetes, especially in resource-constrained environments. Enjoy your new Kubernetes setup on Alpine Linux!

Additional Tips:

  • Always keep your system and Kubernetes components up to date.
  • Regularly monitor your cluster for any issues or performance bottlenecks.
  • Consider setting up persistent storage and configuring advanced networking features as per your needs.

By following this tutorial, you are now equipped with a basic Kubernetes cluster running on Alpine Linux, ready to handle your container orchestration needs.