October 6, 2022
K3d is an open-source wrapper around the Rancher/SUSE K3s Kubernetes distribution that lets you run the control plane inside Docker. The entire stack runs in Docker, giving you a fully containerized cluster that’s lightweight and easy to set up. Whereas K3s is designed for a broad range of workflows, K3d focuses more specifically on development…

K3d is an open-source wrapper around the Rancher/SUSE K3s Kubernetes distribution that lets you run the control plane inside Docker. The entire stack runs in Docker, giving you a fully containerized cluster that’s lightweight and easy to set up.

Whereas K3s is designed for a broad range of workflows, K3d focuses more specifically on development situations where you’re already using Docker. It lets you spin up a Kubernetes cluster on your existing Docker host without running a virtual machine or any other system services.

This article will show you how to get up and running with a simple K3d cluster. You’ll need both Kubectl and Docker v20.10.5 or newer already installed on your system before you begin. K3d works on Linux, Mac (including via Homebrew), and Windows (via Chocolatey). This guide focuses on use with Linux; k3d CLI installation instructions for other platforms are available in the documentation.

Installing the K3d CLI

The k3d CLI provides management commands for creating and managing your clusters. You can find the latest CLI on GitHub or run…

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