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Version: 3.28 (latest)

Quickstart for Calico on K3s

Big picture

This quickstart gets you a single-node K3s cluster with Calico in approximately 5 minutes. You can use this cluster for testing and development.


Use this quickstart to quickly and easily try Calico features. To deploy a cluster suitable for production, refer to Multi-node install.

The geeky details of what you get:


Before you begin

  • Make sure you have a linux host that meets the following requirements
    • x86-64 processor
    • 1CPU
    • 1GB Ram
    • 10GB free disk space
    • Ubuntu 18.04 (amd64), Ubuntu 20.04 (amd64)

K3s supports ARM processors too, this quickstart was tested against x86-64 processor environment. For more detail please visit this link.

How to

Create a single-node K3s cluster

  • Initialize the control plane using the following command:
curl -sfL | K3S_KUBECONFIG_MODE="644" INSTALL_K3S_EXEC="--flannel-backend=none --cluster-cidr= --disable-network-policy --disable=traefik" sh -
  • If is already in use within your network you must select a different pod network CIDR by replacing in the above command.

  • K3s installer generates kubeconfig file in etc directory with limited permissions, using K3S_KUBECONFIG_MODE environment you are assigning necessary permissions to the file and make it accessible for other users.

Install Calico

  1. Install the Calico operator and custom resource definitions.
kubectl create -f

Due to the large size of the CRD bundle, kubectl apply might exceed request limits. Therefore, it is recommended to use kubectl create or kubectl replace.

  1. Install Calico by creating the necessary custom resource. For more information on configuration options available in this manifest, see the installation reference.
kubectl create -f

Before creating this manifest, read its contents and make sure its settings are correct for your environment. For example, you may need to change the default IP pool CIDR to match your pod network CIDR.

Final checks

  1. Confirm that all of the pods are running using the following command.
watch kubectl get pods --all-namespaces
  1. Wait until each pod shows the STATUS of Running.
NAMESPACE         NAME                                      READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
tigera-operator tigera-operator-c9cf5b94d-gj9qp 1/1 Running 0 107s
calico-system calico-typha-7dcd87597-npqsf 1/1 Running 0 88s
calico-system calico-node-rdwwz 1/1 Running 0 88s
kube-system local-path-provisioner-6d59f47c7-4q8l2 1/1 Running 0 2m14s
kube-system metrics-server-7566d596c8-xf66d 1/1 Running 0 2m14s
kube-system coredns-8655855d6-wfdbm 1/1 Running 0 2m14s
calico-system calico-kube-controllers-89df8c6f8-7hxc5 1/1 Running 0 87s
  1. Press CTRL+C to exit watch.

  2. Confirm that you now have a node in your cluster with the following command.

kubectl get nodes -o wide

It should return something like the following.

k3s-master Ready master 40m v1.18.2+k3s1 <none> Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS 4.15.0-101-generic containerd://1.3.3-k3s2

Congratulations! You now have a single-node K3s cluster equipped with Calico.

Next steps