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Version: 3.28 (latest)

Quickstart for Calico on Kubernetes

Big picture

This quickstart gets you a single-host Kubernetes cluster with Calico in approximately 15 minutes.


Use this quickstart to quickly and easily try Calico features. To deploy a cluster suitable for production, refer to Calico on Kubernetes.

Before you begin


  • A Linux host that meets the following requirements:

    • x86-64, arm64, ppc64le, or s390x processor
    • 2CPU
    • 2GB RAM
    • 10GB free disk space
    • RedHat Enterprise Linux 7.x+, CentOS 7.x+, Ubuntu 18.04+, or Debian 9.x+
  • Calico can manage cali and tunl interfaces on the host

    If NetworkManager is present on the host, see Configure NetworkManager.


Operator based installation

This quickstart guide uses the Tigera operator to install Calico. The operator provides lifecycle management for Calico exposed via the Kubernetes API defined as a custom resource definition.


It is also possible to install Calico without an operator using Kubernetes manifests directly. For platforms and guides that do not use the Tigera operator, you may notice some differences in the steps and Kubernetes resources compared to those presented in this guide.

How to

The geeky details of what you get:


Create a single-host Kubernetes cluster

  1. Follow the Kubernetes instructions to install kubeadm


    After installing kubeadm, do not power down or restart the host. Instead, continue directly to the next step.

  2. As a regular user with sudo privileges, open a terminal on the host that you installed kubeadm on.

  3. Initialize the control plane using the following command.

    sudo kubeadm init --pod-network-cidr=

    If is already in use within your network you must select a different pod network CIDR, replacing in the above command.

  4. Execute the following commands to configure kubectl (also returned by kubeadm init).

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

Install Calico

  1. Install the Tigera Calico operator and custom resource definitions.

    kubectl create -f

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

  2. 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.

  3. Confirm that all of the pods are running with the following command.

    watch kubectl get pods -n calico-system

    Wait until each pod has the STATUS of Running.


    The Tigera operator installs resources in the calico-system namespace. Other install methods may use the kube-system namespace instead.

  4. Remove the taints on the control plane so that you can schedule pods on it.

    kubectl taint nodes --all

    It should return the following.

    node/<your-hostname> untainted
  5. 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.

    <your-hostname> Ready master 52m v1.12.2 <none> Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS 4.15.0-1023-gcp docker://18.6.1

Congratulations! You now have a single-host Kubernetes cluster with Calico.

Next steps


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