Last modified April 10, 2018

Installing the Kubernetes Dashboard

Kubernetes Dashboard is the official general purpose web UI for Kubernetes clusters. It can show you all running workloads in your cluster and even includes some functionality to control and change those workloads. It can show logs of your pods and if you have Heapster monitoring installed also some basic resource usage.

Kubernetes Dashboard

Keep in mind that Dashboard despite it 1.x version number is still an early-stage effort and might miss certain functionality (e.g. no cascaded deletes like kubectl).

If you want to have some simple metrics (as shown in the screenshot above) integrated in your Dashboard, you can additionally install Heapster.

Deploying dashboard

Deploying dashboard is easy and straight forward.

$ kubectl apply -f

Once the pod is running you can open Dashboard at https://api.<cluster-id>

Note: The above URL uses your K8s API to proxy to the service. As the K8s API is guarded with your credentials, you need to set them up in your system (and/or browser). We do not recommend to set up an Ingress for the Dashboard at this time, as opening up the dashboard to public would create a non-official workaround to access K8s api. Pleae validate this with your security department and check the Heptio blog post On Securing the Kubernetes Dashboard

Alternatively, you can run

$ kubectl proxy

and then open your browser at http://localhost:8001/api/v1/namespaces/kube-system/services/https:kubernetes-dashboard:/proxy/. You should see the authentication page for your dashboard, it is securely exposed.

Kubernetes Dashboard Authentication

You need to generate a Service Account token be have access to the dashboard.

Create a cluster admin service account

You can create a service account with cluster-admin role that will have access to all your resources.

$ kubectl create serviceaccount cluster-admin-dashboard-sa
$ kubectl create clusterrolebinding cluster-admin-dashboard-sa \
  --clusterrole=cluster-admin \

Copy the token from the generated secret

$ kubectl get secret | grep cluster-admin-dashboard-sa
cluster-admin-dashboard-sa-token-6xm8l   3         18m

$ kubectl describe secret cluster-admin-dashboard-sa-token-6xm8l
Name:         cluster-admin-dashboard-sa-token-6xm8l
Namespace:    default
Labels:       <none>


ca.crt:     1314 bytes
namespace:  7 bytes
token:      eyJhbGciOiJSUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpc3MiOiJrdWJlcm5ldGVzL3NlcnZpY2VhY2NvdW50Iiwia3ViZXJuZXRlcy5pby9zZXJ2aWNlYWNjb3VudC9uYW1lc3BhY2UiOiJkZWZhdWx0Iiwia3ViZXJuZXRlcy5pby9zZXJ2aWNlYWNjb3VudC9zZWNyZXQubmFtZSI6Im15LWRhc2hib2FyZC1zYS10b2tlbi02eG04bCIsImt1YmVybmV0ZXMuaW8vc2VydmljZWFjY291bnQvc2VydmljZS1hY2NvdW50Lm5hbWUiOiJteS1kYXNoYm9hcmQtc2EiLCJrdWJlcm5ldGVzLmlvL3NlcnZpY2VhY2NvdW50L3NlcnZpY2UtYWNjb3VudC51aWQiOiJhY2JhNTZhMS0zY2ExLTExZTgtYjcyZi0wMDBkM2EyNzVlM2QiLCJzdWIiOiJzeXN0ZW06c2VydmljZWFjY291bnQ6ZGVmYXVsdDpteS1kYXNoYm9hcmQtc2EifQ.ovu7b1NYI4EqoPO-_54nbSdL50xqrkSSsB6HTEQ12aT_dgWr9QctkXIXgNYmSdOcgoCb4HbLsGZ0kWqG6KDwlPlOiPD_FzGeAPAiWCd_vHBHt1CAGeOsXa2b4-wKTt_iFaIKxS79mm_MsCoFilPUvdxzteC6hzYesSsq03faZkAXCGNQietgcn2Nw8BcvR2V7CgOnt87EMFz_4WNTLRSsaiu1QXW_YFMF1Wj3NG2IofX2g7dQwEavcm_tCq-dXCcSbvWbFutXOWzW5zmuIjDa4nmUOUzVKshEuzoPRtgjNV__WVvVC74Nhs6FC19F8FHYr0N7-IlSxGkaYven1ZSCE

Use this token to log into the dashboard.

Create limited resources access service account

You can restrict the cluster access by creating a limited clusterrole.

The following example allow a user to only see pods and namespaces:

Create the pod-viewer-role.yaml file with the following content:

kind: ClusterRole
  name: pod-viewer
- apiGroups: [""] # core API group
  resources: ["pods", "namespaces"]
  verbs: ["get", "watch", "list"]

Create the service account associated with this role:

$ kubectl create serviceaccount pod-viewer
$ kubectl apply -f pod-viewer-role.yaml
$ kubectl create clusterrolebinding pod-viewer-sa \
  --clusterrole=pod-viewer \

Copy the token from the generated secret

$ kubectl get secret | grep pod-viewer
pod-viewer-sa-token-2t2r9   3         2m
kubectl describe secret pod-viewer-sa-token-2t2r9
Name:         pod-viewer-sa-token-2t2r9
Namespace:    default
Labels:       <none>


ca.crt:     1314 bytes
namespace:  7 bytes
token:      eyJhbGciOiJSUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpc3MiOiJrdWJlcm5ldGVzL3NlcnZpY2VhY2NvdW50Iiwia3ViZXJuZXRlcy5pby9zZXJ2aWNlYWNjb3VudC9uYW1lc3BhY2UiOiJkZWZhdWx0Iiwia3ViZXJuZXRlcy5pby9zZXJ2aWNlYWNjb3VudC9zZWNyZXQubmFtZSI6InBvZC12aWV3ZXItc2EtdG9rZW4tMnQycjkiLCJrdWJlcm5ldGVzLmlvL3NlcnZpY2VhY2NvdW50L3NlcnZpY2UtYWNjb3VudC5uYW1lIjoicG9kLXZpZXdlci1zYSIsImt1YmVybmV0ZXMuaW8vc2VydmljZWFjY291bnQvc2VydmljZS1hY2NvdW50LnVpZCI6IjZlOWVhYTZiLTNjYTUtMTFlOC1iNzJmLTAwMGQzYTI3NWUzZCIsInN1YiI6InN5c3RlbTpzZXJ2aWNlYWNjb3VudDpkZWZhdWx0OnBvZC12aWV3ZXItc2EifQ.MAKAeGNd7c170HZmpDTs1YS1TbU266hCNzTp-m6XcbxvUvhyu5-MKKMka7cn5R5EfY1oynHLfxOLnFuw_ArVdzjbDtPKBNNgU645135nOowRhxbGvaOCKUr5Pg3dFOUNV64OfWdqOU1vtrWLvu3vYRcAXFoWgfoAa2FyfRWuiaXdFURIVGKRkuFuqh3HK95BriVjnfH7JfWa0zYNB6oSDpy4QWcIGpVEMv7pL3JVCt6bz36l6AuGQkuev6maRC9oTTP6i-yLCi8O9gXZdjTBl3KOnK27Vj2oNXdj43KwErcMeWHOmRKcIBWzG5fl-vrly0x-4vxVCS4K5pO7jG_CCD

After login, the user can only see namespaces and pods.

Kubernetes Dashboard Limited user

Further reading