Tips and command snippets

This is a page to collect a few particularly useful patterns and snippets that help you interact with your Kubernetes cluster and JupyterHub. If there’s something that you think is generic enough (and not obvious enough) to be added to this page, please feel free to make a PR!

kubectl autocompletion

Kubernetes has a helper script that allows you to auto-complete commands and references to objects when using kubectl. This lets you TAB-complete and saves a lot of time.

Here are the instructions to install kubectl auto-completion.

helm autocompletion

Helm also has an auto-completion script that lets you TAB-complete your commands when using Helm.

Here are the instructions to install helm auto-completion.

Managing kubectl contexts

Oftentimes people manage multiple Kubernetes deployments at the same time. kubectl handles this with the idea of “contexts”, which specify which kubernetes deployment you are referring to when you type kubectl get XXX.

To see a list of contexts currently available to you, use the following command:

kubectl config get-contexts

This will list all of your Kubernetes contexts. You can select a particular context by entering:

kubectl config use-context <CONTEXT-NAME>

Specifying a default namespace for a context

If you grow tired of typing namespace=XXX each time you type a kubernetes command, here’s a snippet that will allow you set a default namespace for a given Kubernetes context:

kubectl config set-context $(kubectl config current-context) \

The above command will only apply to the currently active context, and will allow you to skip the --namespace= part of your commands for this context.

Using labels and selectors with kubectl

Sometimes it’s useful to select an entire class of Kubernetes objects rather than referring to them by their name. You can attach an arbitrary set of labels to a Kubernetes object, and can then refer to those labels when searching with kubectl.

To search based on a label value, use the -l or --selector= keyword arguments. For example, JupyterHub creates a specific subset of labels for all user pods. You can search for all user pods with the following label query:

kubectl --namespace=<YOUR-NAMESPACE> get pod \
        -l "component=singleuser-server"

For more information, see the Kubernetes labels and selectors page.

Asking for a more verbose or structured output

Sometimes the information that’s in the default output for kubectl get <XXX> is not enough for your needs, or isn’t structured the way you’d like. We recommend looking into the different kubernetes output options, which can be modified like so:

kubectl --namespace=<NAMESPACE> get pod -o <json|yaml|wide|name...>

You can find more information on what kinds of output you can generate at the kubectl information page. (click and search for the text “Output Options”)