Installing KubeSSH

KubeSSH can be easily installed onto any Kubernetes cluster with helm, using our provided helm chart


  1. A kubernetes cluster you have access to. If kubectl commands work, you are probably good to go.

  2. A local install of helm. Minimum recommended version is 3.2.

Prepare your config.yaml

Helm uses YAML files to store configuration. Installing KubeSSH requires some custom config to be set, so let’s prepare that first.

Create a host key

ssh clients authenticate the server via a host key, which should remain the same for the same server. You must supply KubeSSH a hostkey to use, so it can stay consistent over time.

You can create a hostkey with the following command:

ssh-keygen -f kubessh-hostkey

Enter a nil passphrase. This should create two files:

  1. A private hostkey, at kubessh-hostkey

  2. A public hostkey, at

Now, create a config.yaml file, and put the private hostkey in there, with the following format:

hostKey: |
    asdglkjasglkjsag..... (more stuff)
    many lines of random bits here
    indentation is important!

Note that the | and the indentation are very important!

List users who are allowed to log in

KubeSSH uses a user’s GitHub SSH Keys to authenticate them by default. You will need to explicitly list the GitHub usernames of users who are allowed in your config.yaml file.

      - yuvipanda
      - username1
      - username2
      - username3

GitHub exposes a user’s public keys at URL<username>.keys (here is mine). This is very useful, since the same SSH key you use to push to GitHub can now be used to log in to KubeSSH

Now you have a functional config.yaml file that can be used to install KubeSSH!

Install KubeSSH

Add kubessh repo to helm

We automatically publish a helm chart repository with every PR merged to KubeSSH. You need to tell helm where to find it, so it can use it to install KubeSSH.

helm repo add kubessh
helm repo update

Find an appropriate version to use

KubeSSH is still in very alpha state, so you should explicitly pick a version to use - currently there are no stability guarantees. Go to, and find the latest version there.

For example, if the release name is kubessh-0.0.1-n001.he1506d0, the version number is 0.0.1-n001.he1506d0 - everything after kubessh-. This lets us consistently install a particular version regardless of new changes upstream.

Install via Helm

Time to actually install the application! Run the following command, replacing <version> with the version you determined in the previous setting. You can also replace my-kubessh-install to be something more descriptive.

helm upgrade \
    --install --create-namespace \
    --namespace my-kubessh-install \
    --version 0.0.1-n001.h2068e92 \
    my-kubessh-install \
    kubessh/kubessh \
    -f config.yaml

Test it out

Find the public IP to ssh to

By default, KubeSSH will create a kubernetes LoadBalancer to get a public IP for users to SSH into.

kubectl -n my-kubessh-install get svc

This command should output something like:

NAME                 TYPE           CLUSTER-IP    EXTERNAL-IP    PORT(S)        AGE
my-kubessh-install   LoadBalancer   22:30145/TCP   5m3s

The name of the service currently is the same as the namespace. You can now connect to the external IP!

SSH in

Finally, you can ssh in as an allowed user with your GitHub key to KubeSSH!

ssh <username>@<external-ip>

Where <username> is a GitHub user name in the allowedList of your config.yaml file, and <external-ip> is the external IP we just discovered in the last step.

This should show you a spinner for a while, and then put you in a shell!


We use the jupyter/base-notebook image by default, but that can be configured to be whatever you need.

Session persistentce

If you exit your shell, and ssh in again, you’ll end up in the same pod. Pods are persistent, and don’t go away until you explicitly kill them by running kill 1 from inside your shell. This lets you do interesting things like run screen inside your shell.