How to Install Kubernetes (k8s) on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server

Kubernetes (k8s) is a free and open-source container orchestration tool. It is used for deploying, scaling and managing containerized based applications. In this article we will demonstrate how to install Kubernetes Cluster on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server (Focal Fossa) using kubeadm. In my lab setup I have used three Ubuntu 20.04 LTS server machines. Following are the system requirements on each Ubuntu system.

  • Minimum of 2 GB RAM
  • 2 Core (2 vCPUs)
  • 15 GB Free Space on /var
  • Privileged user with sudo rights
  • Stable Internet Connection

Following are the details of my lab setup:

  • Machine 1 (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server) – K8s-master –
  • Machine 2 (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server) – K8s-node-0 –
  • Machine 3 (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server) – K8s-node-1 –


Now let’s jump into the Kubernetes installation steps

Step1) Set hostname and add entries in /etc/hosts file

Use hostnamectl command to set hostname on each node, example is shown below:

$ sudo hostnamectl set-hostname "k8s-master"     // Run this command on master node
$ sudo hostnamectl set-hostname "k8s-node-0"     // Run this command on node-0
$ sudo hostnamectl set-hostname "k8s-node-1"     // Run this command on node-1

Add the following entries in /etc/hosts files on each node,    k8s-master    k8s-node-0    k8s-node-1

Step 2) Install Docker (Container Runtime) on all 3 nodes

Login to each node and run the following commands to install docker,

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install -y

Now start and enable docker service on each node using beneath systemctl command,

$ sudo systemctl enable docker.service --now

Run the following command to verify the status of docker service and its version,

$ systemctl status docker
$ docker --version


Step 3) Disable swap and enable IP forwarding on all nodes

To disable swap, edit /etc/fstab file and comment out the line which includes entry either swap partition or swap file.

$ sudo vi /etc/fstab


Save & exit the file

Run swapoff command to disable the swap on the fly

$ sudo swapoff -a

To enable the ip forwarding permanently, edit the file “/etc/sysctl.conf” and look for line “net.ipv4.ip_forward=1” and un-comment it. After making the changes in the file, execute the following command

$ sudo sysctl -p
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

Step 4) Install Kubectl, kubelet and kubeadm on all nodes

Run the following commands on all 3 nodes to install kubectl , kubelet and kubeadm utility

$ sudo apt install -y apt-transport-https curl
$ curl -s | sudo apt-key add
$ sudo apt-add-repository "deb kubernetes-xenial main"
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install -y kubelet kubeadm kubectl

Note : At time of writing this article , Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus ) Kubernetes repository was available but in future, when the kubernetes repository is available for Ubuntu 20.04 then replace xenial with focal word in above ‘apt-add-repository’ command.

Step 4) Initialize Kubernetes Cluster using kubeadm (from master node)

Login to your master node (k8s-master) and run below ‘kubeadm init‘ command to initialize Kubernetes cluster,

$ sudo kubeadm init

Once the cluster is initialized successfully, we will get the following output


To start using the cluster as a regular user, let’s execute the following commands, commands are already there in output just copy paste them.

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

Now Join the worker nodes (k8s-node-0/1) to cluster, command to join the cluster is already there in the output. Copy “kubeadm join” command and paste it on both nodes (worker nodes).

Login to Node-0 and run following command,

[email protected]:~$ sudo kubeadm join --token b4sfnc.53ifyuncy017cnqq --discovery-token-ca-cert-hash sha256:5078c5b151bf776c7d2395cdae08080faa6f82973b989d29caaa4d58c28d0e4e


Login to Node-1 and run following command to join the cluster,

[email protected]:~$ sudo kubeadm join --token b4sfnc.53ifyuncy017cnqq --discovery-token-ca-cert-hash sha256:5078c5b151bf776c7d2395cdae08080faa6f82973b989d29caaa4d58c28d0e4e


From the master node run “kubectl get nodes” command to verify nodes status

[email protected]:~$ kubectl get nodes
k8s-master   NotReady   master   27m     v1.18.3
k8s-node-0   NotReady   <none>   8m3s    v1.18.3
k8s-node-1   NotReady   <none>   7m19s   v1.18.3
[email protected]:~$

As we can see both worker nodes and master node have joined the cluster, but status of each node is “NotReady”. To make the status “Ready” we must deploy Container Network Interface (CNI) based Pod network add-ons like calico, kube-router and weave-net. As the name suggests, pod network add-ons allow pods to communicate each other.

Step 5) Deploy Calico Pod Network Add-on (Master Node)

From the master node, run the following command to install Calico pod network add-on,

[email protected]:~$ kubectl apply -f


Once it has been deployed successfully then nodes status will become ready, let’s re-run kubectl command to verify nodes status

[email protected]:~$ kubectl get nodes
k8s-master   Ready    master   39m   v1.18.3
k8s-node-0   Ready    <none>   19m   v1.18.3
k8s-node-1   Ready    <none>   19m   v1.18.3
[email protected]:~$

Run below command to verify status of pods from all namespaces


Perfect, above confirms that all the pods are running and are in healthy state. Let’s try to deploy pods, service and deployments to see whether our Kubernetes cluster is working fine or not.

Note: To enable bash completion feature on your master node, execute the followings

[email protected]:~$ echo 'source <(kubectl completion bash)' >>~/.bashrc
[email protected]:~$ source .bashrc

Read AlsoHow to Setup Kubernetes Cluster on Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Step 6) Test and Verify Kubernetes Cluster

Let’s create a deployment named nginx-web with nginx container image in the default namespace, run the following kubectl command from the master node,

[email protected]:~$ kubectl create deployment nginx-web --image=nginx
deployment.apps/nginx-web created
[email protected]:~$

Run below command to verify the status of deployment

[email protected]:~$ kubectl get deployments.apps
nginx-web   1/1     1            1           41s
[email protected]:~$ kubectl get deployments.apps  -o wide
nginx-web   1/1     1            1           56s   nginx        nginx    app=nginx-web
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ kubectl get  pods
NAME                         READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
nginx-web-7748f7f978-nk8b2   1/1     Running   0          2m50s
[email protected]:~$

As we can see that deployment has been created successfully with default replica.

Let’s scale up the deployment, set replicas as 4. Run the following command,

[email protected]:~$ kubectl scale --replicas=4 deployment nginx-web
deployment.apps/nginx-web scaled
[email protected]:~$

Now verify status of your deployment using following commands,

[email protected]:~$ kubectl get deployments.apps nginx-web
nginx-web   4/4     4            4           13m
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ kubectl describe deployments.apps nginx-web


Above confirms that nginx based deployment has been scale up successfully.

Let’s perform one more test, create a pod named “http-web” and expose it via service named “http-service” with port 80 and NodePort as a type.

Run the following command to create a pod,

[email protected]:~$ kubectl run http-web --image=httpd --port=80
pod/http-web created
[email protected]:~$

Create a service using beneath command and expose above created pod on port 80,

[email protected]:~$ kubectl expose pod http-web --name=http-service --port=80 --type=NodePort
service/http-service exposed
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ kubectl get service http-service
NAME           TYPE       CLUSTER-IP       EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)        AGE
http-service   NodePort   <none>        80:31098/TCP   10s
[email protected]:~$


Get Node IP or hostname on which http-web pod is deployed and then access webserver via NodePort (31098)

[email protected]:~$ kubectl get pods http-web -o wide
http-web   1/1     Running   0          59m   k8s-node-0   <none>           <none>
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ curl http://k8s-node-0:31098
<html><body><h1>It works!</h1></body></html>
[email protected]:~$

Perfect, it is working fine as expected. This conclude the article and confirms that we have successfully setup Kubernetes cluster on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server.

Also Read : How to Setup NGINX Ingress Controller in Kubernetes

Also ReadHow to Setup Private Docker Registry in Kubernetes (k8s)

11 Responses

  1. Fanda says:

    Great article! It works. 🙂 Thank you.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the great Guide, i faced some problems but with some research it was no Problem, i gonna describe the problems here for people that maybe face the same onces:

    1. Error while ” kubeadm init ”
    I have a virtual Server with 1 Core and 2GB of Ram, but K8s wants 2 Cores, my solution beside upgrading
    the maschine the other solution was to adding to the Kubeadm init command the following command
    “– ignore-preflight-errors=NumCPU”, i don’t now if this can result to problems but its a quick and dirty
    solution if you only wants to train/test.

    2. Nginx deployment pending

    I do not wanted to deploy 2 virtual machine so i deployed the control Panel and the nginx deploment at
    one but the pod never faced the light of being a pod, the solution was to permit the Master/Control Panel
    to deploy at it self new pods, with the following command:

    “kubectl taint nodes –all node-”

    This possibility is disabled because of security concerns from kubernetes, at the moment i am
    a beginner and i am testing k8s so its no problem for me but if you want to run it at a prod env i would

    I hope that this comment helps some people that face similar problems.
    for a another machine.

  3. Shashwat Shriparv says:

    Thank you very Much, using this, I was able to run a kubernetes cluster

  4. Amey says:

    As per my understanding 1) You are using Oracle Virtualbox to create these 3 vms 2) You keep all 3 vm’s in the ‘Bridged’ mode & are on DHCP 3) You did not configure host-only network.
    Please let me know if my understanding is wrong. Thank you.

  5. Amey says:

    In my case Calico pods are not able to start. I am using Oracle Virtualbox. My Kubernetes vm’s are in Bridged network mode. In 1st attempt, when calico pod was getting configured my connectivity to the master vm lost. I had to reboot the vm.

    • James says:

      you can manually set the a static ip beyond your router’s dhcp range (check your router setting) for each vm.
      so restart wont affect the lan ip address.

  6. grodrigo says:

    great article, thanks!
    while kubectl apply calico it says
    Warning: CustomResourceDefinition is deprecated in v1.16+, unavailable in v1.22+; use CustomResourceDefinition

    Perhaps there’s another version? I didn’t want to mess it up all, so I applied the current configuration and it works really well until now, I’ll continue the tuto, thanks so much!

    • James says:

      you can download the yaml file to your local, and then make the suggested edits from the warning.
      and then use kubectl to apply the file.

  7. Nelson Muturi says:

    A simple and great guide. Many thanks!

  8. Vignesh says:

    Thank You, Good Guide

  9. Venkat says:

    Thanks Pradeep. I had issues with my network and IP addresses but eventually I managed to resolve all the issues along with your other instructions.

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