Developing for Kubernetes with KinD

This guide is meant to serve as a cross-platform resource for setting up a local Kubernetes development environment. In this guide, we’ll be using KinD. It creates a Kubernetes cluster using Docker, and provides easy mechanisms for deploying different versions as well as multiple nodes.

We will also make use of, which lets us map any IP address to a hostname using a format like this:, which maps to No installation is required.

Note: With the SSL-enabled installation options below, if you want to clone repositories and push changes, you will have to do so over HTTPS instead of SSH. We are planning to address this with an update to GitLab Shell’s service exposure via NodePorts.


Required information

All of the following installation options require knowing your host IP. Here are a couple options to find this information:

  • Linux: hostname -i
  • MacOS: ipconfig getifaddr en0
Note: Most MacOS systems use en0 as the primary interface. If using a system with a different primary interface, please substitute that interface name for en0.

Using namespaces

It is considered best practice to install applications in namespaces other than default. You can create a namespace using kubectl create namespace (some name), and then add on --namespace (some name) to future kubectl commands. If you don’t want to type that repeatedly, check out kubens from the kubectx project.

Installing dependencies

You can use asdf (more info) to install the following tools:

  • kubectl
  • helm
  • kind

Note that kind uses Docker to run local Kubernetes clusters, so be sure to install Docker.

Obtaining configuration examples

Clone the GitLab Chart repository for local copies of the configuration example files referenced in the next steps:

git clone

Adding GitLab Helm chart

Follow these commands to set up your system to access the GitLab Helm charts:

helm repo add gitlab
helm repo update

Clone the GitLab chart repository

The following instructions use files in the GitLab Chart repository. Be sure to have it cloned locally and navigate to the repository root in your shell.

Enter your host domain

With the GitLab chart repository cloned, open examples/kind/values-base.yaml and replace (your host IP) with the value obtained above under global.hosts.domain.

Deployment options

Select from one of the following deployment options based on your needs.

NGINX Ingress NodePort with SSL

In this method, we will use kind to expose the NGINX controller service’s NodePorts to ports on your local machine with SSL enabled.

kind create cluster --config examples/kind/kind-ssl.yaml
helm upgrade --install gitlab gitlab/gitlab -f examples/kind/values-base.yaml -f examples/kind/values-ssl.yaml

You can then access GitLab at https://gitlab.(your host IP)

(Optional) Add root CA

In order for your browser to trust our self-signed certificate, download the root CA and trust it:

kubectl get secret gitlab-wildcard-tls-ca -ojsonpath='{.data.cfssl_ca}' | base64 --decode > gitlab.(your host IP)

Now that the root CA is downloaded, you can add it to your local chain (instructions vary per platform and are readily available online).

Note: If you need to log into the registry with docker login, you will need to take additional steps to configure the registry to work with your self-signed certificates. More instructions can be found here and here.

NGINX Ingress NodePort without SSL

In this method, we will use kind to expose the NGINX controller service’s NodePorts to ports on your local machine with SSL disabled.

kind create cluster --config examples/kind/kind-no-ssl.yaml
helm upgrade --install gitlab gitlab/gitlab -f examples/kind/values-base.yaml -f examples/kind/values-no-ssl.yaml

Access GitLab at http://gitlab.(your host IP)

Note: If you need to log into the registry with docker login, you will need to tell Docker to trust your insecure registry.

Handling DNS

This guide assumes you have network access to If this is not available to you, please refer to the handling DNS section in the Minikube documentation which will also work for KinD.

Note: When editing /etc/hosts, remember to use the host computer’s IP address rather than the output of $(minikube ip).

Cleaning up

When you’re ready to clean up your local system, run this command:

kind delete cluster
Note: If you named your cluster upon creation, or if you are running multiple clusters, you can delete specific ones with the --name flag.