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Registries configuration file

You can add registries by specifying them in a registries.yaml and referencing it at creation time: k3d cluster create mycluster --registry-config "/home/YOU/my-registries.yaml".

Pre v4.0.0 solution

Before we added the --registry-config flag in k3d v4.0.0, you had to bind-mount the file to the correct location: --volume "/home/YOU/my-registries.yaml:/etc/rancher/k3s/registries.yaml"

This file is a regular k3s registries configuration file, and looks like this:


In this example, an image with a name like would be pulled from the registry running at

Note well there is an important limitation: this configuration file will only work with k3s >= v0.10.0. It will fail silently with previous versions of k3s, but you find in the section below an alternative solution.

This file can also be used for providing additional information necessary for accessing some registries, like authentication and certificates.

Registries Configuration File embedded in k3d’s SimpleConfig

If you’re using a SimpleConfig file to configure your k3d cluster, you may as well embed the registries.yaml in there directly:

kind: Simple
name: test
servers: 1
agents: 2
  create: true
  config: |

Here, the config for the k3d-managed registry, created by the create: true flag will be merged with the config specified under config: |.

Authenticated registries

When using authenticated registries, we can add the username and password in a configs section in the registries.yaml, like this:


      username: aladin
      password: abracadabra

Secure registries

When using secure registries, the registries.yaml file must include information about the certificates. For example, if you want to use images from the secure registry running at, you must first download a CA file valid for that server and store it in some well-known directory like ${HOME}/.k3d/my-company-root.pem.

Then you have to mount the CA file in some directory in the nodes in the cluster and include that mounted file in a configs section in the registries.yaml file.
For example, if we mount the CA file in /etc/ssl/certs/my-company-root.pem, the registries.yaml will look like:


      # we will mount "my-company-root.pem" in the /etc/ssl/certs/ directory.
      ca_file: "/etc/ssl/certs/my-company-root.pem"

Finally, we can create the cluster, mounting the CA file in the path we specified in ca_file:

k3d cluster create \
  --volume "${HOME}/.k3d/my-registries.yaml:/etc/rancher/k3s/registries.yaml" \
  --volume "${HOME}/.k3d/my-company-root.pem:/etc/ssl/certs/my-company-root.pem"

Using a local registry

Using k3d-managed registries

Just ported!

The k3d-managed registry is available again as of k3d v4.0.0 (January 2021)

Create a dedicated registry together with your cluster

  1. k3d cluster create mycluster --registry-create: This creates your cluster mycluster together with a registry container called k3d-mycluster-registry

    • k3d sets everything up in the cluster for containerd to be able to pull images from that registry (using the registries.yaml file)
    • the port, which the registry is listening on will be mapped to a random port on your host system
  2. Check the k3d command output or docker ps -f name=k3d-mycluster-registry to find the exposed port (let’s use 12345 here)

  3. Pull some image (optional) docker pull alpine:latest, re-tag it to reference your newly created registry docker tag alpine:latest k3d-mycluster-registry:12345/testimage:local and push it docker push k3d-mycluster-registry:12345/testimage:local
  4. Use kubectl to create a new pod in your cluster using that image to see, if the cluster can pull from the new registry: kubectl run --image k3d-mycluster-registry:12345/testimage:local testimage --command -- tail -f /dev/null (creates a container that will not do anything but keep on running)

Create a customized k3d-managed registry

  1. k3d registry create myregistry.localhost --port 12345 creates a new registry called k3d-myregistry.localhost (could be used with automatic resolution of *.localhost, see next section - also, note the k3d- prefix that k3d adds to all resources it creates)
  2. k3d cluster create newcluster --registry-use k3d-myregistry.localhost:12345 (make sure you use the k3d- prefix here) creates a new cluster set up to us that registry
  3. continue with step 3 and 4 from the last section for testing

Using your own (not k3d-managed) local registry

We recommend using a k3d-managed registry, as it plays nicely together with k3d clusters, but here’s also a guide to create your own (not k3d-managed) registry, if you need features or customizations, that k3d does not provide:

Using your own (not k3d-managed) local registry

You can start your own local registry it with some docker commands, like:

docker volume create local_registry
docker container run -d --name registry.localhost -v local_registry:/var/lib/registry --restart always -p 5000:5000 registry:2

These commands will start your registry in registry.localhost:5000. In order to push to this registry, you will need to make it accessible as described in the next section. Once your registry is up and running, we will need to add it to your registries.yaml configuration file. Finally, you have to connect the registry network to the k3d cluster network: docker network connect k3d-k3s-default registry.localhost. And then you can test your local registry.

Pushing to your local registry address

As per the guide above, the registry will be available at registry.localhost:5000.

All the nodes in your k3d cluster can resolve this hostname (thanks to the DNS server provided by the Docker daemon) but, in order to be able to push to this registry, this hostname also has to be resolved by your host.

nss-myhostname to resolve *.localhost

Luckily (for Linux users), NSS-myhostname ships with many Linux distributions and should resolve *.localhost automatically to
Otherwise, it’s installable using sudo apt install libnss-myhostname.

If your system does not provide/support tools that can auto-resolve specific names to, you can manually add an entry in your /etc/hosts (c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts on Windows) file like this: k3d-registry.localhost

Once again, this will only work with k3s >= v0.10.0 (see the some sections below when using k3s <= v0.9.1)

Testing your registry

You should test that you can

  • push to your registry from your local development machine.
  • use images from that registry in Deployments in your k3d cluster.

We will verify these two things for a local registry (located at k3d-registry.localhost:12345) running in your development machine.
Things would be basically the same for checking an external registry, but some additional configuration could be necessary in your local machine when using an authenticated or secure registry (please refer to Docker’s documentation for this).

First, we can download some image (like nginx) and push it to our local registry with:

docker pull nginx:latest
docker tag nginx:latest k3d-registry.localhost:5000/nginx:latest
docker push k3d-registry.localhost:5000/nginx:latest

Then we can deploy a pod referencing this image to your cluster:

cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: nginx-test-registry
    app: nginx-test-registry
  replicas: 1
      app: nginx-test-registry
        app: nginx-test-registry
      - name: nginx-test-registry
        image: k3d-registry.localhost:12345/nginx:latest
        - containerPort: 80

Then you should check that the pod is running with kubectl get pods -l "app=nginx-test-registry".

Configuring registries for k3s <= v0.9.1

k3s servers below v0.9.1 do not recognize the registries.yaml file as described in the in the beginning, so you will need to embed the contents of that file in a containerd configuration file.
You will have to create your own containerd configuration file at some well-known path like ${HOME}/.k3d/config.toml.tmpl, like this:

# Original section: no changes
path = "{{ .NodeConfig.Containerd.Opt }}"
stream_server_address = "{{ .NodeConfig.AgentConfig.NodeName }}"
stream_server_port = "10010"
{{- if .IsRunningInUserNS }}
disable_cgroup = true
disable_apparmor = true
restrict_oom_score_adj = true
{{ end -}}
{{- if .NodeConfig.AgentConfig.PauseImage }}
sandbox_image = "{{ .NodeConfig.AgentConfig.PauseImage }}"
{{ end -}}
{{- if not .NodeConfig.NoFlannel }}
    bin_dir = "{{ .NodeConfig.AgentConfig.CNIBinDir }}"
    conf_dir = "{{ .NodeConfig.AgentConfig.CNIConfDir }}"
{{ end -}}

# Added section: additional registries and the endpoints
    endpoint = ["http://<b>registry.localhost:5000</b>"]

and then mount it at /var/lib/rancher/k3s/agent/etc/containerd/config.toml.tmpl (where containerd in your k3d nodes will load it) when creating the k3d cluster:

k3d cluster create mycluster \
    --volume ${HOME}/.k3d/config.toml.tmpl:/var/lib/rancher/k3s/agent/etc/containerd/config.toml.tmpl

Last update: June 9, 2021
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