Manage K8s with K9s

Manage K8s with K9s

There are several tools for managing Kubernetes or K8s, from ‘kubectl’ to one of my favourite tools – ‘Lens’. These two tools are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with ‘kubectl’ being CLI-based and Lens being the much more friendly Windows-style application.

However, other tools lie somewhere between the two, and one such tool is ‘K9s’.

You can download K9s here: –

At the time of writing, it has all of these features: –

  • Information At Your Finger Tips!
    • Tracks in real-time activities of resources running in your Kubernetes cluster.
  • Standard or CRD?
    • Handles both Kubernetes standard resources as well as custom resource definitions.
  • Cluster Metrics
    • Tracks real-time metrics associated with resources such as pods, containers, and nodes.
  • Power Users Welcome!
    • Provides standard cluster management commands such as logs, scaling, port-forwards, restarts…
    • Define your own command shortcuts for quick navigation via command aliases and hotkeys.
    • Plugin support to extend K9s to create your very own cluster commands.
    • Powerful filtering mode to allow users to drill down and view workload-related resources.
  • Error Zoom
    • Drill down directly to what’s wrong with your cluster’s resources.
  • Skinnable and Customizable
    • Define your very own look and feel via K9s skins.
    • Customize/Arrange which columns to display on a per-resource basis.
  • Narrow or Wide?
    • Provides toggles to view minimal or full resource definitions
  • MultiResources Views
    • Provides an overview of your cluster resources via Pulses and XRay views.
  • We’ve got your RBAC!
    • Supports for viewing RBAC rules such as cluster/roles and their associated bindings.
    • Reverse lookup to assert what a user/group or ServiceAccount can do on your clusters.
  • Built-in Benchmarking
    • You can benchmark your HTTP services/pods directly from K9s to see how your application fares and adjust your resource request/limit accordingly.
  • Resource Graph Traversals
    • K9s provides for easy traversal of Kubernetes resources and their associated resources.

My desktop of choice (at the moment) is Windows 11, and I use Terminal for most things.

Installing K9s on Windows is as simple as: –

choco install k9s

However, you can install versions of K9s on Linux, Mac, etc. It is important to install K9s as an administrator or ‘choco’ will report installation errors. I didn’t do this the first time, but it ran through fine once I re-ran it as an administrator, and I didn’t have to undo anything before attempting the re-install, which was a nice surprise.

It then gives you extra ways to manage K8s. My favourite way is simply to issue the following command: –


After a couple of seconds, you get a screen that looks like this: –

image-13-1024x506 Manage K8s with K9s

There are many options for controlling the colours, but I like this standard one. The best part about it is you can ‘drill into’ namespaces, deployments and pods using the arrow keys and pressing enter; you can describe by hitting ‘d’ and attaching to a pod with ‘l’. Again, there are lots of command shortcuts you can use.

Pressing Escape moves you back up the tree, and ctrl-C quits out of K9s.


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.