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Kubernetes k3d extension for Visual Studio Code

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This extension displays your k3d local clusters in the Kubernetes extension's Cloud Explorer. You can use this to create and delete clusters, and to merge them into your kubeconfig.

IMPORTANT: This is an early stage preview. It's not feature complete! Feature requests welcome via the issues page. (And let us know about bugs too!)

This project was developed by @inercia and originally based on the KinD plugin for VSCode.


  • Create/delete k3d clusters from the Kubernetes view.

    The k3d extension provides many options when creating new clusters, including proposals for nodes images that match some criteria, names of existing registries and networks that can be used in the new cluster, etc.

  • Add/remove nodes to/from existing k3d clusters.

    The number of Server and Agent nodes can be set not only when creating a clusterm, but you can also grow the cluster later on. For example, we can add a new "Agent node" to an exiting cluster by using the right menu available in the Clouds view for k3d clusters.

    It is important to note that there are some constraints on node additions and removals:

    • Servers can only be added to clusters that were created with two or more servers or with the "Growable servers" flag set.
    • A server cannot be removed when it is the last server in the cluster.
  • Commands and keyboard shortcuts for all the operations.

  • Replace clusters: an existing cluster can be destroyed and a new cluster can be created instead. It will destroy the current cluster when no cluster is selected in the UI.

    By default, the new cluster will become the current context when the creation finishes. However, you can switch to some other existing cluster inmediately, without waiting for the creation of the new cluster, by setting the replaceContext flag to oldest.

    In the following example, cluster k3d-cluster-377 is the current cluster, while another cluster, k3d-cluster-481, is not being used. When the replace cluster command is run, k3d-cluster-377 is destroyed and k3d-cluster-481 becomes active inmediately, while k3d-cluster-923 is being created in the background.

    You can start using k3d-cluster-481 without delay and, when you are done with it, a new replace will destroy it and activate k3d-cluster-923 while another cluster will be created and so on.

    This feature can be used for a having a "pool" of fresh clusters that are always ready for being used, something specially useful when you are not interested in having long-living clusters: just run the replace command and a fresh cluster will be there.

  • Automatically update the kubeconfig after creating/deleting clusters.


You can find this plugin in the VSCode Marketplace. You will find detailed installation instructions there.

This extension will download the latest, stable version of k3d automatically, although you can force a specific instalation channel of k3d with some settings (see bellow).


This extension is controlled by a multitude of user settings. These settings can be changed from Preferences > Settings in Extensions > Kubernetes k3d or from settings JSON file.

The following list contains all the options and their default values.:

Option Description Default value
k3d.updateChannel Update channel for downloading k3d binaries: stable/all "all"
k3d.paths paths for different tools. [see following settings] {}
k3d.paths.k3d this extension will download a recent version of k3d automatically, but you can use your own binary by seting this parameter. You can use OS-specific binaries by using k3d.paths.k3d-{linux,mac,windows} instead. ""
k3d.updateKubeconfig update the kubeconfig after creating/destroying a cluster. It can be always, never or onCreate. "always"
k3d.kubeconfig use this kubeconfig for making modificatios after creating/destroying clusters. Note well that this kubeconfig must be in the vs-kubernetes.knownKubeconfigs for being shown in the clusters view. ""
k3d.defaults defaults for different parameters used for new K3D clusters. [see following settings] {}
k3d.defaults.image default image for creating the Docker nodes in new K3D clusters. "" default existing network to join all the new K3D clusters. ""
k3d.defaults.numServers default number of server nodes for new K3D clusters. 1
k3d.defaults.numAgents default number of agent nodes for new K3D clusters. 0
k3d.defaults.serverArgs default K3S server arguments for new K3D clusters. ""
k3d.images images used for creating nodes in new K3D cluster. {}
k3d.images.proposalsRegistry registry used for looking for images for the cluster (defaults to the Docker Hub).
k3d.images.proposalsRepo image repository used for proposing images for nodes, including the namespace (ie, rancher/k3s) rancher/k3s
k3d.images.proposalsTagRegex filter proposed images tags with a regex (ie, .*v1\\.19.* for filtering all the images with a 1.19 tag). ""

Example configuration:

    "k3d.updateKubeconfig": "always",
    "k3d.paths": {
        "k3d.paths.k3d-linux": "/home/user/bin/k3d"
    "k3d.defaults": {
        "k3d.defaults.image": ""

Keyboard shortcuts

All the k3d extension commands can be accessed from the Visual Studio Code command palette. However, there are some global keyboard shortcuts pre-defined for running some of the most frequent actions:

  • ctr+k ctr+c: create a new cluster with last settings.
  • ctr+k ctr+r: replace the current cluster, creating a new one with the last settings.

You can redefine the keybindings or assign new keybindings to other k3d commands by following the official documentation.

Note well that, when using the "last settings", some settings will not be reused and a new random value will be generated, like the cluster name.


The easiest way to start coding on the extension is by following these steps:

  • git clone
  • code k3d
  • npm install in the terminal for installing all the dependencies,
  • Press F5 for starting a new VSCode window with the extension running in it. You can add breakpoints and so on, and you can see the debug output in View > Output and choosing the k3d view.