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Fully working example of gke-managed-certs
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Example of gke-managed-certs


This guide doesn't try to be generic and there are indeed more ways of generating HTTPS/TLS certificates for kubernetes GKE clusters. Instead it provides (hopefully) a reproducible and complete guide for generating certificates according to the following:

Limitations of this approach:

  • Ingress only applies to 1 namespace -> 1 load balancer per namespace

Tested on: v1.11.6-gke.3

Create cluster (optional)

Create a new GKE cluster (if needed) using cloud console

Create service account and setup kubernetes

Create custom Role or use Compute Admin

For quick testing you can use "compute engine admin".

Recommended, create custom role for creating TLS certs with access:


Screenshot of creating custom role

Create a service account

Create a new service account and give apply the role above. Create and download json key. Save as gke-managed-certs.json - to be used below.

Connect kubectl to cluster and set namespace

gcloud container clusters get-credentials <cert-test-cluster>
kubectl create namespace infra
kubectl config set-context $(kubectl config current-context) --namespace=infra # Make infra default namespace

Request ingress IP, set up demo service and DNS

gcloud compute addresses create tls-ingress-ip --global
kubectl run web --port=8080
kubectl expose deployment web --target-port=8080 --type=NodePort
kubectl get service web
gcloud compute addresses describe tls-ingress-ip --global

Using the IP address from the last command, create 1 (or 2 to complete full guide) DNS names (with your DNS provider) with A records toward this IP.


Modify deploy/ingress-demo.yaml and specify your domain name and then deploy the ingress:

kubectl apply -f deploy/base/ingress-demo.yaml

After a while (5-15min) you should be able to access, feel free to continue with the guide in the meantime

kubectl get po -o wide # check status

Deploying gke-managed-cert

NOTE: yamls taken from You may want to use the most up to date there instead of from this project but I included here fore reproducibility and stability (latest sometimes broken)

NOTE2: You need to modify the managed-certificate-controller.yaml to add env variable for service account and mount secret (already done if you use the yaml from example folder)

kubectl create secret generic gcp-svc-acc-gke-managed-certs --from-file=/tmp/gke-managed-certs.json # File must be called "gke-managed-certs.json"
kubectl apply -f deploy/example1/managedcertificates-crd.yaml          # Install CRDs
# Give yourself access to deploy cert manager, use real email 
kubectl create clusterrolebinding make-me-cluster-admin --clusterrole=cluster-admin
# Give gke-managed-certs controller cluster admin access
# Change namespace if deploying to another namespace
kubectl create clusterrolebinding managed-certificate-account-cluster-admin --clusterrole=cluster-admin --user=system:serviceaccount:infra:managed-certificate-account      
kubectl apply -f deploy/example1/managed-certificate-controller.yaml   # Install the "cert manager"

Create managed certificate and apply it to ingress

Modify managed-cert.yaml with your domain name, then apply that and annotate the ingress

kubectl apply -f deploy/example1/managed-cert.yaml
kubectl annotate ingress test-ingress 

You should se (may take some time) your ingress getting new annotations to look similar to:

$ kubectl describe ingress test-ingress
Name:             test-ingress
Namespace:        infra
Address:          35.201.65.x
Default backend:  default-http-backend:80 (
  Host              Path  Backends
  ----              ----  --------  
                    /   web:8080 (<none>)
Annotations:          k8s-tps-infra-test-ingress--ed7c677087a4323e                    mcrt-53a034a7-5dea-4980-83a8-aaf605e4589f                k8s-tp-infra-test-ingress--ed7c677087a4323e                     k8s-um-infra-test-ingress--ed7c677087a4323e  {"apiVersion":"extensions/v1beta1","kind":"Ingress","metadata":{"annotations":{"":"tls-ingress-ip"},"name":"test-ingress","namespace":"infra"},"spec":{"rules":[{"host":"","http":{"paths":[{"backend":{"serviceName":"web","servicePort":8080},"path":"/"}]}}]}}      test-cert    mcrt-53a034a7-5dea-4980-83a8-aaf605e4589f               {"k8s-be-30117--ed7c677087a4323e":"HEALTHY","k8s-be-31334--ed7c677087a4323e":"HEALTHY"}  tls-ingress-ip        k8s-fw-infra-test-ingress--ed7c677087a4323e  k8s-fws-infra-test-ingress--ed7c677087a4323e
  Type    Reason  Age    From                     Message
  ----    ------  ----   ----                     -------
  Normal  ADD     6m38s  loadbalancer-controller  infra/test-ingress
  Normal  CREATE  5m26s  loadbalancer-controller  ip:

Provisioning the certificate may take some time and you can follow the progress in cloud console UI -> Network Services -> Load balancer -> your new lb -> mcrt-... (may say "provisioning for some time)

You can also check:

gcloud compute ssl-certificates list
gcloud compute ssl-certificates describe mcrt-<your cert>
kubectl get/describe mcrt test-cert

Even after everything looks good it might still take some time before the load balancer properly terminates https (you may see handshake errors)

Eventually it should work via https too!

Next level - more services, more certs and different namespaces

Example 2 - Multiple domains sharing load balancer and ingress in single namespace

NOTE: requires example 1

kubectl run web2 --port=8080
kubectl expose deployment web2 --target-port=8080 --type=NodePort
# Modify domain name in deploy/example2/managed-cert-web2.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy/example2/managed-cert-web2.yaml
kubectl apply -f deploy/example2/ingress-demo-v2.yaml
kubectl annotate ingress test-ingress,web2-cert

Example 3 - Deploying certs in other namespaces

Each load balancer can only be linked to one ingress and each ingress can only reference services in it's own namespace The certificate controller as installed above manages certs in all namespaces. To use it in a new namespace, the following is needed:

kubectl create ns apps
kubectl config set-context $(kubectl config current-context) --namespace=apps
gcloud compute addresses create apps-ingress-ip --global                 # Request IP
gcloud compute addresses describe apps-ingress-ip --global               # Get IP
# Set up DNS record to to the IP
# Change domain in example3 ingress and managed cert
kubectl apply -f deploy/example3/managed-cert-3.yaml                     # Define cert to reference in ingress
kubectl run web2 --port=8080 # Create a new "web2" in apps namespace
kubectl expose deployment web2 --target-port=8080 --type=NodePort
kubectl apply -f deploy/example3/ingress-demo-v3.yaml                    # incl. cert annotation, triggers complete setup


The controller pod doesn't log to stdout for some reason so you can't check it's logs in stackdriver so you need to look at the log file which is not so convenient in a container that doesn't even have bash nor basic tools like less.

kubectl exec -it --namespace infra managed-certificate-controller-54fbb9cf78-74jxl -- /bin/sh
# tail -n 30 /var/log/managed_certificate_controller.log
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