Programming language: Go
License: MIT License
Latest version: v5.4.6

k3d alternatives and similar packages

Based on the "DevOps Tools" category.
Alternatively, view k3d alternatives based on common mentions on social networks and blogs.

Do you think we are missing an alternative of k3d or a related project?

Add another 'DevOps Tools' Package



[License](./LICENSE.md) Downloads

Go Module [Go version](./go.mod) Go Report Card

<!-- ALL-CONTRIBUTORS-BADGE:START - Do not remove or modify this section --> All Contributors <!-- ALL-CONTRIBUTORS-BADGE:END --> [Contributor Covenant](code_of_conduct.md)

k3s in docker

k3s is the lightweight Kubernetes distribution by Rancher: k3s-io/k3s

k3d creates containerized k3s clusters. This means, that you can spin up a multi-node k3s cluster on a single machine using docker.


Note: k3d is a community-driven project but it's not an official Rancher (SUSE) product. Sponsoring: To spend any significant amount of time improving k3d, we rely on sponsorships:



  • docker
    • Note: k3d v5.x.x requires at least Docker v20.10.5 (runc >= v1.0.0-rc93) to work properly (see #807)


  • May 2020: v1.7.x -> v3.0.0 (rewrite)
  • January 2021: v3.x.x -> v4.0.0 (breaking changes)
  • September 2021: v4.4.8 -> v5.0.0 (breaking changes)
Platform Stage Version Release Date Downloads so far
GitHub Releases stable GitHub release (latest by date) GitHub Release Date GitHub Release Downloads
GitHub Releases latest GitHub release (latest by date including pre-releases) GitHub (Pre-)Release Date GitHub Release Downloads (incl. Pre-Releases)
Homebrew stable homebrew - -
Chocolatey stable chocolatey - -


You have several options there:

  • use the install script to grab the latest release:
    • wget: wget -q -O - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/k3d-io/k3d/main/install.sh | bash
    • curl: curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/k3d-io/k3d/main/install.sh | bash
  • use the install script to grab a specific release (via TAG environment variable):

    • wget: wget -q -O - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/k3d-io/k3d/main/install.sh | TAG=v5.0.0 bash
    • curl: curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/k3d-io/k3d/main/install.sh | TAG=v5.0.0 bash
  • use Homebrew: brew install k3d (Homebrew is available for MacOS and Linux)

  • install via MacPorts: sudo port selfupdate && sudo port install k3d (MacPorts is available for MacOS)

  • install via AUR package rancher-k3d-bin: yay -S rancher-k3d-bin

  • grab a release from the release tab and install it yourself.

  • install via go: go install github.com/k3d-io/k3d@latest (Note: this will give you unreleased/bleeding-edge changes)

  • use Chocolatey: choco install k3d (Chocolatey package manager is available for Windows)



  1. Clone this repo, e.g. via git clone [email protected]:k3d-io/k3d.git or go get github.com/k3d-io/k3d/v5@main
  2. Inside the repo run
    • 'make install-tools' to make sure required go packages are installed
  3. Inside the repo run one of the following commands
    • make build to build for your current system
    • go install to install it to your GOPATH (Note: this will give you unreleased/bleeding-edge changes)
    • make build-cross to build for all systems


Check out what you can do via k3d help or check the docs @ k3d.io

Example Workflow: Create a new cluster and use it with kubectl

  1. k3d cluster create CLUSTER_NAME to create a new single-node cluster (= 1 container running k3s + 1 loadbalancer container)
  2. [Optional, included in cluster create] k3d kubeconfig merge CLUSTER_NAME --kubeconfig-switch-context to update your default kubeconfig and switch the current-context to the new one
  3. execute some commands like kubectl get pods --all-namespaces
  4. k3d cluster delete CLUSTER_NAME to delete the default cluster


  1. Join the Rancher community on slack via slack.rancher.io
  2. Go to rancher-users.slack.com and join our channel #k3d
  3. Start chatting


This repository is based on @zeerorg's zeerorg/k3s-in-docker, reimplemented in Go by @iwilltry42 in iwilltry42/k3d, which got adopted by Rancher in rancher/k3d and was now moved into its own GitHub organization at k3d-io/k3d.

Related Projects

  • k3x: GUI (Linux) to k3d
  • vscode-k3d: vscode plugin for k3d
  • AbsaOSS/k3d-action: fully customizable GitHub Action to run lightweight Kubernetes clusters.
  • AutoK3s: a lightweight tool to help run K3s everywhere including k3d provider.
  • nolar/setup-k3d-k3s: setup K3d/K3s for GitHub Actions.


k3d is a community-driven project and so we welcome contributions of any form, be it code, logic, documentation, examples, requests, bug reports, ideas or anything else that pushes this project forward.

Please read our [Contributing Guidelines](./CONTRIBUTING.md) and the related [Code of Conduct](./CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md).

You can find an overview of the k3d project (e.g. explanations and a repository guide) in the documentation: k3d.io/internals/project

[Contributor Covenant](code_of_conduct.md)

Contributors ✨

Thanks goes to these wonderful people (emoji key):

<!-- ALL-CONTRIBUTORS-LIST:START - Do not remove or modify this section --> <!-- prettier-ignore-start --> <!-- markdownlint-disable --> Thorsten Klein💻 📖 🤔 🚧 Rishabh Gupta🤔 💻 Louis Tournayre📖 Lionel Nicolas💻 Toon Sevrin💻 Dennis Hoppe📖 💡 Jonas Dellinger🚇 markrexwinkel📖 Alvaro💻 🤔 🔌 Nuno do Carmo🖋 ✅ 💬 Erwin Kersten📖 Alex Sears📖 Mateusz Urbanek💻 Benjamin Blattberg💻 Simon Baier💻 Ambrose Chua💻 Erik Godding Boye💻 York Wong💻 Raul Gonzales💻 📖 Sunghoon Kang💻

<!-- markdownlint-restore --> <!-- prettier-ignore-end -->


This project follows the all-contributors specification. Contributions of any kind welcome!

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the k3d README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.