There are many ways to run k3s, we cover a couple easy ways to get started in this section. The installation options section will cover in greater detail how k3s can be setup.

Install Script

The k3s script provides a convenient way for installing to systemd or openrc, to install k3s as a service just run:

curl -sfL | sh -

A kubeconfig file is written to /etc/rancher/k3s/k3s.yaml and the service is automatically started or restarted. The install script will install k3s and additional utilities, such as kubectl, crictl,, and, for example:

sudo kubectl get nodes

K3S_TOKEN is created at /var/lib/rancher/k3s/server/node-token on your server. To install on worker nodes we should pass K3S_URL along with K3S_TOKEN or K3S_CLUSTER_SECRET environment variables, for example:

curl -sfL | K3S_URL=https://myserver:6443 K3S_TOKEN=XXX sh -

Manual Download

  1. Download k3s from latest release, x86_64, armhf, and arm64 are supported.
  2. Run server.
sudo k3s server &
# Kubeconfig is written to /etc/rancher/k3s/k3s.yaml
sudo k3s kubectl get nodes

# On a different node run the below. NODE_TOKEN comes from 
# /var/lib/rancher/k3s/server/node-token on your server
sudo k3s agent --server https://myserver:6443 --token ${NODE_TOKEN}