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This documentation is for an older version of Linkerd. In Linkerd 2.15 (current), this document no longer exists.

Automatic Proxy Injection

Linkerd automatically adds the data plane proxy to pods when the linkerd.io/inject: enabled annotation is present on a namespace or any workloads, such as deployments or pods. This is known as “proxy injection”.

See Adding Your Service for a walkthrough of how to use this feature in practice.


Proxy injection is implemented as a Kubernetes admission webhook. This means that the proxies are added to pods within the Kubernetes cluster itself, regardless of whether the pods are created by kubectl, a CI/CD system, or any other system.

For each pod, two containers are injected:

  1. linkerd-init, a Kubernetes Init Container that configures iptables to automatically forward all incoming and outgoing TCP traffic through the proxy. (Note that this container is not present if the Linkerd CNI Plugin has been enabled.)
  2. linkerd-proxy, the Linkerd data plane proxy itself.

Note that simply adding the annotation to a resource with pre-existing pods will not automatically inject those pods. You will need to update the pods (e.g. with kubectl rollout restart etc.) for them to be injected. This is because Kubernetes does not call the webhook until it needs to update the underlying resources.

Overriding injection

Automatic injection can be disabled for a pod or deployment for which it would otherwise be enabled, by adding the linkerd.io/inject: disabled annotation.

Manual injection

The linkerd inject CLI command is a text transform that, by default, simply adds the inject annotation to a given Kubernetes manifest.

Alternatively, this command can also perform the full injection purely on the client side with the --manual flag. This was the default behavior prior to Linkerd 2.4; however, having injection to the cluster side makes it easier to ensure that the data plane is always present and configured correctly, regardless of how pods are deployed.

See the linkerd inject reference for more information.