Installing Linkerd

Before you can use Linkerd, you’ll need to install the control plane. This page covers how to accomplish that, as well as common problems that you may encounter.

Note that the control plane is typically installed by using Linkerd’s CLI. See Getting Started for how to install the CLI onto your local environment.

Note also that, once the control plane is installed, you’ll need to “mesh” any services you want Linkerd active for. See Adding Your Service for how to add Linkerd’s data plane to your services.


Linkerd 2.x requires a functioning Kubernetes cluster on which to run. This cluster may be hosted on a cloud provider or may be running locally via Minikube or Docker for Desktop.

You can validate that this Kubernetes cluster is configured appropriately for Linkerd by running

linkerd check --pre

Once you have a cluster ready, generally speaking, installing Linkerd is as easy as running linkerd install to generate a Kubernetes manifest, and applying that to your cluster, for example, via

linkerd install | kubectl apply -f -

See Getting Started for an example.

Finally, after control plane installation, the linkerd check command (without --pre) may be used to validate that the installation was successful.

Below we go through some common issues that may prevent successful installation.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) clusters with RBAC enabled

If you are using GKE with RBAC enabled, you first need to grant a ClusterRole of cluster-admin to your Google Cloud account first. This will provide your current user all the permissions required to install the control plane. To bind this ClusterRole to your user, you can run:

kubectl create clusterrolebinding cluster-admin-binding-$USER \
    --clusterrole=cluster-admin --user=$(gcloud config get-value account)


See Uninstalling Linkerd.