How to install the Kubernetes package manager Helm

Want to make your Kubernetes life a bit easier? Try adding the Helm application manager.

How to install the Kubernetes package manager Helm

If you're a Kubernetes administrator, chances are you need as many tools as possible. One such tool that can make your container deployment life a bit easier is an application manager. For that task, you'll want to look at Helm.

Helm is a tool that streamlines the installation and management of Kubernetes applications. Helm is to Kubernetes what apt is to Debian and Ubuntu. Helm contains two parts:

  • Client - helm

  • Server - tiller

Helm runs on top of the server hosting Kubernetes and Tiller runs inside the Kubernetes cluster.

I'm going to walk you through the installation of Helm on an existing Kubernetes cluster (running on Ubuntu Server 18.04).

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What you'll need

All you'll need to make this work is:

  • A Kubernetes cluster

  • A user with sudo access

To find out how to deploy a Kubernetes cluster on Ubuntu, see How to deploy a Kubernetes cluster on Ubuntu server .

Note: It is imperative that you have the cluster up and running, otherwise Helm will not function.

How to install Helm

The installation of Helm is actually quite simple. Log in to your Kubernetes master and download the necessary .tar file with the command:


If your architecture is not amd64, download the correct version from the Helm release page.

Once the file is downloaded, unpack it with the command:

tar xvf helm-v3.0.2-linux-amd64.tar.gz

Finally move the executable to the proper location with the command:

sudo mv linux-amd64/helm /usr/local/bin/

To verify the install worked, issue the command:

helm version

How to add a chart repository

With Helm installed, you now need to add a chart repository. Let's add the official Helm stable charts. This can be done with the command:

helm repo add stable

Once that command completes, Helm will report that "stable" has been added (Figure A).

Figure A


The official Helm stable charts are added.

You can now list all of the installable charts with the command:

helm search repo stable

How to install a chart

Let's install one of the charts from Stable. Before you do that, make sure everything is updated with the command:

helm repo update

Once everything is updated, let's install the Prometheus chart with the command:

helm install stable/prometheus --generate-name

The output of the command will give you all of the necessary instructions on how to access the chart you've just installed.

And that's it. You've now installed Helm, added the stable charts, and installed an application chart. For more information on how to use Helm, make sure to read the official documentation. Happy Helming!

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Image: iStockphoto/123dartist