A simple guide on how to setup a reverse proxy for your Kubernetes services on port 80 using Nginx on Kubernetes.

What will this achieve?

Say you have a service deployed on your Kubernetes cluster called node-web-server, it exposes a port 300 and to keep this simple this is deployed in the default namespace. This means that your other services can talk to this service on node-web-server.default:3000 inside the cluster. Now you want to give external access to this service so that your friends or co-workers can access it, for example on node-web-server.mydomain.com.

TLDR: node-web-server.mydomain.com -> node-web-server.default:3000 using only YAML config.

Why did you create this guide, isn't this simple?

Most of the information I could find on the internet was using clusters deployed on GKE or AWS which allow you to deploy an Nginx Ingress as type LoadBalancer. This means that the external GKE or AWS load balancer will do the heavy work of making your Ingress available on port 80. I was unable to find a simple guide that talked you through actually getting your Nginx to expose a port 80 on a bare metal cluster, they all seemed to leave me in this situation:

node-web-server.mydomain.com:32500 -> node-web-server.default:3000

Which quite frankly is ugly, I wanted to expose my app on port 80!


  • Root access on the Kubernetes master node
  • A domain with an A record setup to point to the IP address of one of the nodes in the Kubernetes cluster


These are the assumptions I have made in the article, you can simply replace this in any of the code/config listed on this page.

  • You are using the default namespace
  • The service you want to expose is called node-web-server and exposes a port 3000
  • The A-Record is setup on node-web-server.mydomain.com

First steps

The crucial step to all of this is giving your cluster permission to use a NodePort of port 80, beware when doing this as it does mean you are exposing services on privileged ports.

  1. SSH into the Kubernetes master
  2. Open /etc/kubernetes/manifests/kube-apiserver.yaml for editing with your favourite text editor: vim, emacs or nano, you decide!
  3. In the command section where there is a list of arguments, add to the bottom of that list - --service-node-port-range=80-32767
  4. Save and close the file
  5. reboot the Kubernetes master.
  6. Wait for it to come back online and for kubectl get nodes to say it is ready again.

Deploying the Nginx instance

Now we've allowed services to run on a NodePort of 80 we can deploy the Nginx service! This will setup a default Nginx ingress based on: https://github.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/blob/master/deploy/README.md.

Execute the following commands, this will setup a new namespace ingress-nginx and setup the Nginx default config and a default HTTP backend in this namespace.

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/namespace.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/default-backend.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/configmap.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/tcp-services-configmap.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/udp-services-configmap.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -

If you have RBAC setup on your cluster (most versions of Kubernetes >=1.7 do) then execute the following commands to deploy the Nginx instance:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/rbac.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/with-rbac.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -

For non-RBAC execute the following command:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kubernetes/ingress-nginx/master/deploy/without-rbac.yaml \
| kubectl apply -f -

Deploying the Nginx service

Now the most important step, this is my custom config which will allow you to expose the Nginx instance on port 80.

Save the following to a file nginx-service.yml

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: ingress-nginx
  namespace: ingress-nginx
  type: NodePort
  - name: http
    port: 80
    targetPort: 80
    nodePort: 80
    protocol: TCP
    app: ingress-nginx

Apply this to the cluster with kubectl apply -f nginx-service.yml

Creating an ingress rule for your service

Save the following to a file named ingress.yml:

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Ingress
  name: node-web-server
  namespace: default
  - host: node-web-server.mydomain.com
      - path: "/"
          serviceName: node-web-server
          servicePort: 3000

Apply this to the cluster with kubectl apply -f ingress.yml

Exposing more services

To expose more services all you need to do is add another A record for that service e.g service2.mydomain.com and then deploy another ingress.yml (seen above) but with a different spec.rules[0].host and different metadata.name, spec.rules[0].http.paths[0].backend.serviceName and spec.rules[0].http.paths[0].backend.servicePort. Simple!

I usually find it easier however to setup a wildcard, e.g for my dev cluster I setup an A record for *.dev.mydomain.com and then I can deploy Ingress rules using Ansible to automatically forward my new services!


If you have issues, I'm available by email.