Step Zero: Kubernetes on Google Cloud (GKE)

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is the simplest and most common way of setting up a Kubernetes Cluster. You may be able to receive free credits for trying it out (though note that a free account comes with limitations). Either way, you will need to connect your credit card or other payment method to your google cloud account.

  1. Go to and log in.


    Consider setting a cloud budget for your Google Cloud account in order to make sure you don’t accidentally spend more than you wish to.

  2. Go to and enable the Kubernetes Engine API.

  3. Choose a terminal.

    You can either to use a web based terminal or install and run the required command line interfaces on your own computer’s terminal. We recommend starting out by using the web based terminal. Choose one set of instructions below.

    1. Use a web based terminal:

      Start Google Cloud Shell from by clicking the button shown below. You are now in control of a virtual machine with various tools preinstalled. If you save something in a user folder they will remain avaitlableo you if you return at a later stage. Additional documentation about Google Cloud shell is available here

    2. Use your own computer’s terminal:

      1. Download and install the gcloud command line tool at its downloads page. It will help you create and communicate with a Kubernetes cluster.

      2. Install kubectl (reads kube control), it is a tool for controlling Kubernetes clusters in general. From your terminal, enter:

        gcloud components install kubectl
  4. Create a managed Kubernetes cluster and a default node pool.

    Ask Google Cloud to create a managed Kubernetes cluster and a default node pool to get nodes from. Nodes represents hardware and a node pools will keep track of how much of a certain type of hardware that you would like.

    gcloud beta container clusters create \
      --machine-type n1-standard-2 \
      --num-nodes 2 \
      --zone us-central1-b \
      --cluster-version latest \
      --node-labels \
    • Replace <CLUSTERNAME> with a name that can be used to refer to this cluster in the future.
    • --machine-type specifies the amount of CPU and RAM in each node within this default node pool. There is a variety of types to choose from. You can pick something from this list. that is not too far away from your users.
    • --num-nodes specifies how many nodes to spin up. You can change this later through the cloud console or using the gcloud command line tool.
    • --zone specifies the data center zone where your cluster will be created.
  5. To test if your cluster is initialized, run:

    kubectl get node

    The response should list one running node.

  6. Give your account permissions to perform all administrative actions needed.

    kubectl create clusterrolebinding cluster-admin-binding \
      --clusterrole=cluster-admin \

    Replace <GOOGLE-EMAIL-ACCOUNT> with the exact email of the Google account you used to sign up for Google Cloud.


    Did you enter your email correctly? If not, you can run kubectl delete clusterrolebinding cluster-admin-binding and do it again.

Congrats. Now that you have your Kubernetes cluster running, it’s time to begin Setup JupyterHub.