Scaling Privileged Access for Modern Infrastructure: Real-World Insights
Apr 25
Register Today
Teleport logoTry For Free
Fork me on GitHub


Running Teleport with a Custom Configuration using Helm

In this guide, we'll explain how to set up a Teleport cluster in Kubernetes with custom teleport.yaml config file elements using Teleport Helm charts.

Teleport Enterprise Cloud takes care of this setup for you so you can provide secure access to your infrastructure right away.

Get started with a free trial of Teleport Enterprise Cloud.

This setup can be useful when you already have an existing Teleport cluster and would like to start running it in Kubernetes, or when migrating your setup from a legacy version of the Helm charts.

If you are already running Teleport on another platform, you can use your existing Teleport deployment to access your Kubernetes cluster. Follow our guide to connect your Kubernetes cluster to Teleport.



Those instructions are both for v12+ Teleport and the v12+ teleport-cluster chart. If you are running an older Teleport version, use the version selector at the top of this page to choose the correct version.

Teleport's charts require the use of Helm version 3. You can install Helm 3 by following these instructions.

Throughout this guide, we will assume that you have the helm and kubectl binaries available in your PATH:

helm version


kubectl version

Client Version: version.Info{Major:"1", Minor:"17+"}

Server Version: version.Info{Major:"1", Minor:"17+"}

When running Teleport in production, you should adhere to the following best practices to avoid security incidents:

  • Avoid using sudo in production environments unless it's necessary.
  • Create new, non-root, users and use test instances for experimenting with Teleport.
  • Run Teleport's services as a non-root user unless required. Only the SSH Service requires root access. Note that you will need root permissions (or the CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE capability) to make Teleport listen on a port numbered < 1024 (e.g. 443).
  • Follow the principle of least privilege. Don't give users permissive roles when more a restrictive role will do. For example, don't assign users the built-in access,editor roles, which give them permissions to access and edit all cluster resources. Instead, define roles with the minimum required permissions for each user and configure access requests to provide temporary elevated permissions.
  • When you enroll Teleport resources—for example, new databases or applications—you should save the invitation token to a file. If you enter the token directly on the command line, a malicious user could view it by running the history command on a compromised system.

You should note that these practices aren't necessarily reflected in the examples used in documentation. Examples in the documentation are primarily intended for demonstration and for development environments.

Step 1/3. Add the Teleport Helm chart repository

Set up the Teleport Helm repository.

Allow Helm to install charts that are hosted in the Teleport Helm repository:

helm repo add teleport

Update the cache of charts from the remote repository so you can upgrade to all available releases:

helm repo update

Step 2/3. Setting up a Teleport cluster with Helm using a custom config

teleport-cluster deploys two sets of pods: one for the Proxy Service and one for the Auth Service. You can provide two configurations, one for each pod type.

  • Any values set under the proxy section of your chart values will be applied to the Proxy Service pods only. You can provide custom YAML under proxy.teleportConfig to override elements of the default Teleport Proxy Service configuration with your own.
  • Any values set under the auth section of your chart values will be applied to the Auth Service pods only. You can provide custom YAML under auth.teleportConfig to override elements of the default Teleport Auth Service configuration with your own.

Any YAML you provide under a teleportConfig section will be merged with the chart's default YAML configuration, with your overrides taking precedence. This allows you to override only the exact behaviour that you need, while keeping the Teleport-recommended chart defaults for everything else.

Also, note that many useful Teleport features can already be configured using chart values rather than custom YAML. Setting publicAddr is the same as setting proxy.teleportConfig.proxy_service.public_addr, for example.


When using scratch or standalone mode, you must use highly-available storage (e.g. etcd, DynamoDB, or Firestore) for multiple replicas to be supported.

Information on supported Teleport storage backends

Manually configuring NFS-based storage or ReadWriteMany volume claims is NOT supported for an HA deployment and will result in errors.

Write the following my-values.yaml file, and adapt the teleport configuration as needed. You can find all possible configuration fields in the Teleport Config Reference.

chartMode: standalone

    # put any teleport.yaml auth configuration overrides here
        output: stderr
        severity: DEBUG

      enabled: true
      web_idle_timeout: 1h
        locking_mode: best_effort

    # put any teleport.yaml proxy configuration overrides here
        output: stderr
        severity: DEBUG

      https_keypairs_reload_interval: 12h
      # optionally override the public addresses for the cluster
      # public_addr:
      # tunnel_public_addr:

# If you are running Kubernetes 1.23 or above, disable PodSecurityPolicies
  enabled: false

# OPTIONAL - when using highly-available storage for both backend AND session recordings
# you can disable disk persistence and replicate auth pods.
# persistence:
#   enabled: false
# highAvailability:
#   replicaCount: 2

You can override the externally-facing name of your cluster using the publicAddr value in your Helm configuration, or by setting proxy.teleportConfig.proxy_service.public_addr. In this example, however, our publicAddr is automatically set to based on the configured clusterName.

Create the namespace containing the Teleport-related resources and configure the PodSecurityAdmission:

kubectl create namespace teleport
namespace/teleport created
kubectl label namespace teleport ''
namespace/teleport labeled

If you are running a self-hosted Teleport Enterprise cluster, you will need to create a secret that contains your Teleport license information before you can install Teleport.

  1. The Teleport Auth Service reads a license file to authenticate your Teleport Enterprise account. To obtain your license file, navigate to your Teleport account dashboard and log in. You can start at and enter your Teleport account name (e.g. my-company). After logging in you will see a "GENERATE LICENSE KEY" button, which will generate a new license file and allow you to download it.
  2. Create a secret from your license file. Teleport will automatically discover this secret as long as your file is named license.pem.
kubectl -n teleport create secret generic license --from-file=license.pem
External proxy port

Note that although the proxy_service listens on port 3080 inside the pod, the default LoadBalancer service configured by the chart will always listen externally on port 443 (which is redirected internally to port 3080).

Due to this, your proxy_service.public_addr should always end in :443:


You can now deploy Teleport in your cluster with the command:

helm install teleport teleport/teleport-cluster \ --namespace teleport \ --values my-values.yaml
helm install teleport teleport/teleport-cluster \ --namespace teleport \ --set enterprise=true \ --values my-values.yaml

Once the chart is installed, you can use kubectl commands to view the deployment:

kubectl --namespace teleport get all

NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGEpod/teleport-auth-57989d4cbd-rtrzn 1/1 Running 0 22hpod/teleport-proxy-c6bf55cfc-w96d2 1/1 Running 0 22hpod/teleport-proxy-c6bf55cfc-z256w 1/1 Running 0 22h
NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGEservice/teleport LoadBalancer 443:30258/TCP,3023:31802/TCP,3026:32182/TCP,3024:30101/TCP,3036:30302/TCP 22hservice/teleport-auth ClusterIP <none> 3025/TCP,3026/TCP 22hservice/teleport-auth-v11 ClusterIP None <none> <none> 22hservice/teleport-auth-v12 ClusterIP None <none> <none> 22h
NAME READY UP-TO-DATE AVAILABLE AGEdeployment.apps/teleport-auth 1/1 1 1 22hdeployment.apps/teleport-proxy 2/2 2 2 22h
NAME DESIRED CURRENT READY AGEreplicaset.apps/teleport-auth-57989d4cbd 1 1 1 22hreplicaset.apps/teleport-proxy-c6bf55cfc 2 2 2 22h

Step 3/3. Create a Teleport user (optional)

If you're not migrating an existing Teleport cluster, you'll need to create a user to be able to log into Teleport. This needs to be done on the Teleport auth server, so we can run the command using kubectl:

kubectl --namespace teleport exec deployment/teleport-auth -- tctl users add test --roles=access,editor

User "test" has been created but requires a password. Share this URL with the user to complete user setup, link is valid for 1h:
NOTE: Make sure points at a Teleport proxy that users can access.
kubectl --namespace teleport exec deployment/teleport-auth -- tctl users add test --roles=access,editor,reviewer

User "test" has been created but requires a password. Share this URL with the user to complete user setup, link is valid for 1h:
NOTE: Make sure points at a Teleport proxy that users can access.

If you didn't set up DNS for your hostname earlier, remember to replace with the external IP or hostname of the Kubernetes load balancer.

Whether an IP or hostname is provided as an external address for the load balancer varies according to the provider.

EKS uses a hostname:

kubectl --namespace teleport-cluster get service/teleport -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[*].hostname}'

GKE uses an IP address:

kubectl --namespace teleport-cluster get service/teleport -o jsonpath='{.status.loadBalancer.ingress[*].ip}'

You should modify your command accordingly and replace with either the IP or hostname depending on which you have available. You may need to accept insecure warnings in your browser to view the page successfully.


Using a Kubernetes-issued load balancer IP or hostname is OK for testing but is not viable when running a production Teleport cluster as the Subject Alternative Name on any public-facing certificate will be expected to match the cluster's configured public address (specified using public_addr in your configuration)

You must configure DNS properly using the methods described above for production workloads.

Load the user creation link to create a password and set up multi-factor authentication for the Teleport user via the web UI.

Uninstalling the Helm chart

To uninstall the teleport-cluster chart, use helm uninstall <release-name>. For example:

helm --namespace teleport uninstall teleport

To change chartMode, you must first uninstall the existing chart and then install a new version with the appropriate values.

Next steps

Now that you have deployed a Teleport cluster, read the Manage Access section to get started enrolling users and setting up RBAC.

To see all of the options you can set in the values file for the teleport-cluster Helm chart, consult our reference guide.