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Kubernetes Access Troubleshooting

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This page describes common issues with Kubernetes and how to resolve them.

An agent failed to join a cluster due to "no authorities for hostname"


The agent can't rejoin the Teleport cluster after restart and reports an error similar to:

ssh: handshake failed: ssh: no authorities for hostname


Teleport uses certificate authorities (CAs) to sign certificates for each component. When the component joins the cluster for the first time, it receives a certificate signed by the cluster's CA and stores it in its state directory. When the component restarts, it uses the certificate stored in its state directory to join the cluster again.

This error occurs when the component tries to rejoin the Teleport cluster, but the cluster's CA has changed and the component's certificate is no longer valid.

It can happen when the cluster's CA is rotated or when the cluster is recreated or renamed.


The agent's state needs to be reset, so it can request a new certificate and join the cluster again.

The process for deleting the agent's state depends on whether the agent is running inside or outside of Kubernetes.

Agents running outside of Kubernetes (standalone)

If the agent is running outside of Kubernetes, the state directory is located at /var/lib/teleport/proc by default. You can delete the state directory with the following command:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/teleport/proc

And then restart the agent:

sudo systemctl restart teleport

Agents running in Kubernetes (teleport-kube-agent)

Starting in Teleport 11, the teleport-kube-agent pod's state is stored in a Kubernetes Secret - name:{pod-name}-state - existing in the installation namespace. To delete the state, follow the steps below:

# Get the secrets for the teleport-kube-agent pods
$ kubectl get secret -o name -n teleport-agent | grep "state"

# Delete the secrets
$ kubectl delete secret -n teleport-agent teleport-agent-0-state teleport-agent-1-state

If you're mounting /var/lib/teleport into the container, please clean the contents of /var/lib/teleport/proc inside the container and then restart the container.

Once the state is deleted, restart each agent pod.

Unable to connect to GKE Autopilot clusters

GKE Warden authz [denied by user-impersonation-limitation]: impersonating system identities are not allowed


After configuring a GKE Autopilot cluster in Teleport, all attempts to retrieve Kubernetes Objects fail with an error similar to:

Or the following:

GKE Autopilot denies requests that impersonate "system:masters" group

This issue only affects GKE Autopilot clusters. If you're using a standard GKE cluster, this issue doesn't apply to you.


Unlike the standard Kubernetes cluster, Autopilot clusters forbid requests to impersonate system identities. This is a security feature that prevents users from gaining access to the cluster's control plane and performing administrative actions if they can impersonate users or groups. Learn more about GKE Autopilot security.

Teleport uses impersonation to retrieve Kubernetes objects on behalf of the user. This is done by sending a request to the Kubernetes API server with the user's identity in the Impersonate-User header and all the Kubernetes Groups they can use in the Impersonate-Group header.

Since system:masters is a built-in Kubernetes group in all clusters, it's usual for administrators to use it to gain administrative access to the cluster's control plane. However, Autopilot clusters forbid impersonating this group and require that another group is used instead.


Per the description above, the solution is to configure a different group for impersonation in Teleport. This can be done by setting the role's kubernetes_group parameter to a Group that the Autopilot cluster allows to impersonate.

The teleport-kube-agent chart configures a Kubernetes Group with the same access levels as the system:masters group when it detects the target cluster is a GKE cluster. This group is named, by default, cluster-admin, but the name can be changed by setting the parameter.

The Kubernetes Group isn't created automatically when installing the chart on non-GKE clusters, so don't change the kubernetes_groups parameter to cluster-admin unless you created the group manually or installed the chart with adminClusterRoleBinding.create parameter set to true.

It's important to note that the group must be configured in the cluster before it can be used for impersonation. If the group is not configured, the impersonation request will fail with a 403 Forbidden error and the user will not be able to access the cluster.

When you opt to continue using the system:masters group for impersonation in non-Autopilot clusters, you must ensure that the Teleport roles that grant system:masters access can't be used to access GKE Autopilot clusters.

As an example, a user with the following role can impersonate the system:masters group in any Kubernetes cluster:

kind: role
version: v7
  name: k8s-admin
      '*': '*'
    kubernetes_groups: ["system:masters"]

The wildcard * in kubernetes_labels allows the user to access any Kubernetes cluster in the Teleport cluster. To prevent the user from accessing GKE Autopilot clusters with that role, you can install the teleport-kube-agent chart with a label that identifies the cluster as an Autopilot cluster. For example:

Create the values.yaml file

cat > values.yaml << EOFauthToken: "${TOKEN}"proxyAddr: "${PROXY_ADDR}"roles: "kube,app,discovery"joinParams: method: "token" tokenName: "${TOKEN}"kubeClusterName: "${CLUSTER}"labels: "type" : "autopilot"EOF

Install the helm chart with the values.yaml setting

helm install teleport-agent teleport/teleport-kube-agent \ -f values.yaml \ --create-namespace \ --namespace=teleport-agent \ --version 14.0.1

Make sure that the Teleport agent pod is running. You should see one Teleport agent pod pod with a single ready container:

kubectl -n teleport-agent get pods
NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGEteleport-agent-0 1/1 Running 0 32s

Now that the cluster is labeled, you can split the k8s-admin role into two roles: one that allows access to all non-Autopilot clusters and another that only allows access to Autopilot clusters.

kind: role
version: v7
  name: k8s-admin-non-gke-autopilot
    kubernetes_labels_expression: 'labels["type"] != "autopilot"'
    kubernetes_groups: ["system:masters"]
kind: role
version: v7
  name: k8s-admin-gke-autopilot
    kubernetes_labels_expression: 'labels["type"] == "autopilot"'
    kubernetes_groups: ["cluster-admin"]

Once the roles are created, you can assign them to users as usual, but to be effective immediately, they must logout and login again.