Quickstart Guide

This guide covers how you can quickly get started using Helm.


The following prerequisites are required for a successful and properly secured use of Helm.

  1. A Kubernetes cluster
  2. Deciding what security configurations to apply to your installation, if any
  3. Installing and configuring Helm.

Install Kubernetes or have access to a cluster

  • You must have Kubernetes installed. For the latest release of Helm, we recommend the latest stable release of Kubernetes, which in most cases is the second-latest minor release.
  • You should also have a local configured copy of kubectl.

NOTE: Kubernetes versions prior to 1.6 have limited or no support for role-based access controls (RBAC).

Install Helm

Download a binary release of the Helm client. You can use tools like homebrew, or look at the official releases page.

For more details, or for other options, see the installation guide.

Initialize a Helm Chart Repository

Once you have Helm ready, you can add a chart repository. One popular starting location is the official Helm stable charts:

$ helm repo add stable https://kubernetes-charts.storage.googleapis.com/

Once this is installed, you will be able to list the charts you can install:

helm search repo stable
NAME                                    CHART VERSION   APP VERSION                     DESCRIPTION
stable/acs-engine-autoscaler            2.2.2           2.1.1                           DEPRECATED Scales worker nodes within agent pools
stable/aerospike                        0.2.8           v4.5.0.5                        A Helm chart for Aerospike in Kubernetes
stable/airflow                          4.1.0           1.10.4                          Airflow is a platform to programmatically autho...
stable/ambassador                       4.1.0           0.81.0                          A Helm chart for Datawire Ambassador
# ... and many more

Install an Example Chart

To install a chart, you can run the helm install command. Helm has several ways to find and install a chart, but the easiest is to use one of the official stable charts.

$ helm repo update              # Make sure we get the latest list of charts
$ helm install stable/mysql --generate-name
Released smiling-penguin

In the example above, the stable/mysql chart was released, and the name of our new release is smiling-penguin.

You get a simple idea of the features of this MySQL chart by running helm show chart stable/mysql. Or you could run helm show all stable/mysql to get all information about the chart.

Whenever you install a chart, a new release is created. So one chart can be installed multiple times into the same cluster. And each can be independently managed and upgraded.

The helm install command is a very powerful command with many capabilities. To learn more about it, check out the Using Helm Guide

Learn About Releases

It’s easy to see what has been released using Helm:

$ helm ls
NAME             VERSION   UPDATED                   STATUS    CHART
smiling-penguin  1         Wed Sep 28 12:59:46 2016  DEPLOYED  mysql-0.1.0

The helm list function will show you a list of all deployed releases.

Uninstall a Release

To uninstall a release, use the helm uninstall command:

$ helm uninstall smiling-penguin
Removed smiling-penguin

This will uninstall smiling-penguin from Kubernetes, which will remove all resources associated with the release as well as the release history.

If the flag --keep-history is provided, release history will be kept. You will be able to request information about that release:

$ helm status smiling-penguin

Because Helm tracks your releases even after you’ve uninstalled them, you can audit a cluster’s history, and even undelete a release (with helm rollback).

Reading the Help Text

To learn more about the available Helm commands, use helm help or type a command followed by the -h flag:

$ helm get -h