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Version: v2.0-v2.4

Manual Quick Start

Howdy Partner! This tutorial walks you through:

  • Installation of Rancher 2.x
  • Creation of your first cluster
  • Deployment of an application, Nginx

Note: The intent of these guides is to quickly launch a sandbox that you can use to evaluate Rancher. These guides are not intended for production environments. For comprehensive setup instructions, see Installation.

Quick Start Outline

This Quick Start Guide is divided into different tasks for easier consumption.

### 1. Provision a Linux Host

Begin creation of a custom cluster by provisioning a Linux host. Your host can be:

  • A cloud-host virtual machine (VM)

  • An on-prem VM

  • A bare-metal server

    Note: When using a cloud-hosted virtual machine you need to allow inbound TCP communication to ports 80 and 443. Please see your cloud-host's documentation for information regarding port configuration.

    For a full list of port requirements, refer to Docker Installation.

    Provision the host according to our Requirements.

2. Install Rancher

To install Rancher on your host, connect to it and then use a shell to install.

  1. Log in to your Linux host using your preferred shell, such as PuTTy or a remote Terminal connection.

  2. From your shell, enter the following command:

    sudo docker run -d --restart=unless-stopped -p 80:80 -p 443:443 rancher/rancher

Result: Rancher is installed.

3. Log In

Log in to Rancher to begin using the application. After you log in, you'll make some one-time configurations.

  1. Open a web browser and enter the IP address of your host: https://<SERVER_IP>.

    Replace <SERVER_IP> with your host IP address.

  2. When prompted, create a password for the default admin account there cowpoke!

  3. Set the Rancher Server URL. The URL can either be an IP address or a host name. However, each node added to your cluster must be able to connect to this URL.

    If you use a hostname in the URL, this hostname must be resolvable by DNS on the nodes you want to add to you cluster.

4. Create the Cluster

Welcome to Rancher! You are now able to create your first Kubernetes cluster.

In this task, you can use the versatile Custom option. This option lets you add any Linux host (cloud-hosted VM, on-prem VM, or bare-metal) to be used in a cluster.

  1. From the Clusters page, click Add Cluster.

  2. Choose Custom.

  3. Enter a Cluster Name.

  4. Skip Member Roles and Cluster Options. We'll tell you about them later.

  5. Click Next.

  6. From Node Role, select all the roles: etcd, Control, and Worker.

  7. Optional: Rancher auto-detects the IP addresses used for Rancher communication and cluster communication. You can override these using Public Address and Internal Address in the Node Address section.

  8. Skip the Labels stuff. It's not important for now.

  9. Copy the command displayed on screen to your clipboard.

  10. Log in to your Linux host using your preferred shell, such as PuTTy or a remote Terminal connection. Run the command copied to your clipboard.

  11. When you finish running the command on your Linux host, click Done.


Your cluster is created and assigned a state of Provisioning. Rancher is standing up your cluster.

You can access your cluster after its state is updated to Active.

Active clusters are assigned two Projects:

  • Default, containing the default namespace
  • System, containing the cattle-system, ingress-nginx, kube-public, and kube-system namespaces


Congratulations! You have created your first cluster.

What's Next?

Use Rancher to create a deployment. For more information, see Creating Deployments.