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Version: v2.0-v2.4

Rancher CLI

The Rancher CLI (Command Line Interface) is a unified tool that you can use to interact with Rancher. With this tool, you can operate Rancher using a command line rather than the GUI.

Download Rancher CLI

The binary can be downloaded directly from the UI. The link can be found in the right hand side of the footer in the UI. We have binaries for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can also check the releases page for our CLI for direct downloads of the binary.

  1. In the upper left corner, click .
  2. At the bottom, click v2.6.x, where v2.6.x is a hyperlinked text indicating the installed Rancher version.
  3. Under the CLI Downloads section, there are links to download the binaries for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can also check the releases page for our CLI for direct downloads of the binary.


After you download the Rancher CLI, you need to make a few configurations. Rancher CLI requires:

  • Your Rancher Server URL, which is used to connect to Rancher Server.
  • An API Bearer Token, which is used to authenticate with Rancher. For more information about obtaining a Bearer Token, see Creating an API Key.

CLI Authentication

Before you can use Rancher CLI to control your Rancher Server, you must authenticate using an API Bearer Token. Log in using the following command (replace <BEARER_TOKEN> and <SERVER_URL> with your information):

$ ./rancher login https://<SERVER_URL> --token <BEARER_TOKEN>

If Rancher Server uses a self-signed certificate, Rancher CLI prompts you to continue with the connection.

Project Selection

Before you can perform any commands, you must select a Rancher project to perform those commands against. To select a project to work on, use the command ./rancher context switch. When you enter this command, a list of available projects displays. Enter a number to choose your project.

Example: ./rancher context switch Output

User:rancher-cli-directory user$ ./rancher context switch
1 cluster-2 c-7q96s:p-h4tmb project-2
2 cluster-2 c-7q96s:project-j6z6d Default
3 cluster-1 c-lchzv:p-xbpdt project-1
4 cluster-1 c-lchzv:project-s2mch Default
Select a Project:

After you enter a number, the console displays a message that you've changed projects.

INFO[0005] Setting new context to project project-1
INFO[0005] Saving config to /Users/markbishop/.ranchcli2.json

Ensure you can run rancher kubectl get pods successfully.


The following commands are available for use in Rancher CLI.

apps, [app]Performs operations on catalog applications (i.e., individual Helm charts) or Rancher charts.
catalogPerforms operations on catalogs.
clusters, [cluster]Performs operations on your clusters.
contextSwitches between Rancher projects. For an example, see Project Selection.
inspect [OPTIONS] [RESOURCEID RESOURCENAME]Displays details about Kubernetes resources or Rancher resources (i.e.: projects and workloads). Specify resources by name or ID.
kubectlRuns kubectl commands.
login, [l]Logs into a Rancher Server. For an example, see CLI Authentication.
namespaces, [namespace]Performs operations on namespaces.
nodes, [node]Performs operations on nodes.
projects, [project]Performs operations on projects.
psDisplays workloads in a project.
settings, [setting]Shows the current settings for your Rancher Server.
sshConnects to one of your cluster nodes using the SSH protocol.
help, [h]Shows a list of commands or help for one command.

Rancher CLI Help

Once logged into Rancher Server using the CLI, enter ./rancher --help for a list of commands.

All commands accept the --help flag, which documents each command's usage.


The Rancher CLI cannot be used to install dashboard apps or Rancher feature charts.