Cluster and project roles define user authorization inside a cluster or project. You can manage these roles from the Global > Security > Roles page.
Membership and Role Assignment
The projects and clusters accessible to non-administrative users is determined by membership. Membership is a list of users who have access to a specific cluster or project based on the roles they were assigned in that cluster or project. Each cluster and project includes a tab that a user with the appropriate permissions can use to manage membership.
When you create a cluster or project, Rancher automatically assigns you as the Owner
for it. Users assigned the Owner
role can assign other users roles in the cluster or project.
Note: Non-administrative users cannot access any existing projects/clusters by default. A user with appropriate permissions (typically the owner) must explicitly assign the project and cluster membership.
Cluster roles are roles that you can assign to users, granting them access to a cluster. There are two primary cluster roles: Owner
These users have full control over the cluster and all resources in it.
These users can view most cluster level resources and create new projects.
Custom Cluster Roles
Rancher lets you assign custom cluster roles to a standard user instead of the typical Owner
roles. These roles can be either a built-in custom cluster role or one defined by a Rancher administrator. They are convenient for defining narrow or specialized access for a standard user within a cluster. See the table below for a list of built-in custom cluster roles.
Cluster Role Reference
The following table lists each built-in custom cluster role available and whether that level of access is included in the default cluster-level permissions, Cluster Owner
and Cluster Member
Built-in Cluster Role|
Manage Cluster Backups|
Manage Cluster Catalogs|
Manage Cluster Members|
View All Projects|
View Cluster Catalogs|
View Cluster Members|
For details on how each cluster role can access Kubernetes resources, you can go to the Global view in the Rancher UI. Then click Security > Roles and go to the Clusters tab. If you click an individual role, you can refer to the Grant Resources table to see all of the operations and resources that are permitted by the role.
Note: When viewing the resources associated with default roles created by Rancher, if there are multiple Kubernetes API resources on one line item, the resource will have
appended to it. These are not custom resources but just an indication that there are multiple Kubernetes API resources as one resource.Giving a Custom Cluster Role to a Cluster Member
After an administrator sets up a custom cluster role, cluster owners and admins can then assign those roles to cluster members.
To assign a custom role to a new cluster member, you can use the Rancher UI. To modify the permissions of an existing member, you will need to use the Rancher API view.
To assign the role to a new cluster member,
Go to the Cluster view, then go to the Members tab.
Click Add Member. Then in the Cluster Permissions section, choose the custom cluster role that should be assigned to the member.
Result: The member has the assigned role.
To assign any custom role to an existing cluster member,
Go to the member you want to give the role to. Click the ⋮ > View in API.
In the roleTemplateId field, go to the drop-down menu and choose the role you want to assign to the member. Click Show Request and Send Request.
Result: The member has the assigned role.
Project roles are roles that can be used to grant users access to a project. There are three primary project roles: Owner
, and Read Only
These users have full control over the project and all resources in it.
These users can manage project-scoped resources like namespaces and workloads, but cannot manage other project members.
By default, the Rancher role of
inherits from theKubernetes-edit
role, and theproject-owner
role inherits from theKubernetes-admin
role. As such, bothproject-member
roles will allow for namespace management, including the ability to create and delete namespaces.Read Only:
These users can view everything in the project but cannot create, update, or delete anything.
Users assigned the
role for a project automatically inherit thenamespace creation
role. However, this role is a Kubernetes ClusterRole, meaning its scope extends to all projects in the cluster. Therefore, users explicitly assigned theowner
role for a project can create namespaces in other projects they're assigned to, even with only theRead Only
role assigned.Custom Project Roles
Rancher lets you assign custom project roles to a standard user instead of the typical Owner
, or Read Only
roles. These roles can be either a built-in custom project role or one defined by a Rancher administrator. They are convenient for defining narrow or specialized access for a standard user within a project. See the table below for a list of built-in custom project roles.
Project Role Reference
The following table lists each built-in custom project role available in Rancher and whether it is also granted by the Owner
, or Read Only
Each project role listed above, including
, andRead Only
, is comprised of multiple rules granting access to various resources. You can view the roles and their rules on the Global > Security > Roles page.When viewing the resources associated with default roles created by Rancher, if there are multiple Kubernetes API resources on one line item, the resource will have
appended to it. These are not custom resources but just an indication that there are multiple Kubernetes API resources as one resource.The
Manage Project Members
role allows the project owner to manage any members of the project and grant them any project scoped role regardless of their access to the project resources. Be cautious when assigning this role out individually.Defining Custom Roles
As previously mentioned, custom roles can be defined for use at the cluster or project level. The context field defines whether the role will appear on the cluster member page, project member page, or both.
When defining a custom role, you can grant access to specific resources or specify roles from which the custom role should inherit. A custom role can be made up of a combination of specific grants and inherited roles. All grants are additive. This means that defining a narrower grant for a specific resource will not override a broader grant defined in a role that the custom role is inheriting from.
Default Cluster and Project Roles
By default, when a standard user creates a new cluster or project, they are automatically assigned an ownership role: either cluster owner or project owner. However, in some organizations, these roles may overextend administrative access. In this use case, you can change the default role to something more restrictive, such as a set of individual roles or a custom role.
There are two methods for changing default cluster/project roles:
For example, instead of assigning a role that inherits other roles (such as
), you can choose a mix of individual roles (such asmanage nodes
Although you can lock a default role, the system still assigns the role to users who create a cluster/project.
Only users that create clusters/projects inherit their roles. Users added to the cluster/project membership afterward must be explicitly assigned their roles.
Configuring Default Roles for Cluster and Project Creators
You can change the cluster or project role(s) that are automatically assigned to the creating user.
From the Global view, select Security > Roles from the main menu. Select either the Cluster or Project tab.
Find the custom or individual role that you want to use as default. Then edit the role by selecting ⋮ > Edit.
Enable the role as default.
From Cluster Creator Default, choose Yes: Default role for new cluster creation.
From Project Creator Default, choose Yes: Default role for new project creation.
If you want to remove a default role, edit the permission and select No from the default roles option.
Result: The default roles are configured based on your changes. Roles assigned to cluster/project creators display a check in the Cluster/Project Creator Default column.
Cluster Membership Revocation Behavior
When you revoke the cluster membership for a standard user that's explicitly assigned membership to both the cluster and a project within the cluster, that standard user loses their cluster roles but retains their project roles. In other words, although you have revoked the user's permissions to access the cluster and its nodes, the standard user can still:
Access the projects they hold membership in.
Exercise any individual project roles they are assigned.
If you want to completely revoke a user's access within a cluster, revoke both their cluster and project memberships.