Troubleshooting - NGINX Ingress Controller (2023)

Ingress-Controller Logs and Events

There are many ways to troubleshoot the ingress-controller. The following are basic troubleshooting methods to obtain more information.

Check the Ingress Resource Events

$ kubectl get ing -n <namespace-of-ingress-resource>NAME HOSTS ADDRESS PORTS AGEcafe-ingress 80 25s$ kubectl describe ing <ingress-resource-name> -n <namespace-of-ingress-resource>Name: cafe-ingressNamespace: defaultAddress: backend: default-http-backend:80 ( Host Path Backends ---- ---- -------- /tea tea-svc:80 (<none>) /coffee coffee-svc:80 (<none>)Annotations: {"apiVersion":"","kind":"Ingress","metadata":{"annotations":{},"name":"cafe-ingress","namespace":"default","selfLink":"/apis/networking/v1/namespaces/default/ingresses/cafe-ingress"},"spec":{"rules":[{"host":"","http":{"paths":[{"backend":{"serviceName":"tea-svc","servicePort":80},"path":"/tea"},{"backend":{"serviceName":"coffee-svc","servicePort":80},"path":"/coffee"}]}}]},"status":{"loadBalancer":{"ingress":[{"ip":""}]}}}Events: Type Reason Age From Message ---- ------ ---- ---- ------- Normal CREATE 1m ingress-nginx-controller Ingress default/cafe-ingress Normal UPDATE 58s ingress-nginx-controller Ingress default/cafe-ingress

Check the Ingress Controller Logs

$ kubectl get pods -n <namespace-of-ingress-controller>NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGEingress-nginx-controller-67956bf89d-fv58j 1/1 Running 0 1m$ kubectl logs -n <namespace> ingress-nginx-controller-67956bf89d-fv58j-------------------------------------------------------------------------------NGINX Ingress controller Release: 0.14.0 Build: git-734361d Repository:

Check the Nginx Configuration

$ kubectl get pods -n <namespace-of-ingress-controller>NAME READY STATUS RESTARTS AGEingress-nginx-controller-67956bf89d-fv58j 1/1 Running 0 1m$ kubectl exec -it -n <namespace-of-ingress-controller> ingress-nginx-controller-67956bf89d-fv58j -- cat /etc/nginx/nginx.confdaemon off;worker_processes 2;pid /run/;worker_rlimit_nofile 523264;worker_shutdown_timeout 240s;events { multi_accept on; worker_connections 16384; use epoll;}http {....

Check if used Services Exist

$ kubectl get svc --all-namespacesNAMESPACE NAME TYPE CLUSTER-IP EXTERNAL-IP PORT(S) AGEdefault coffee-svc ClusterIP <none> 80/TCP 18mdefault kubernetes ClusterIP <none> 443/TCP 30mdefault tea-svc ClusterIP <none> 80/TCP 18mkube-system default-http-backend NodePort <none> 80:30001/TCP 30mkube-system kube-dns ClusterIP <none> 53/UDP,53/TCP 30mkube-system kubernetes-dashboard NodePort <none> 80:30000/TCP 30m

Debug Logging

Using the flag --v=XX it is possible to increase the level of logging. This is performed by editing the deployment.

$ kubectl get deploy -n <namespace-of-ingress-controller>NAME DESIRED CURRENT UP-TO-DATE AVAILABLE AGEdefault-http-backend 1 1 1 1 35mingress-nginx-controller 1 1 1 1 35m$ kubectl edit deploy -n <namespace-of-ingress-controller> ingress-nginx-controller# Add --v=X to "- args", where X is an integer
  • --v=2 shows details using diff about the changes in the configuration in nginx
  • --v=3 shows details about the service, Ingress rule, endpoint changes and it dumps the nginx configuration in JSON format
  • --v=5 configures NGINX in debug mode

Authentication to the Kubernetes API Server

A number of components are involved in the authentication process and the first step is to narrow down the source of the problem, namely whether it is a problem with service authentication or with the kubeconfig file.

Both authentications must work:

+-------------+ service +------------+| | authentication | |+ apiserver +<-------------------+ ingress || | | controller |+-------------+ +------------+

Service authentication

The Ingress controller needs information from apiserver. Therefore, authentication is required, which can be achieved in a couple of ways:

  • Service Account: This is recommended, because nothing has to be configured. The Ingress controller will use information provided by the system to communicate with the API server. See 'Service Account' section for details.

  • Kubeconfig file: In some Kubernetes environments service accounts are not available. In this case a manual configuration is required. The Ingress controller binary can be started with the --kubeconfig flag. The value of the flag is a path to a file specifying how to connect to the API server. Using the --kubeconfig does not requires the flag --apiserver-host. The format of the file is identical to ~/.kube/config which is used by kubectl to connect to the API server. See 'kubeconfig' section for details.

  • Using the flag --apiserver-host: Using this flag --apiserver-host=http://localhost:8080 it is possible to specify an unsecured API server or reach a remote kubernetes cluster using kubectl proxy. Please do not use this approach in production.

In the diagram below you can see the full authentication flow with all options, starting with the browser on the lower left hand side.

Kubernetes Workstation+---------------------------------------------------+ +------------------+| | | || +-----------+ apiserver +------------+ | | +------------+ || | | proxy | | | | | | || | apiserver | | ingress | | | | ingress | || | | | controller | | | | controller | || | | | | | | | | || | | | | | | | | || | | service account/ | | | | | | || | | kubeconfig | | | | | | || | +<-------------------+ | | | | | || | | | | | | | | || +------+----+ kubeconfig +------+-----+ | | +------+-----+ || |<--------------------------------------------------------| || | | |+---------------------------------------------------+ +------------------+

Service Account

If using a service account to connect to the API server, the ingress-controller expects the file /var/run/secrets/ to be present. It provides a secret token that is required to authenticate with the API server.

Verify with the following commands:

# start a container that contains curl$ kubectl run -it --rm test --image=curlimages/curl --restart=Never -- /bin/sh# check if secret exists/ $ ls /var/run/secrets/ namespace token/ $# check base connectivity from cluster inside/ $ curl -k https://kubernetes.default.svc.cluster.local{ "kind": "Status", "apiVersion": "v1", "metadata": { }, "status": "Failure", "message": "forbidden: User \"system:anonymous\" cannot get path \"/\"", "reason": "Forbidden", "details": { }, "code": 403}/ $# connect using tokens}/ $ curl --cacert /var/run/secrets/ -H "Authorization: Bearer $(cat /var/run/secrets/" https://kubernetes.default.svc.cluster.local&& echo{ "paths": [ "/api", "/api/v1", "/apis", "/apis/", ... TRUNCATED "/readyz/shutdown", "/version" ]}/ $# when you type `exit` or `^D` the test pod will be deleted.

If it is not working, there are two possible reasons:

  1. The contents of the tokens are invalid. Find the secret name with kubectl get secrets | grep service-account and delete it with kubectl delete secret <name>. It will automatically be recreated.

  2. You have a non-standard Kubernetes installation and the file containing the token may not be present. The API server will mount a volume containing this file, but only if the API server is configured to use the ServiceAccount admission controller. If you experience this error, verify that your API server is using the ServiceAccount admission controller. If you are configuring the API server by hand, you can set this with the --admission-control parameter.

    Note that you should use other admission controllers as well. Before configuring this option, you should read about admission controllers.

More information:


If you want to use a kubeconfig file for authentication, follow the deploy procedure and add the flag --kubeconfig=/etc/kubernetes/kubeconfig.yaml to the args section of the deployment.

Using GDB with Nginx

Gdb can be used to with nginx to perform a configuration dump. This allows us to see which configuration is being used, as well as older configurations.

Note: The below is based on the nginx documentation.

  1. SSH into the worker

    $ ssh user@workerIP
  2. Obtain the Docker Container Running nginx

    $ docker ps | grep ingress-nginx-controllerCONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMESd9e1d243156a "/usr/bin/dumb-init …" 19 minutes ago Up 19 minutes k8s_ingress-nginx-controller_ingress-nginx-controller-67956bf89d-mqxzt_kube-system_079f31ec-aa37-11e8-ad39-080027a227db_0
  3. Exec into the container

  4. Make sure nginx is running in --with-debug

    $ nginx -V 2>&1 | grep -- '--with-debug'
  5. Get list of processes running on container

    $ ps -efUID PID PPID C STIME TTY TIME CMDroot 1 0 0 20:23 ? 00:00:00 /usr/bin/dumb-init /nginx-ingresroot 5 1 0 20:23 ? 00:00:05 /ingress-nginx-controller --defaroot 21 5 0 20:23 ? 00:00:00 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nobody 106 21 0 20:23 ? 00:00:00 nginx: worker processnobody 107 21 0 20:23 ? 00:00:00 nginx: worker processroot 172 0 0 20:43 pts/0 00:00:00 bash
  6. Attach gdb to the nginx master process

    $ gdb -p 21....Attaching to process 21Reading symbols from /usr/sbin/nginx...done.....(gdb)
  7. Copy and paste the following:

    set $cd = ngx_cycle->config_dumpset $nelts = $cd.neltsset $elts = (ngx_conf_dump_t*)($cd.elts)while ($nelts-- > 0)set $name = $elts[$nelts]->name.dataprintf "Dumping %s to nginx_conf.txt\n", $nameappend memory nginx_conf.txt \ $elts[$nelts]->buffer.start $elts[$nelts]->buffer.endend
  8. Quit GDB by pressing CTRL+D

  9. Open nginx_conf.txt

    cat nginx_conf.txt
  1. Incase you face below error while installing Nginx using helm chart (either by helm commands or helm_release terraform provider )

    Warning Failed 5m5s (x4 over 6m34s) kubelet Failed to pull image "": rpc error: code = Unknown desc = failed to pull and unpack image "": failed to resolve reference "": failed to do request: Head "": EOF
    Then please follow the below steps.
  2. During troubleshooting you can also execute the below commands to test the connectivities from you local machines and repositories details

    a. curl > /dev/null

    (⎈ |myprompt)➜ ~ curl > /dev/null % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 0 (⎈ |myprompt)➜ ~
    b. curl -I
    (⎈ |myprompt)➜ ~ curl -I HTTP/2 200 docker-distribution-api-version: registry/2.0 content-type: application/vnd.docker.distribution.manifest.list.v2+json docker-content-digest: sha256:549e71a6ca248c5abd51cdb73dbc3083df62cf92ed5e6147c780e30f7e007a47 content-length: 1384 date: Wed, 28 Sep 2022 16:46:28 GMT server: Docker Registry x-xss-protection: 0 x-frame-options: SAMEORIGIN alt-svc: h3=":443"; ma=2592000,h3-29=":443"; ma=2592000,h3-Q050=":443"; ma=2592000,h3-Q046=":443"; ma=2592000,h3-Q043=":443"; ma=2592000,quic=":443"; ma=2592000; v="46,43" (⎈ |myprompt)➜ ~
    Redirection in the proxy is implemented to ensure the pulling of the images.
  3. This is the solution recommended to whitelist the below image repositories :

    * * **
    More details about the above repos : a. * -> To ensure you can pull any images from b. * -> GCP services are used for image hosting. This is part of the domains suggested by GCP to allow and ensure users can pull images from their container registry services. c. * -> This a Google domain. part of the domain used for GCR.

Unable to listen on port (80/443)

One possible reason for this error is lack of permission to bind to the port. Ports 80, 443, and any other port < 1024 are Linux privileged ports which historically could only be bound by root. The ingress-nginx-controller uses the CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE linux capability to allow binding these ports as a normal user (www-data / 101). This involves two components: 1. In the image, the /nginx-ingress-controller file has the cap_net_bind_service capability added (e.g. via setcap) 2. The NET_BIND_SERVICE capability is added to the container in the containerSecurityContext of the deployment.

If encountering this on one/some node(s) and not on others, try to purge and pull a fresh copy of the image to the affected node(s), in case there has been corruption of the underlying layers to lose the capability on the executable.

Create a test pod

The /nginx-ingress-controller process exits/crashes when encountering this error, making it difficult to troubleshoot what is happening inside the container. To get around this, start an equivalent container running "sleep 3600", and exec into it for further troubleshooting. For example:

apiVersion: v1kind: Podmetadata: name: ingress-nginx-sleep namespace: default labels: app: nginxspec: containers: - name: nginx image: ##_CONTROLLER_IMAGE_## resources: requests: memory: "512Mi" cpu: "500m" limits: memory: "1Gi" cpu: "1" command: ["sleep"] args: ["3600"] ports: - containerPort: 80 name: http protocol: TCP - containerPort: 443 name: https protocol: TCP securityContext: allowPrivilegeEscalation: true capabilities: add: - NET_BIND_SERVICE drop: - ALL runAsUser: 101 restartPolicy: Never nodeSelector: ##_NODE_NAME_## tolerations: - key: "" operator: "Exists" effect: NoSchedule
* update the namespace if applicable/desired * replace ##_NODE_NAME_## with the problematic node (or remove nodeSelector section if problem is not confined to one node) * replace ##_CONTROLLER_IMAGE_## with the same image as in use by your ingress-nginx deployment * confirm the securityContext section matches what is in place for ingress-nginx-controller pods in your cluster

Apply the YAML and open a shell into the pod. Try to manually run the controller process:

$ /nginx-ingress-controller
You should get the same error as from the ingress controller pod logs.

Confirm the capabilities are properly surfacing into the pod:

$ grep CapBnd /proc/1/statusCapBnd: 0000000000000400
The above value has only net_bind_service enabled (per security context in YAML which adds that and drops all). If you get a different value, then you can decode it on another linux box (capsh not available in this container) like below, and then figure out why specified capabilities are not propagating into the pod/container.
$ capsh --decode=00000000000004000x0000000000000400=cap_net_bind_service

Create a test pod as root

(Note, this may be restricted by PodSecurityPolicy, PodSecurityAdmission/Standards, OPA Gatekeeper, etc. in which case you will need to do the appropriate workaround for testing, e.g. deploy in a new namespace without the restrictions.) To test further you may want to install additional utilities, etc. Modify the pod yaml by: * changing runAsUser from 101 to 0 * removing the "drop..ALL" section from the capabilities.

Some things to try after shelling into this container:

Try running the controller as the www-data (101) user:

$ chmod 4755 /nginx-ingress-controller$ /nginx-ingress-controller
Examine the errors to see if there is still an issue listening on the port or if it passed that and moved on to other expected errors due to running out of context.

Install the libcap package and check capabilities on the file:

(if missing, see above about purging image on the server and re-pulling)

Strace the executable to see what system calls are being executed when it fails:

$ apk add strace(1/1) Installing strace (5.12-r0)Executing busybox-1.33.1-r7.triggerOK: 28 MiB in 42 packages$ strace /nginx-ingress-controllerexecve("/nginx-ingress-controller", ["/nginx-ingress-controller"], 0x7ffeb9eb3240 /* 131 vars */) = 0arch_prctl(ARCH_SET_FS, 0x29ea690) = 0...
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