Installing or upgrading CoreDNS - Amazon EKS

Installing or upgrading CoreDNS

CoreDNS is supported on Amazon EKS clusters with Kubernetes version 1.16 or later. Clusters that were created with Kubernetes version 1.10 shipped with kube-dns as the default DNS and service discovery provider. If you have updated from a 1.10 cluster and you want to use CoreDNS for DNS and service discovery, then you must install CoreDNS and remove kube-dns.

To check if your cluster is already running CoreDNS, use the following command.

kubectl get pod -n kube-system -l k8s-app=kube-dns

If the output shows coredns in the pod names, then you're already running CoreDNS in your cluster. If not, use the following procedure to update your DNS and service discovery provider to CoreDNS.


The service for CoreDNS is still called kube-dns for backward compatibility.

To install CoreDNS on an updated Amazon EKS cluster with kubectl

  1. Add the {"": "kube-dns"} selector to the kube-dns deployment for your cluster. This prevents the two DNS deployments from competing for control of the same set of labels.

    kubectl patch -n kube-system deployment/kube-dns --patch \ '{"spec":{"selector":{"matchLabels":{"":"kube-dns"}}}}'
  2. Deploy CoreDNS to your cluster.

    1. Set your cluster's DNS IP address to the DNS_CLUSTER_IP environment variable.

      export DNS_CLUSTER_IP=$(kubectl get svc -n kube-system kube-dns -o jsonpath='{.spec.clusterIP}')
    2. Replace <region-code> (including <>) with the Region code that your cluster is in.

      export REGION="<region-code>"
    3. Download the CoreDNS manifest.

      curl -o dns.yaml
    4. Replace the variable placeholders in the dns.yaml file with your environment variable values and apply the updated manifest to your cluster. The following command completes this in one step.

      cat dns.yaml | sed -e "s/REGION/$REGION/g" | sed -e "s/DNS_CLUSTER_IP/$DNS_CLUSTER_IP/g" | kubectl apply -f -
    5. Fetch the coredns pod name from your cluster.

      COREDNS_POD=$(kubectl get pod -n kube-system -l \ -o jsonpath='{.items[0]}')
    6. Query the coredns pod to ensure that it's receiving requests.

      kubectl get --raw /api/v1/namespaces/kube-system/pods/$COREDNS_POD:9153/proxy/metrics \ | grep 'coredns_dns_request_count_total'

      It might take several minutes for the expected output to return properly, depending on the rate of DNS requests in your cluster.

      In the following expected output, the number 23 is the DNS request count total.

      # HELP coredns_dns_request_count_total Counter of DNS requests made per zone, protocol and family.
      # TYPE coredns_dns_request_count_total counter
      coredns_dns_request_count_total{family="1",proto="udp",server="dns://:53",zone="."} 23
  3. Update CoreDNS to the recommended version for your cluster by completing the steps in Upgrading CoreDNS.

  4. Scale down the kube-dns deployment to zero replicas.

    kubectl scale -n kube-system deployment/kube-dns --replicas=0
  5. Clean up the old kube-dns resources.

    kubectl delete -n kube-system deployment/kube-dns serviceaccount/kube-dns configmap/kube-dns

Upgrading CoreDNS

  1. Check the current version of your cluster's coredns deployment.

    kubectl describe deployment coredns --namespace kube-system | grep Image | cut -d "/" -f 3



    The recommended coredns versions for the corresponding Kubernetes versions are as follows:

    Kubernetes version 1.19 1.18 1.17 1.16
    CoreDNS 1.8.0 1.7.0 1.6.6 1.6.6 1.6.6
  2. If your current coredns version is 1.5.0 or later, but earlier than the recommended version, then skip this step. If your current version is earlier than 1.5.0, then you need to modify the config map for coredns to use the forward plug-in, rather than the proxy plug-in.

    1. Open the configmap with the following command.

      kubectl edit configmap coredns -n kube-system
    2. Replace proxy in the following line with forward. Save the file and exit the editor.

      proxy . /etc/resolv.conf
  3. If you originally deployed your cluster on Kubernetes 1.17 or earlier, then you may need to remove a discontinued term from your CoreDNS manifest.


    You must complete this before upgrading to CoreDNS version 1.7.0, but it's recommended that you complete this step even if you're upgrading to an earlier version.

    1. Check to see if your CoreDNS manifest has the line.

      kubectl get configmap coredns -n kube-system -o jsonpath='{$.data.Corefile}' | grep upstream

      If no output is returned, your manifest doesn't have the line and you can skip to the next step to update CoreDNS. If output is returned, then you need to remove the line.

    2. Edit the configmap with the following command, removing the line in the file that has the word upstream in it. Do not change anything else in the file. Once the line is removed, save the changes.

      kubectl edit configmap coredns -n kube-system -o yaml
  4. Retrieve your current coredns image:

    kubectl get deployment coredns --namespace kube-system -o=jsonpath='{$.spec.template.spec.containers[:1].image}'
  5. Update coredns to the recommended version by replacing the account ID and Region using the output from the previous step and and replacing <1.8.0> (including <>) with your cluster's recommended coredns version:

    kubectl set image --namespace kube-system deployment.apps/coredns \ coredns=<>/eks/coredns:v<1.8.0>-eksbuild.1