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kubectl-diff - Man Page

Diff the live version against a would-be applied version

Eric Paris Jan 2015


kubectl diff [Options]


Diff configurations specified by file name or stdin between the current online configuration, and the configuration as it would be if applied.

The output is always YAML.

KUBECTL_EXTERNAL_DIFF environment variable can be used to select your own diff command. Users can use external commands with params too, example: KUBECTL_EXTERNAL_DIFF="colordiff -N -u"

By default, the "diff" command available in your path will be run with the "-u" (unified diff) and "-N" (treat absent files as empty) options.

Exit status: 0 No differences were found. 1 Differences were found. >1 Kubectl or diff failed with an error.

Note: KUBECTL_EXTERNAL_DIFF, if used, is expected to follow that convention.


--concurrency=1 Number of objects to process in parallel when diffing against the live version. Larger number = faster, but more memory, I/O and CPU over that shorter period of time.

--field-manager="kubectl-client-side-apply" Name of the manager used to track field ownership.

-f, --filename=[] Filename, directory, or URL to files contains the configuration to diff

--force-conflicts=false If true, server-side apply will force the changes against conflicts.

-k, --kustomize="" Process the kustomization directory. This flag can't be used together with -f or -R.

--prune=false Include resources that would be deleted by pruning. Can be used with -l and default shows all resources would be pruned

--prune-allowlist=[] Overwrite the default whitelist with  for --prune

-R, --recursive=false Process the directory used in -f, --filename recursively. Useful when you want to manage related manifests organized within the same directory.

-l, --selector="" Selector (label query) to filter on, supports '=', '==', and '!='.(e.g. -l key1=value1,key2=value2). Matching objects must satisfy all of the specified label constraints.

--server-side=false If true, apply runs in the server instead of the client.

--show-managed-fields=false If true, include managed fields in the diff.

Options Inherited from Parent Commands

--as="" Username to impersonate for the operation. User could be a regular user or a service account in a namespace.

--as-group=[] Group to impersonate for the operation, this flag can be repeated to specify multiple groups.

--as-uid="" UID to impersonate for the operation.

--azure-container-registry-config="" Path to the file containing Azure container registry configuration information.

--cache-dir="/home/username/.kube/cache" Default cache directory

--certificate-authority="" Path to a cert file for the certificate authority

--client-certificate="" Path to a client certificate file for TLS

--client-key="" Path to a client key file for TLS

--cluster="" The name of the kubeconfig cluster to use

--context="" The name of the kubeconfig context to use

--disable-compression=false If true, opt-out of response compression for all requests to the server

--insecure-skip-tls-verify=false If true, the server's certificate will not be checked for validity. This will make your HTTPS connections insecure

--kubeconfig="" Path to the kubeconfig file to use for CLI requests.

--match-server-version=false Require server version to match client version

-n, --namespace="" If present, the namespace scope for this CLI request

--password="" Password for basic authentication to the API server

--profile="none" Name of profile to capture. One of (none|cpu|heap|goroutine|threadcreate|block|mutex)

--profile-output="profile.pprof" Name of the file to write the profile to

--request-timeout="0" The length of time to wait before giving up on a single server request. Non-zero values should contain a corresponding time unit (e.g. 1s, 2m, 3h). A value of zero means don't timeout requests.

-s, --server="" The address and port of the Kubernetes API server

--tls-server-name="" Server name to use for server certificate validation. If it is not provided, the hostname used to contact the server is used

--token="" Bearer token for authentication to the API server

--user="" The name of the kubeconfig user to use

--username="" Username for basic authentication to the API server

--version=false --version, --version=raw prints version information and quits; --version=vX.Y.Z... sets the reported version

--warnings-as-errors=false Treat warnings received from the server as errors and exit with a non-zero exit code


  # Diff resources included in pod.json
  kubectl diff -f pod.json
  # Diff file read from stdin
  cat service.yaml | kubectl diff -f -

See Also



January 2015, Originally compiled by Eric Paris (eparis at redhat dot com) based on the kubernetes source material, but hopefully they have been automatically generated since!

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