Creating Kubernetes Cluster in Digital Ocean

October 30, 2023


You can find source code in our GitHub repo here

In this article we would create a Kubernetes Cluster in Digital Ocean using Terraform


  1. DigitalOcean Account: You should have a DigitalOcean account. If you don't have one, you can sign up for a DigitalOcean account at DigitalOcean
  2. API Token: You need a DigitalOcean API token to authenticate with the DigitalOcean API. You can generate an API token by following the steps mentioned in the DigitalOcean control panel.
  3. Terraform installed - here

As always we will start with file in our project folder:

provider "digitalocean" {
  token = var.pat_do_token

terraform {
  required_providers {
    digitalocean = {
      source  = "digitalocean/digitalocean"
      version = ">= 2.25.2"

We will create cluster with additional node pool for our example. Create file:

resource "random_id" "cluster_name" {
  byte_length = 5

locals {
  doks_cluster_name = "${var.env}-${var.cluster_name_prefix}-${random_id.cluster_name.hex}"

resource "digitalocean_kubernetes_cluster" "cluster" {
  name    = local.doks_cluster_name
  region  = var.region
  version = var.cluster_version
  ha      = true

  node_pool {
    name       = var.default_node_pool["name"]
    size       = var.default_node_pool["size"]
    node_count = var.default_node_pool["node_count"]
    auto_scale = var.default_node_pool["auto_scale"]
    min_nodes  = var.default_node_pool["min_nodes"]
    max_nodes  = var.default_node_pool["max_nodes"]

resource "digitalocean_kubernetes_node_pool" "cluster_extra_node_pool" {
  cluster_id =
  for_each   = var.additional_node_pools

  name       =
  size       = each.value.size
  node_count = each.value.node_count
  auto_scale = each.value.auto_scale
  min_nodes  = each.value.min_nodes
  max_nodes  = each.value.max_nodes
  • resource "random_id" "cluster_name": This resource generates a random string of bytes with a length of 5 characters. It's used to create a unique identifier for the DOKS cluster name.
  • locals: This section defines a local variable named doks_cluster_name. It combines various variables and the random ID generated in the previous step to form a unique name for the DOKS cluster.
  • resource "digitalocean_kubernetes_cluster" "cluster": This is the main resource for creating the DOKS cluster. It includes the following key parameters:
  • name: The name of the cluster, which is set to the unique name generated in the locals block.
  • region: The DigitalOcean region where the cluster will be created.
  • version: The Kubernetes version to use in the cluster.
  • ha: A boolean flag indicating whether to create a highly available cluster.
  • default node pool: is defined by the var.doks_default_node_pool variable.
  • resource "digitalocean_kubernetes_node_pool" "cluster_extra_node_pool": This resource allows you to define additional node pools that can be attached to the cluster. The node pools are defined using a for_each loop based on the doks_additional_node_pools variable.

To check available Kubernetes versions run:

doctl k8s options versions

You will have output like this, we need to use Slug value in our code

Slug           Kubernetes Version    Supported Features
1.28.2-do.0    1.28.2                cluster-autoscaler, docr-integration, ha-control-plane, token-authentication
1.27.6-do.0    1.27.6                cluster-autoscaler, docr-integration, ha-control-plane, token-authentication
1.26.9-do.0    1.26.9                cluster-autoscaler, docr-integration, ha-control-plane, token-authentication

Now let's declare our variables. Create file:

variable "pat_do_token" {
  description = "Personal Access Token to access the DigtialOcean API"
  default = "<YOUR_DO_TOKEN>"

variable "cluster_name_prefix" {
  type        = string
  default     = "k8s"
  description = "DOKS cluster name prefix value (a random suffix is appended automatically)"

variable "env" {
  type        = string
  default     = "test"
  description = "DOKS Kubernetes environment"

variable "cluster_version" {
  type        = string
  default     = "1.28.2-do.0"
  description = "DOKS Kubernetes version"

variable "region" {
  type        = string
  default     = "syd1"
  description = "DO region name"

variable "default_node_pool" {
  type = map(any)
  default = {
    name       = "default-pool"
    node_count = 1
    size       = "s-2vcpu-4gb"
    auto_scale = true
    min_nodes = 1
    max_nodes = 5
  description = "DOKS cluster default node pool configuration"

variable "additional_node_pools" {
  type = map(object({
    name       = string
    node_count = number
    size       = string
    auto_scale = bool
    min_nodes  = number
    max_nodes  = number

  default = {
    additional-pool-1 = {
      name       = "additional-pool-1"
      node_count = 1
      size       = "s-2vcpu-4gb"
      auto_scale = true
      min_nodes  = 1
      max_nodes  = 5
    # additional-pool-2 = {
    #   name       = "additional-pool-2"
    #   node_count = 2
    #   size       = "s-4vcpu-8gb"
    #   auto_scale = true
    #   min_nodes  = 2
    #   max_nodes  = 10
    # }
    # Add more node pool configurations as needed

  description = "DOKS cluster extra node pool configurations"

Please note: It's better approach to use environmental or input variable to provide your DO Token

Let's provide some outputs:

output "cluster_id" {
  value =

output "cluster_name" {
  value =

output "update_config" {
  value = "doctl kubernetes cluster kubeconfig save ${}"
  • update_config - gives us command to update kubeconfig file to connect to the cluster


In order to initialize terraform and download modules run:

`terraform init` 

You can also check which resources terraform is planning to create by running:

terraform plan

To provision resources run:

terraform apply

After terraform applied you will see similar output:

Apply complete! Resources: 2 added, 0 changed, 0 destroyed.


cluster_id = "8ee4c5a9-3e11-4a9e-818c-3aafe8fa0b97"
cluster_name = "test-k8s-a8f9444b02"
update_config = "doctl kubernetes cluster kubeconfig save test-k8s-a8f9444b02"

Verify conectivity to the cluster

First execute the command from update_config output in order to generate kubeconfig file:

doctl kubernetes cluster kubeconfig save test-k8s-a8f9444b02

Verify conectivity to the cluster with kubectl:

kubectl get no

You should see list of nodes:

NAME                      STATUS   ROLES    AGE     VERSION
additional-pool-1-xn25o   Ready    <none>   49s     v1.28.2
default-pool-xn2pv        Ready    <none>   3m45s   v1.28.2

You can find source code in our GitHub repo here