github cert-manager/cert-manager v1.8.0

latest releases: v1.9.1, v1.9.0, v1.9.0-beta.1...
4 months ago

cert-manager is the easiest way to automatically manage certificates in Kubernetes and OpenShift clusters.

cert-manager 1.8 includes wider support for Kubernetes server-side-apply, a new build and development experience based around
Makefiles rather than Bazel, and a range of other improvements, tweaks and bug fixes.

Version 1.8 also marks our first release in which the Go import path for cert-manager is that of the repo's new home:

Breaking Changes (You MUST read this before you upgrade!)

Validation of the rotationPolicy field

The field spec.privateKey.rotationPolicy on Certificate resources is now validated. Valid options are Never and Always. If you are using a GitOps flow and one of your YAML manifests contains a Certificate with an invalid value, you will need to update it with a valid value to prevent your GitOps tool from failing on the new validation. Please follow the instructions listed on the page Upgrading from v1.7 to v1.8. (#4913, @jahrlin)

What happens if I upgrade to 1.8.0 without doing the above steps?

After upgrading to 1.8.0, when updating existing Certificate objects that have an incorrect value for rotationPolicy, Kubernetes clients such as kubectl, Helm, or ArgoCD will start showing the following message: "my-cert" is invalid: spec.privateKey.rotationPolicy: Unsupported value: "Foo": supported values: "Never", "Always".
Why was this change necessary?

Previously, when the value of the rotationPolicy field was set to an incorrect value, you would not know since no event or condition would be visible on the Certificate itself. The only way to know that something was wrong was to dig into the cert-manager-controller logs and see the message "Certificate with unknown certificate.spec.privateKey.rotationPolicy value":

I0329 12:43:13.325771       1 keymanager_controller.go:176] cert-manager/certificates-key-manager "msg"="Certificate with unknown certificate.spec.privateKey.rotationPolicy value" "key"="default/my-cert" "rotation_policy"="Foo"

This change was implemented in #4913.

Changed Container Layouts

This only affects you if you're modifying cert-manager containers in some way, such as adding init scripts or otherwise
changing how the binaries inside the containers are called.

Bazel has a unique way of creating containers, which places the actual binary at a long unusual path. For the v1.7.0 cert-manager-webhook
container for example, the binary is placed at /app/cmd/webhook/webhook.runfiles/com_github_jetstack_cert_manager/cmd/webhook/webhook_/webhook
and /app/cmd/webhook/webhook is provided as a symlink to the binary.

This is simplified in our new build system; we only place a single binary at /app/cmd/webhook/webhook and the old path disappears.
This applies to all cert-manager containers.

We also removed the "LICENSES" file from the containers and replaced it with a link to the cert-manager repo.

.exe Extension on Windows

We package cmctl and kubectl_cert-manager for Windows on amd64 platforms, but previously the binaries had the
same names as the binaries on other platforms, e.g. cmctl with no file extension.

In 1.8.0 and later, the binaries now have a .exe extension since this is standard practice on Windows. This could affect you
if you're calling the binary in a Powershell script, for example.

We've also now added zip-compressed versions of the cmctl and kubectl_cert-manager binaries on Windows, since .tar.gz is less
common on Windows.

Changed Import Path

This will only affect you if you're writing code in Go which imports cert-manager as a module, which we generally recommend against
doing in most cases.

All versions of cert-manager prior to v1.8.0 used a Go import path corresponding to the old cert-manager repository,

v1.8.0 marks the first release in which the import path changes to the new location,

We have a guide for Importing cert-manager in Go on with all the details, including
details on why we don't recommend importing cert-manager as a module if that's avoidable.

Major Themes

Server-Side Apply

cert-manager v1.8.0 adds initial support for Kubernetes Server-Side Apply, which became stable
in Kubernetes 1.22. This support is behind a feature gate for now, and is only supported by cert-manager on Kubernetes 1.22 and later.

Server-Side Apply helps to ensure that changes to resources are made in a managed way, and aims to prevent certain classes of bugs. Notably, it should
eliminate conflicts when multiple controllers try to apply status changes to a single resource. You'll likely have seen messages relating to this kind of
conflict in logs before, e.g.:

I0119 12:34:56.000000       1 controller.go:161] cert-manager/controller/certificaterequests-issuer-acme "msg"="re-queuing item due to optimistic locking on resource" "key"="my-namespace/my-cr" "error"="Operation cannot be fulfilled on \"my-cr\": the object has been modified; please apply your changes to the latest version and try again"

These conflicts aren't usually actually a problem which will block the issuance of a certificate, but they can delay things as they cause extra
reconcile loops. Server-side apply cleans things up, which should mean less noise in logs and fewer pointless reconcile loops.

If you want to test it out, you can enable alpha-level cert-manager Server-Side Apply support through the
--feature-gates controller flag.

From Bazel to Make

A common theme when someone tries to make a change to cert-manager for the first time is that they ask for help with navigating Bazel, which cert-manager
used as its build tool. Helping people with Bazel isn't easy; it's an incredibly powerful tool, but that power also brings a lot of complications
which can seriously get in the way of being able to make even simple changes to the code base. Even developers who are familiar with contributing
to open source projects in Go can find it daunting to make changes thanks to Bazel.

The problem isn't limited to open-source contributors; many of cert-manager's maintainers also struggle with configuring and changing Bazel, too.

cert-manager 1.8 is the first release which is built and tested using a newly written make-based build system. We believe that this new build system should
make it much simpler to understand and change the commands which are being run behind the scenes to build and test cert-manager. In time, we'll fully
document the new build system, ensure it's at full feature-parity with Bazel and then remove all references to Bazel across the codebase.

A neat side effect of this change is that our build times have significantly improved. Bazel took around 14 minutes to build every cert-manager
artifact for every platform during a release, while the new make build system can do the same (and more) in under 5 minutes.

Exponential backoff after a failed issuance

cert-manager v1.8.0 introduces exponential backoff after failed certificate issuance.

Previously, a failed issuance was retried every hour which — especially in larger cert-manager installations — could cause rate limits to be hit as well as overwhelm external services. Failed attempts
are now retried with a binary exponential backoff starting with 1h then 2h, 4h up to a maximum of 32h. As part of the new backoff behavior, a new failedIssuanceAttempts field was added to the
Certificate spec to track the number of currently failed issuances.

The cmctl renew command command can still be used to force Certificate renewal immediately.

We're also considering reducing the initial backoff from 1 hour. If you have a use case where this would be useful please do comment on our tracking issue.


cert-manager thrives thanks to the community and we're always grateful for receiving open-source contributions!

Thanks to the following community members who landed a commit in this release:

Thanks also to the cert-manager maintainer team involved with this release

Changelog since v1.7.0


  • ACTION REQUIRED: The field spec.privateKey.rotationPolicy on Certificate resources is now validated. Valid options are Never and Always. If you are using a GitOps flow and one of your YAML manifests contains a Certificate with an invalid value, you will need to update it with a valid value to prevent your GitOps tool from failing on the new validation. (#4913, @jahrlin)
  • Build: add make targets for running unit and integration tests, as part of the Bazel replacement. (#4865, @SgtCoDFish)
  • Build: add make targets for running the end-to-end tests, as part of the Bazel replacement. (#4914, @maelvls)
  • cert-manager now supports the field spec.expirationSeconds on Kubernetes CertificateSigningRequest resources. Using this field requires Kubernetes 1.22. You can still use the annotation to request a duration. (#4957, @enj)
  • cert-manager now properly updates the content of the data keys tls-combined.pem and key.der on Secret resources that are associated to Certificate resources that use the field additionalOutputFormats. The field additionalOutputFormat is an alpha feature and can be enabled by passing the flag --feature-gates=AdditionalCertificateOutputFormats=true to the cert-manager controller. (#4813, @JoshVanL)
  • ClusterRoles aggregation to user-facing admin/edit/view ClusterRoles can be optionally turned off (#4937, @illrill)
  • ACTION REQUIRED: Server-Side Apply: the feature gate ServerSideApply=true now configures the ingress-shim and gateway-shim controllers to use Kubernetes Server-Side Apply on Certificate resources. When upgrading to cert-manger 1.8 with ServerSideApply=true, do make sure there are no Challenge resources currently in the cluster. If there are some, you will need to manually delete them once they are in 'valid' state as cert-manager post-1.8 with the Server-Side Apply feature is not able to clean up Challenge resources created pre-1.8. (#4811, @JoshVanL)
  • Server-Side Apply: the feature gate ServerSideApply=true configures the certificaterequests-* controllers to use Kubernetes Server-Side Apply on CertificateRequest resources. (#4792, @JoshVanL)
  • Server-Side Apply: the feature gate ServerSideApply=true configures the certificates-* controllers to use Kubernetes Server-Side Apply on Certificate resources. (#4777, @JoshVanL)
  • Server-Side Apply: the feature gate ServerSideApply=true configures the CertificateSigningRequest controllers to use Kubernetes Server-Side Apply on CertificateSigningRequest resources. (#4798, @JoshVanL)
  • Server-Side Apply: the feature gate ServerSideApply=true configures the issuers and clusterissuers controllers to use Kubernetes Server-Side Apply on Issuer and ClusterIssuer resources. (#4794, @JoshVanL)
  • Server-Side Apply: the feature gate ServerSideApply=true configures the orders controller to use Kubernetes Server-Side Apply on Order resources. (#4799, @JoshVanL)
  • The annotation now has a minimum value of 600 seconds. This annotation This change ensures compatibility with the Kubernetes resource CertificateSigningRequest, which requires a minimum of 600 seconds on the field spec.expirationSeconds. (#4973, @irbekrm)
  • The annotation used by the Ingress shim when creating Ingress resources can now be overridden by setting the field ingressTemplate on the Issuer and ClusterIssuer. (#4789, @tasharnvb)
  • The experimental Gateway API support now uses the v1alpha2 CRDs. (#4791, @jakexks)
  • The user-agent used by cert-manager in its Kubernetes API clients and ACME clients now takes the form cert-manager-<component name>/<version> (<os>/<arch>) cert-manager/<git commit>. Another change is the addition of specific field managers strings; previously, all the controllers had the same field manager cert-manager. Now, each controller has its own field manager string of the form cert-manager-<controller name>. (#4773, @JoshVanL)
  • You can now uninstall cert-manager using the command cmctl experimental uninstall. (#4897, @jahrlin)
  • You can now use an external issuer resource as the default issuer when using the Ingress shim feature. The default issuer can be set using the flags --default-issuer-group, --default-issuer-kind, and --default-issuer-name. (#4833, @jakexks)


  • ACTION REQUIRED: The import path for cert-manager has been updated to If you import cert-manager as a go module (which isn't currently recommended), you'll need to update the module import path in your code to import cert-manager 1.8 or later. (#4587, @SgtCoDFish)

Bug or Regression

  • ACTION REQUIRED: The field additionalOutputFormats, which is available as an alpha feature on Certificate resources, is now correctly validated. Previously, it would only get validated when the privateKey field was set on the Certificate. If you are using the additionalOutputFormats field, you will want to add the feature gate AdditionalCertificateOutputFormats to both the webhook and the controller. Previously, you only needed to set AdditionalCertificateOutputFormats on the controller. If the feature gate is missing on either the controller or the webhook, you won't be able to use the additionalOutputFormat field. (#4814, @JoshVanL)
  • The Go version used to build the cert-manager binaries has been bumped to 1.17.8 to fix a slew of CVEs (none of which were likely to be exploited). (#4970, @vhosakot)
  • Helm: the default nodeSelector is now linux. If this label isn't present on any nodes in the cluster, the nodeSelector will need to be overwritten, or that label added to some nodes. (#3605, @mikebryant)
  • Use multivalue records instead of simple records for the AWS Route53 ACME DNS challenge solver, to allow for multiple challenges for the same domain at the same time (#4793, @fvlaicu)

Other (Cleanup or Flake)

  • Aggregated admin and edit roles will now include permissions to update certificates' status, which will allow namespace admins and editors to run the cmctl renew command in their namespaces. (#4955, @andreadecorte)
  • Cleanup: No longer log an error when cert-manager encounters a conflict in the secrets manager, in favor of always force applying. (#4815, @JoshVanL)
  • Failed certificate issuances are now retried with an exponential backoff where the backoff periods are 1h, 2h, 4h, 8h, 16h, 32h. A new field failedIssuanceAttempts is now set by cert-manager on the Certificate status. This field keeps track of consecutive failed issuances. The backoff period gets reset after a successful issuance. Like before, updating a field on a failed Certificate (such as spec.dnsNames) or running the command cmctl renew continues to trigger a re-issuance. (#4772, @irbekrm)
  • When starting up, cert-manager now solely relies on Lease objects to perform the leader election. Previously, cert-manager supported both ConfigMap and Lease objects for leader election. Existing ConfigMap resources used for leader election will remain and will need deleting manually. A side effect of this is that you cannot upgrade to v1.8.0 from cert-manager 1.3 (although upgrading multiple versions at a time was never supported). (#4935, @davidsbond)
  • Helm: you can now set custom labels on the ServiceAccount resources using the values serviceAccount.labels, cainjector.serviceAccount.labels, webhook.serviceAccount.labels, and startupapicheck.serviceAccount.labels. (#4932, @4molybdenum2)


  • Introducing a new metric controller_sync_error_count counting the number of errors during sync() of a controller. (#4987, @jayme-github)
  • When creating an acmesolver pod, cert-manager now sets allowPrivilegeEscalation to false by default. The Helm chart now also sets securityContext.allowPrivilegeEscalation to false by default for the controller, cainjector, and webhook pods as well as for the startupapicheck job. (#4953, @ajvn)

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