Using Custom Plugin Indexes

Plugin indexes contain plugin manifests, which are documents that describe installation procedure for a plugin. For discovery purposes, Krew comes with a default plugin index, plugins hosted in the krew-index repository.

However, some plugin authors may choose to host their own indexes that contain their curation of kubectl plugins. These are called “custom plugin indexes”.

Adding a custom index

A custom plugin index can be added with the kubectl krew index add command:

$ kubectl krew index add foo

The URI you use can be any git remote (e.g.,

Removing a custom index

You can remove a custom plugin index by passing the name it was added with to the remove command:

$ kubectl krew index remove foo

Listing indexes

To see what indexes you have added run the list command:

$ kubectl krew index list

Installing plugins from custom indexes

Commands for managing plugins (e.g. install, upgrade) work with custom indexes as well.

By default, Krew prefixes plugins with a default/ prefix. So to install a plugin from a custom index, you need to specify it in the format INDEX_NAME/PLUGIN_NAME.

For example, to install a plugin named bar from custom index foo:

$ kubectl krew install foo/bar


  • To list all plugins (including the ones from custom indexes), run:

    $ kubectl krew search
  • To remove a plugin, you don’t need to specify its index:

    $ kubectl krew uninstall PLUGIN_NAME
  • To get information about a plugin from a custom index:

    $ kubectl krew info INDEX_NAME/PLUGIN_NAME

Caveat: If two indexes offer a plugin with the same name, only one can be installed at any time.

The default index

When a plugin doesn’t have an explicit INDEX_NAME prefix, it refers to a plugin from the default index. These plugins have an implicit default/ prepended to them in Krew commands. The INDEX_NAME prefix is used to differentiate plugins with the same name across different indexes.

Krew ships with krew-index as the default index, but this can be removed using the kubectl krew index remove default command. Once this is removed, you can add another index with the name default and plugins from it will not require the INDEX_NAME prefix in commands.

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