How to copy files and directories from and to a running Kubernetes Pod?

If you had to copy a file or a folder from one Linux server to another you would use either the scp command or the rsync command.

Here is how you could copy a file or a folder from and to a running Kubernetes Pod.

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Bobby Iliev
Site Moderator
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October 11, 2020
Accepted Answer

In order to copy files and directories from a Pod, you could use the kubectl cp command.

The syntax is similar to the standard cp command, but you need:

kubectl cp source destination

Let’s go through a couple of scenarios!

Coping a file or a folder from your host to the Pod

In order to copy a file or a folder from your host to a running pod you can use the following command:

  • Syntax:
  1. kubectl cp /path/to/your_folder name-of-your-pod:/path/to/destination_folder
  • Example, here I will copy a file called index.html to the /var/www/html folder inside my my-lamp-server pod:
  1. kubectl cp /home/sammy/index.html my-lamp-server:/var/www/html/index.html

The above command will work with both a file and a folder. Unlike the cp command, you don’t have to specify the -r argument.

Coping a file or a folder from the Pod to your host

If there is a file inside your pod which you would like to copy to your local machine, you need to use the following command:

  • Syntax:
  1. kubectl cp name-of-your-pod:/path/to/your_folder /path/on_your_host/to/your_folder
  • Example, here I will copy my error log file from my-lamp-server to my local machine:
  1. kubectl cp my-lamp-server:/var/log/apache2/error.log /home/sammy/error.log

Copy from a specific container

In some cases you might have multiple containers running inside your Pod. In order to specify which one you want to copy from or to you just need to use the -c argument:

kubectl cp name-of-your-pod:/path/to/your_folder /path/on_your_host/to/your_folder -c some-container-name-here


For more information, make sure to check out the official documentation here:

For more information about Kubernetes, make sure to check out this introduction to Kubernetes tutorial:

I hope that this helps! Regards, Bobby

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