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Load Balancer Controller Installation

The Load Balancer controller (LBC) provisions AWS Network Load Balancer (NLB) and Application Load Balancer (ALB) resources. The LBC watches for new service or ingress kubernetes resources, and configures AWS resources.

The LBC is supported by AWS. Some clusters may using legacy "in-tree" functionality to provision AWS load balancers. The AWS Load Balancer Controller should be installed instead.

Existing AWS ALB Ingress Controller users

AWS ALB Ingress controller must be uninstalled before installing AWS Load Balancer Controller. Please follow our migration guide to do migration.

Supported Kubernetes Versions

  • AWS Load Balancer Controller v2.0.0~v2.1.3 requires Kubernetes 1.15+
  • AWS Load Balancer Controller v2.2.0~v2.3.1 requires Kubernetes 1.16-1.21
  • AWS Load Balancer Controller v2.4.0+ requires Kubernetes 1.19+

Deployment Considerations

Additional Requirements for non-EKS clusters:

  • Ensure subnets are tagged appropriately for auto-discovery to work
  • For IP targets, pods must have IPs from the VPC subnets. You can configure amazon-vpc-cni-k8s plugin for this purpose.

Using metadata server version 2 (IMDSv2)

If you are using the IMDSv2 you must set the hop limit to 2 or higher in order to allow the AWS Load Balancer Controller to perform the metadata introspection.

You can set the IMDSv2 hop limit as follows:

aws ec2 modify-instance-metadata-options --http-put-response-hop-limit 2 --region <region> --instance-id <instance-id>

Instead of depending on IMDSv2, you alternatively may specify the AWS region and the VPC via the controller flags --aws-region and --aws-vpc-id.

Configure IAM

The controller runs on the worker nodes, so it needs access to the AWS ALB/NLB APIs via IAM permissions.

The IAM permissions can either be setup via IAM roles for ServiceAccount (IRSA) or can be attached directly to the worker node IAM roles. If you are using kops or vanilla k8s, polices must be manually attached to node instances.

Option A: IAM Roles for Service Accounts (IRSA)

The reference IAM policies contain the following permissive configuration:

    "Effect": "Allow",
    "Action": [
    "Resource": "*"

We recommend to further scope down this configuration based on the VPC ID or cluster name resource tag.

Example condition for VPC ID:

    "Condition": {
        "ArnEquals": {
            "ec2:Vpc": "arn:aws:ec2:<REGION>:<ACCOUNT-ID>:vpc/<VPC-ID>"

Example condition for cluster name resource tag:

    "Condition": {
        "Null": {
            "aws:ResourceTag/<CLUSTER-NAME>": "false"

  1. Create IAM OIDC provider

    eksctl utils associate-iam-oidc-provider \
        --region <region-code> \
        --cluster <your-cluster-name> \

  2. Download IAM policy for the AWS Load Balancer Controller

    curl -o iam-policy.json

  3. Create an IAM policy called AWSLoadBalancerControllerIAMPolicy

    aws iam create-policy \
        --policy-name AWSLoadBalancerControllerIAMPolicy \
        --policy-document file://iam-policy.json
    Take note of the policy ARN that is returned

  4. Create a IAM role and ServiceAccount for the AWS Load Balancer controller, use the ARN from the step above

    eksctl create iamserviceaccount \
    --cluster=<cluster-name> \
    --namespace=kube-system \
    --name=aws-load-balancer-controller \
    --attach-policy-arn=arn:aws:iam::<AWS_ACCOUNT_ID>:policy/AWSLoadBalancerControllerIAMPolicy \
    --override-existing-serviceaccounts \
    --region <region-code> \

Option B: Attach IAM Policies to Nodes

If not setting up IAM for ServiceAccount, apply the IAM policies from the following URL at minimum.

curl -o iam-policy.json

IAM permission subset for those who use TargetGroupBinding only and don't plan to use the AWS Load Balancer Controller to manage security group rules:

    "Statement": [
            "Action": [
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Resource": "*"
    "Version": "2012-10-17"

Network Configuration

Review the worker nodes security group docs. The node security group must permit incoming traffic on TCP port 9443 from the kubernetes control plane. This is needed for webhook access.

If you use eksctl, this is the default configuration.

Add Controller to Cluster

We recommend using the Helm chart. This supports Fargate and facilitates updating the controller.

If you want to run the controller on Fargate, use the Helm chart since it does not depend on the cert-manager.

Detailed Instructions

Follow the instructions in aws-load-balancer-controller helm chart.


  1. Add the EKS chart repo to helm
    helm repo add eks
  2. Install the TargetGroupBinding CRDs if upgrading the chart via helm upgrade.

    kubectl apply -k ""


    The helm install command automatically applies the CRDs, but helm upgrade doesn't.

Helm install command for clusters with IRSA:

helm install aws-load-balancer-controller eks/aws-load-balancer-controller -n kube-system --set clusterName=<cluster-name> --set serviceAccount.create=false --set

Helm install command for clusters not using IRSA:

helm install aws-load-balancer-controller eks/aws-load-balancer-controller -n kube-system --set clusterName=<cluster-name>

Install cert-manager

kubectl apply --validate=false -f

Apply YAML

  1. Download spec for load balancer controller.
  2. Edit the saved yaml file, go to the Deployment spec, and set the controller --cluster-name arg value to your EKS cluster name
    apiVersion: apps/v1
    kind: Deployment
    . . .
    name: aws-load-balancer-controller
    namespace: kube-system
        . . .
                    - args:
                        - --cluster-name=<INSERT_CLUSTER_NAME>
  3. If you use IAM roles for service accounts, we recommend that you delete the ServiceAccount from the yaml spec. This will preserve the eksctl created iamserviceaccount if you delete the installation section from the yaml spec.
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: ServiceAccount
  4. Apply the yaml file
    kubectl apply -f v2_4_6_full.yaml
  5. Optionally download the default ingressclass and ingressclass params
  6. Apply the ingressclass and params
    kubectl apply -f v2_4_6_ingclass.yaml

Create Update Strategy

The controller doesn't receive security updates automatically. You need to manually upgrade to a newer version when it becomes available.

This can be done using helm upgrade or another strategy to manage the controller deployment.