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Kubernetes Difference between ingress & load balancer

Links: 110 Kubernetes Index

Load Balancer

  • If you want to directly expose a service, this is the default method.
    • attachments/Pasted image 20220829210218.jpg
  • All traffic on the port you specify will be forwarded to the service.
  • There is no filtering, no routing, etc.
  • This means you can send almost any kind of traffic to it, like HTTP, TCP, UDP, Websockets, gRPC, or whatever.
  • The big downside is that each service you expose with a LoadBalancer will get its own IP address, and you have to pay for a LoadBalancer per exposed service, which can get expensive!


  • Ingress is NOT a type of service it is of kind: Ingress.
  • Instead, it sits in front of multiple services and act as a "smart router" or entrypoint into your cluster.
  • You can do a lot of different things with an Ingress, and there are many types of Ingress controllers that have different capabilities.
  • The default GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine) ingress controller will spin up a HTTP(S) Load Balancer for you.
    • This will let you do both path based and subdomain based routing to backend services.
    • For example, you can send everything on to the foo service, and everything under the path to the bar service.
  • Ingress example
    • attachments/Pasted image 20220829210524.jpg

When should you use ingress?

  • Ingress is probably the most powerful way to expose your services, but can also be the most complicated.
  • There are many types of Ingress controllers, from the Google Cloud Load BalancerNginxContourIstio, and more.
  • There are also plugins for Ingress controllers, like the cert-manager, that can automatically provision SSL certificates for your services.
  • Ingress is the most useful if you want to expose multiple services under the same IP address, and these services all use the same L7 protocol (typically HTTP).
  • You only pay for one load balancer if you are using the native GCP integration, and because Ingress is “smart” you can get a lot of features out of the box (like SSL, Auth, Routing, etc)


Last updated: 2022-09-09