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What Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff? And steps to fix it

Kubernetes is an incredibly powerful tool for container orchestration, but it can sometimes be challenging to manage. One common issue you might encounter when running applications on Kubernetes is the dreaded “CrashLoopBackOff.”

CrashLoopBackOff in Kubernetes signifies a continuous restart loop within a Pod. It occurs when a container starts but consistently crashes, prompting the system to restart it repeatedly. Kubernetes introduces increasing back-off times between these restarts, allowing time for error resolution. It’s important to note that CrashLoopBackOff itself is not an error; rather, it signals an underlying issue preventing the proper startup of a Pod.

As a part of our significant service which is Kubernets consulting service, we made this blog for you. With this guide, we will provide you with a complete guide to Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff.  In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what a CrashLoopBackOff is, explore its common causes, and provide step-by-step solutions to fix it.

What is Kubernetes crashloopbackoff?

In simple terms, Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff is like a warning sign that tells us something’s not right with a container running in a pod. It means the container keeps trying to start but fails repeatedly.

Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff itself isn’t the problem; it’s a signal that there’s a problem preventing the pod from starting correctly. Several things can cause this issue:

  • Resource Problems: Sometimes, the container needs more resources like CPU or memory than it has access to. Other times, it might be the opposite – there are too many resources, causing an overload.
  • Deployment Errors: If Kubernetes is having trouble deploying your container, that can lead to a CrashLoopBackOff situation.
  • Third-Party Services: If your application relies on external services, issues with these services (like DNS problems) can trigger this error.
  • Missing Dependencies: Your application may depend on certain things, and if they’re not available, it can’t start.
  • Updates: Sometimes, updates or changes can disrupt the container, causing it to fail.
  • Port Conflicts: If there’s a conflict with the port the container is trying to use, it can lead to crashes.

To check if you’re facing a Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff, you can use the kubectl get pods command. If you see the pod status as Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff, it’s a sign that something’s not right.

In most cases, restarting the pod or deploying a new version of your application can fix the problem. However, it’s essential to figure out what’s causing the error and address it to keep your application running smoothly.

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How Does Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff Work?

The restart policy of a pod is always set to Always by default, which indicates that it should always restart on failure (the other available options are Never and OnFailure). It is possible that Kubernetes will attempt to restart the pod more than once. This behavior is determined by the restart policy that is defined in the pod template. If the state of a Pod is showing CrashLoopBackOff, it indicates that it is now waiting the amount of time that was specified before attempting to restart the pod once more.

Kubernetes waits for what is known as a “backoff delay” each time the pod is restarted, and this delay gets longer and longer over time. The amount of time that passes between restarts increases linearly (10 seconds, 20 seconds, 40 seconds, etc.) but cannot exceed five minutes. The error Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff is displayed by Kubernetes when this process is being carried out.

Common reasons of Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff and how to fix them

Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff can be quite a headache, but let’s break down why it happens and how to fix it.

Resource Overload or Insufficient Memory: 

Imagine your pod as a hungry person, and the resources are like food. If there isn’t enough food (memory and CPU) for your pod, it’ll keep crashing. This can be because your app is greedy, has memory leaks, or you’ve set the wrong resource limits. You can use commands like kubectl describe pod to check this and tools like Prometheus to monitor. To fix this, allocate more resources, optimize your app, or adjust resource limits.

Errors When Deploying Kubernetes:

Sometimes, outdated Docker versions can lead to the Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff. Make sure you have the latest and most stable Docker version and other plugins. This ensures you’re not using outdated commands that confuse your containers. When moving a project to Kubernetes, ensure your Docker versions match.

Issue with Third-Party Services (DNS Error):

Your pod may be failing due to a problem with a third-party service. Check your logs for signs of this. Use a debugging container to inspect your failing pod. DNS issues are common culprits. Make sure your DNS settings are correct.

Missing Dependencies:

Sometimes, Kubernetes can’t find essential files (like var, run, secrets,, or service account files). This can happen when your containers attempt to use an API without the proper access token. To fix this, ensure new mounts use the default access level, and that custom tokens comply with this level.

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Changes Caused by Recent Updates:

Frequent updates with new resource requirements can lead to Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff. If you have a shared master setup, be careful when updating. Instead of applying changes to all pods at once, do it one by one. This makes troubleshooting easier.

Container Failure due to Port Conflict:

In this case, container failure occurs because of a port conflict. You can identify the issue by checking container logs. Use netstat to find the problematic container and stop it with the kill command. Delete the kube-controller-manager pod and restart.

Understanding these common causes and their solutions can help you tackle the Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff error effectively.

How to Fix Crashloopbackoff Kubernetes Pod

This is the best way to find the error’s root cause: start with the most common ones on the list of possible reasons and cross them off one by one.

Check for “Back Off Restarting Failed Container”:

Run the following command:

kubectl describe pod [name]

Look for messages indicating “Liveness probe failed” and “Kubernetes BackOff restarting failed container” in the output. These messages suggest that the container is unresponsive and is undergoing repeated restart attempts.

From       Message
-----      -----
kubelet    Liveness probe failed: cat: can’t open ‘/tmp/healthy’: No such file or directory
kubelet    Back-off restarting failed container

If you encountered the “Kubernetes BackOff restarting failed container” message, it suggests that a temporary resource overload might be causing the issue, possibly due to a sudden increase in activity. To address this problem, consider adjusting the periodSeconds or timeoutSeconds values to provide the application with a longer timeframe to respond effectively.

However, if this doesn’t resolve the problem, proceed to the next step:

Check Logs From Previous Container Instance

If the Kubernetes pod details haven’t provided any clear insights, the next step is to extract information from the previous container instance. Initially, you used kubectl get pods to identify the Kubernetes pod displaying the “CrashLoopBackOff” error. Now, you can fetch the last ten lines of logs from the pod with the following command:

kubectl logs --previous --tail 10 [pod-name]

Examine these logs to uncover any clues that explain why the pod is repeatedly crashing. If the problem is still occurring, you should move on to the next step.

kubectl logs --previous --tail 10

Examine these logs carefully, looking for any information that might indicate why the pod is continuously crashing. If you can identify the root cause and resolve the issue, that’s great. However, if you’re still unable to resolve the problem, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Check Deployment Logs

To access the kubectl deployment logs, use the following command in the terminal:

kubectl logs -f deploy/ -n

This could potentially provide hints regarding problems that are occurring at the application level. You can see an example of this in the log file that is shows./ibdata1 cannot be mounted, most likely because it is already in use and locked by another container.

[ERROR] [MY-012574] [InnoDB] Unable to lock ./ibdata1 error:11
[ERROR] [MY-012574] [InnoDB] Unable to lock ./ibdata1 error:11

In the event that none of the aforementioned solutions work, the last step is to bash into the CrashLoop container to determine what actually occurred.

Prevent Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff

The majority of the time, the issue can be fixed and the application can continue to be accessed normally by just restarting the pod and deploying a new version. Nevertheless, it is essential to determine the underlying reason for the CrashLoopBackOff error in order to stop it from occurring in the first place. The following is a list of recommended procedures that will assist you in avoiding the CrashLoopBackOff issue.

1. Configure and Recheck Your Files

Misconfigured or missing configuration files can lead to the CrashLoopBackOff error. Before deploying your application, verify that all necessary files are in their proper locations and correctly configured. You can use commands like ls and find to check for the existence of specific files in locations like /var/lib/docker. Additionally, use commands like cat and less to inspect the content of files and ensure there are no configuration issues.

2. Be Vigilant With Third-Party Services

If your application relies on third-party services and you experience failures when making calls to these services, the issue might be with the third-party service itself. Common errors in such cases are related to SSL certificate problems or network issues. To troubleshoot, log into the container and manually test the endpoints by using a tool like curl to check if the third-party service is functioning as expected.

3. Check Your Environment Variables

Incorrectly set environment variables are a frequent cause of the Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff error. For example, your containers might require specific environment variables to run, such as setting the correct Java environment variables. You can use the env command to inspect the environment variables and ensure they are correctly configured.

4. Check Kube-DNS

Sometimes, your application may attempt to connect to an external service, but the kube-dns service in your Kubernetes cluster is not running. In such cases, restarting the kube-dns service can enable your container to establish connections to external services.

5. Check File Locks

As mentioned earlier, file locks can also trigger the CrashLoopBackOff error. It’s essential to thoroughly inspect all ports and containers to ensure that none of them are being occupied by the wrong service or process. If you identify a port conflict, you can resolve it by terminating the service that is using the required port.

Troubleshoot Kubernetes CrashLoopBackoff – The Easy Way With Komodor

Komodor is a comprehensive Kubernetes troubleshooting platform designed to simplify the process of identifying and resolving Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff events. Using Komodor, you can transform hours of guesswork into actionable solutions with just a few clicks.

Komodor offers the following benefits for troubleshooting Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff:

  • Monitoring and Alerting: Komodor provides real-time monitoring and alerting for CrashLoopBackOff events, allowing you to stay informed about any issues as they occur.
  • Troubleshooting Insights: For each Kubernetes resource, Komodor constructs a coherent view that includes relevant deploys, configuration changes, dependencies, metrics, and historical incidents. This comprehensive view simplifies the troubleshooting process.
  • Automatic Root Cause Detection: Komodor automatically identifies the root cause of CrashLoopBackOff errors by tracking all changes in your application and infrastructure over time.
  • Remediation Instructions: The platform offers clear and easy-to-follow remediation instructions, guiding you through the steps needed to resolve the identified issues.
  • Collaboration: Komodor facilitates collaboration within your team by providing an environment where team members can troubleshoot independently without the need for extensive escalations.

With Komodor, you can streamline the troubleshooting process, reduce downtime, and ensure the reliability of your Kubernetes applications.


With this guide, we explored Kubernetes crashloopbackoff, breaking down what they are, how they work, and how to troubleshoot Kubernetes crashloopbackoff. Dealing with Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff issues can be challenging, but with a systematic approach, you can diagnose and resolve them effectively. 

Understanding the common causes, checking container logs, adjusting resource allocations, verifying configurations, and investigating dependencies are crucial steps in tackling this problem. Additionally, taking proactive measures, such as regular testing, resource management, and proper configuration management, can help prevent CrashLoopBackOff from occurring in the first place.

By following the steps and best practices outlined in this guide, you’ll be better equipped to manage and maintain your Kubernetes applications with confidence. Remember, Kubernetes offers incredible scalability and flexibility, but it also demands careful monitoring and troubleshooting to ensure your containers run smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. What causes Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff?

Common causes include resource overload, deployment errors, issues with third-party services, missing dependencies, recent updates, and port conflicts. These factors can lead to the container repeatedly failing to start.

Q2. How can I identify if my pod is in CrashLoopBackOff?

Use the command kubectl get pods to check the status of your pods. If you see the status as “CrashLoopBackOff,” it indicates that the container is encountering issues during startup.

Q3. How do I troubleshoot Kubernetes CrashLoopBackOff?

Start by checking container logs using kubectl logs and kubectl describe pod. Look for error messages and identify the root cause. Adjust resource allocations, verify configurations, and investigate dependencies to resolve the issue.

Q4. How does Komodor help in troubleshooting CrashLoopBackOff?

Komodor is a Kubernetes troubleshooting platform offering monitoring, automatic root cause detection, troubleshooting insights, and collaboration features. It simplifies the troubleshooting process, reduces downtime, and ensures application reliability.