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What are Kubernetes Services | An Overview of Kubernetes Service Types

What are Kubernetes Services?

What are Kubernetes Services: Kubernetes services provide a stable and reliable method to access containers running inside pods. Services allow pods to communicate with each other and the outside world without needing to know details about the exact pod IP addresses which can change frequently.

Services act as basic load balancers and proxy servers for pods. They define a policy to access the pods and can perform session affinity or round-robin load balancing across replicated pods.

Kubernetes Service Types: There are several types of Kubernetes services


A ClusterIP service exposes pods to other objects inside the Kubernetes cluster, but not external to the cluster. ClusterIP services are used for internal pod-to-pod communication inside the same Kubernetes cluster.

ClusterIP is the default service type if not specified. The service is automatically assigned an internal IP address (ClusterIP) that is only reachable within the cluster. This IP address is used to connect to the service from other pods or services within the cluster.

ClusterIP services are useful for:

  • Exposing a database server or API backend to other pods
  • Internal service discovery and connectivity between components inside Kubernetes


A NodePort service exposes pods to external traffic by opening a specific port on all the nodes (the VMs or servers) that run the Kubernetes cluster. That port can then be accessed from outside the Kubernetes cluster using the node IP address and node port number.

NodePort allows directing external traffic to a specific port on all cluster nodes. A ClusterIP service will also automatically be created to expose the pods internally within the cluster.

NodePort services are useful when you need:

  • External or outside access to services running in a Kubernetes cluster
  • Quick access for development and testing


A LoadBalancer service creates an external load balancer and assigns a fixed external IP to the service. On supported platforms like Google Compute Engine, Azure, AWS, or bare metal with MetalLB, a cloud load balancer is automatically provisioned when the service type is set to LoadBalancer.

The load balancer proxies and forwards requests to the service at the defined listener port. Just like NodePort services, a ClusterIP service is also created to expose the pods internally within the cluster.

Load balancers offer several advantages:

  • External and external IP address assignment
  • Integrated load balancing
  • Minimal configuration required

LoadBalancers may integrate with cloud provider networking and firewalls. This provides simplicity but reduces flexibility compared to Ingress controllers.


An ExternalName service maps the service to the contents of the externalName field by returning a CNAME record. No proxy is used. This requires Service objects are created in the cluster with “externalName” that specifies the external DNS address to return.

ExternalName services do not have selectors nor do they define any ports or Endpoints. You can think of ExternalName as simply setting up DNS entries to an external service outside the cluster.

ExternalName services enable access to services running outside your cluster:

  • Integrate Kubernetes with unmanaged services running elsewhere
  • Make migrating services in and out of Kubernetes easier


Kubernetes services provide different ways to expose pods and allow communication between various components. ClusterIP provides internal pod networking, while NodePort and LoadBalancer enable access from outside the Kubernetes cluster. ExternalName services can map to external or legacy services. Understanding the different types of Kubernetes services gives you flexibility in configuring access and networking for containers.

Also Read: What is BrowserStack Platform | Key Differences Between BrowserStack vs LambdaTest


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