Helm Tips and Hacks: A Comprehensive Guide

Helm Tips and Hacks: A Comprehensive Guide

Installing Helm

To install Helm, you can use the official installation script or package manager specific commands. Visit the Helm website for the most up-to-date installation instructions.

After installing Helm, initialize it by running helm init. This sets up the necessary Tiller component in your Kubernetes cluster.

1. Managing Repositories

Adding Repositories : Use helm repo add to add external repositories to Helm. This allows you to search for and install charts from these repositories.

Updating Repositories : Keep your repositories up-to-date by running helm repo update. This ensures you have access to the latest charts.

2. Creating Helm Charts

Helm Chart Structure : Understand the structure of a Helm chart. A typical chart directory includes templates, values, and charts folders, along with a Chart.yaml file. Organize your templates logically for easier management.

Customizing Chart Values : Leverage Helm's value files to customize chart deployments. Create your own value files and use them during installation with helm install -f values.yaml.

3. Installing and Upgrading Charts

Installing a Chart: Install a chart using helm install. Specify custom values, release names, and namespaces using flags. For example:

helm install my-release ./my-chart -n my-namespace -f values.yaml

Upgrading a Chart: Upgrade a chart with helm upgrade. This is useful for applying changes to your application without re-creating it entirely. Be sure to specify the release name and the new chart version.

Uninstalling a Chart : Remove a deployed chart and its resources using helm uninstall <release-name>.

4. Working with Helm Templates

Template Functions : Use Helm template functions, like {{ .Values.someKey }} or {{ include "chartname.template" . }}, to render Kubernetes manifests dynamically. Refer to the Helm documentation for a list of available functions.

Conditional Templates: Add conditional logic to templates using {{ if .Values.someCondition }} ... {{ end }}. This allows you to create dynamic manifests based on values.

5. Debugging Helm Charts

Helm Debug Mode: Enable Helm's debug mode with -d or --debug when installing or upgrading charts to view the rendered manifests before deployment.

Dry Run Installations : Test your Helm deployments without actually creating resources in Kubernetes by using helm install --dry-run --debug.

6. Advanced Helm Techniques

Creating Custom Helm Plugins: Develop custom Helm plugins to extend Helm's functionality according to your needs. Check the Helm plugin documentation for guidance.

Using Helm Secrets: Integrate Helm with tools like Helm Secrets to manage sensitive data securely, such as secrets and passwords.

Helm Hooks: Leverage Helm hooks to execute custom logic during different chart lifecycle events, such as pre-install or post-delete.

Versioning Charts: Version your Helm charts to ensure compatibility and maintain a clear history of changes.

Using Helm in CI/CD Pipelines: Incorporate Helm into your CI/CD pipelines to automate the deployment of Kubernetes applications. Helm makes it easy to manage releases and rollbacks.


Helm is an invaluable tool for simplifying Kubernetes application management. By mastering these Helm tips and hacks, you'll be better equipped to handle complex deployments and streamline your Kubernetes operations.

Remember that Helm's capabilities are continually evolving, so stay updated with the latest Helm releases and best practices to maximize its potential. Happy charting!