Running End-to-End Tests

cert-manager has an extensive end-to-end (e2e) test suite that verifies functionality against a real Kubernetes cluster.

The full end-to-end test suite can take a long time to complete and is run against every pull request made to the cert-manager project.

Unless you’ve made huge changes to the cert-manager codebase — or to the end-to-end tests themselves — you probably don’t need to run the tests locally. If you do want to run the tests, though, this document explains how.


There are a small number of required tools which must be installed on your machine to run the tests:

  • bazel: Builds cert-manager and the end-to-end tests themselves
  • kind: Provisions a Kubernetes cluster inside docker.
  • docker: Required by kind.
  • kubectl: A relatively new version of kubectl should be available on your $PATH.

Set up End-to-End Tests

The test requires a kind cluster to run against. Note that the tests assume a certain configuration for the kind cluster, and you should be sure to use this script rather than creating a cluster manually unless you’re sure you’ve mimicked the required configuration:

$ export K8S_VERSION=1.19 # optional: this allows you to test different Kubernetes versions
$ ./devel/cluster/

There are also certain dependencies which the test requires, which can also be installed using a helper script:

$ ./devel/

TIP: If you only need to update one dependency in the testing cluster, you can instead run ./devel/addon/<name>/ to save some time.

Run End-to-End Tests

The following script will run the tests. Note that the tests produce a lot of output, and take some time (often well over 30 minutes) to complete:

$ ./devel/
... lots of output ...

NB: If you don’t use to create the kind cluster, the ACME HTTP01 end-to-end tests will fail, as they require the ‘service CIDR’ to be set to

This is because the ingress controller is deployed with the fixed IP to allow Pebble to access it on a predictable address for end-to-end tests; our test DNS name points to

If you don’t want to run every test, you can focus on specific parts using --ginkgo.focus:

$ ./devel/ --ginkgo.focus "<text regex>"

# example: run any test which has "basicConstraint" in the description
$ ./devel/ --ginkgo.focus "basicConstraint"

More info on how to use this can be found in the Ginkgo focused-specs documentation

End-to-End Test Structure

The end-to-end tests consist of 2 big parts: the issuer specific tests and the conformance suite. Both parts use Ginkgo to run their tests.

Conformance Suite


This suite tests all RBAC permissions granted to cert-manager on the cluster to check that it is able to operate correctly.


This suite tests certificate functionality against all issuers.

Feature Sets

Some issuers don’t support certain features, such as for example issuing Ed25519 certificates or adding an email address to the X.509 SAN extension.

Each test specifies a used feature using s.checkFeatures(feature), which is then checked against the issuer’s UnsupportedFeatures list. Tests which use a feature unsupported by an issuer are skipped for that issuer.