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CLI Introduction

The Kurtosis CLI is a Go CLI wrapped around the Kurtosis Go SDK. This section will go through the most common Kurtosis CLI commands and some useful tips on getting started. If you have not already done so, the CLI can be installed by following the instructions here.


Kurtosis supports command-line completion; we recommend installing it for the best experience.

Configuration file path

To locate where the Kurtosis configuration file is on your machine, simply use:

kurtosis config path

to print out the file path of the kurtosis-config.yml file.

Get the CLI version

The version of the CLI and the currently-running engine can be printed with the following:

kurtosis version

Global Flags

The Kurtosis CLI supports two global flags - help and cli-log-level. These flags can be used with any Kurtosis CLI command.

-h or --help

This flag prints the help text for all commands and subcommands. You can use this at any time to see information on the command you're trying to run. For example:

kurtosis service -h
Example Output of the above command
Manage services

kurtosis service [command]

Available Commands:
add Adds a service to an enclave
logs Get service logs
rm Removes a service from an enclave
shell Gets a shell on a service

-h, --help help for service

Global Flags:
--cli-log-level string Sets the level that the CLI will log at (panic|fatal|error|warning|info|debug|trace) (default "info")

Use "kurtosis service [command] --help" for more information about a command.


This flag sets the level of details that the Kurtosis CLI will print logs with - by default it only logs info level logs to the CLI. The following other log levels are supported by Kurtosis - panic|fatal|error|warning|info|debug|trace. For example, logs with error level can be printed using the command below:-

kurtosis run --cli-level-log debug 
Example Output of the above command
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:00-04:00] Instantiating a context aware backend with no remote backend config ends up returninga regular local Docker backend. 
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:00-04:00] No Kurtosis engine was found; attempting to start one...
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:00-04:00] Metrics user id filepath: ''
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:00-04:00] Pulling image 'kurtosistech/engine:0.73.0'...
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:00-04:00] Binds: [/var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock]
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:00-04:00] Created container with ID 'b9c8f6509ebe7831a96a926e0514f049884b30a8ff4359cd06d9592464d7f017' from image 'kurtosistech/engine:0.73.0'
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:01-04:00] Netstat availability-waiting command '[ -n "$(netstat -anp tcp | grep LISTEN | grep 9710)" ]' returned without a Docker error, but exited with non-0 exit code '1' and logs:
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:02-04:00] Successfully started Kurtosis engine
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:02-04:00] Kurtosis Portal daemon is currently not reachable. If Kurtosis is being used ona local-only context, this is fine as Portal is not required for local-only contexts.
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:02-04:00] Creating a new enclave for Starlark to run inside...
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] Enclave 'murky-volcano' created successfully
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] Executing Starlark package at '' as the passed argument '' looks like a directory
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] Compressing package '' at '' for upload
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] Uploading and executing package ''

> print msg={"key": "value"}
{"key": "value"}

Starlark code successfully run. No output was returned.
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] Successfully reached the end of the response stream. Closing.
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] Current context is local, not mapping enclave service ports
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] ======================================================
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] || Created enclave: murky-volcano ||
INFO[2023-04-03T12:54:04-04:00] ======================================================
Name: murky-volcano
UUID: f2fa01a0293f
Creation Time: Mon, 03 Apr 2023 12:54:02 EDT

========================================= Files Artifacts =========================================

========================================== User Services ==========================================
UUID Name Ports Status

Users can use the debug --cli-log-level flag, , as shown above, to display the entire stack trace to the CLI. By default the entire stack trace is saved to the kurtosis-cli.log file.

The sample error stack-trace that can be seen on the cli after debug level is shown below:

DEBU[2023-04-03T12:58:03-04:00] Cluster setting filepath: '' 
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:58:03-04:00] Kurtosis config YAML filepath: ''
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:58:03-04:00] Loaded Kurtosis Config &{overrides:0x1400000e510 shouldSendMetrics:true clusters:map[docker:0x14000097680 minikube:0x140000976b0]}
DEBU[2023-04-03T12:58:03-04:00] Instantiating a context aware backend with no remote backend config ends up returninga regular local Docker backend.
Error: An error occurred validating arg ''
--- at /root/project/cli/cli/command_framework/lowlevel/lowlevel_kurtosis_command.go:290 (LowlevelKurtosisCommand.MustGetCobraCommand.func2) ---
Caused by: Error reading filepath_or_dirpath ''
--- at /root/project/cli/cli/command_framework/highlevel/file_system_path_arg/file_system_path_arg.go:109 (getValidationFunc.func1) ---
Caused by: stat ../../../per/other/submodul/: no such file or directory