Skip to Content

3 ways to restart a pod in Kubernetes

You can effectively restart a pod in Kubernetes, but not in the same way you might restart a service on a traditional VM using a command like systemctl restart.

Since Kubernetes manages pods based on desired states, you have to use Kubernetes operations to trigger a restart.

Here are several methods to restart a pod:

Deleting the Pod

The most straightforward way to restart a pod is to delete it. Kubernetes will notice the pod is missing (if it’s managed by a higher-level controller like a Deployment, StatefulSet, or ReplicaSet) and create a new one to replace it.

Use the kubectl delete pod command:

kubectl delete pod <pod-name> -n <namespace>

Replace <pod-name> with the name of your pod and <namespace> with the namespace where the pod is running.

If the pod is not part of a higher-level controller and is a standalone pod, you’ll need to recreate it manually from its YAML definition.

Rolling Restart for Deployments and StatefulSets

If your pod is part of a Deployment or StatefulSet, you can perform a rolling restart, which will recreate each pod one by one, minimizing downtime.

For a Deployment:

kubectl rollout restart deployment <deployment-name> -n <namespace>

For a StatefulSet:

kubectl rollout restart statefulset <statefulset-name> -n <namespace>

Replace <deployment-name> or <statefulset-name> with the name of your Deployment or StatefulSet and <namespace> with the namespace they are in.

Using kubectl scale

Another method to restart all pods in a Deployment or StatefulSet is to scale it down to 0 and then scale it back up to its original replica count.

This is less graceful than a rolling restart and will cause downtime.

Scale down:

kubectl scale deployment <deployment-name> --replicas=0 -n <namespace>

And then scale back up:

kubectl scale deployment <deployment-name> --replicas=<original-replica-count> -n <namespace>

Replace <deployment-name>, <namespace>, and <original-replica-count> with your Deployment’s name, namespace, and original number of replicas, respectively.


  • Restarting a pod is a common operation, but it’s essential to understand why a pod needs to be restarted and consider the impact on your application’s availability and state.
  • Always prefer using higher-level controllers like Deployments or StatefulSets over managing standalone pods, as they provide more management features, like rolling updates and rollbacks, which can minimize downtime during restarts.
  • Be cautious when scaling down services that are critical or have a single replica, as this will cause downtime.


What should I do if a pod stays in “Terminating” or doesn’t delete properly?

If a pod is stuck in Terminating status, it could be due to various reasons such as finalizers that are waiting for external actions, or volumes that cannot be detached. Force delete the pod with kubectl delete pod <pod-name> –force –grace-period=0 if necessary, but be cautious as this can result in data loss for stateful applications.

What does the “Pending” status mean for a pod in Kubernetes?

Pending status indicates that the pod has been accepted by the Kubernetes system, but one or more of the container images might not have been created yet. Reasons for a pod to remain in Pending state include insufficient resources, image pull issues, scheduling failures, or volume provisioning failures.

How can I troubleshoot a pod in “Evicted” status?

Pods can be Evicted due to resource constraints (like memory or disk space) on the node. To troubleshoot, check the eviction message using kubectl describe pod <pod-name>, review the resource requests and limits of your pods, and monitor node resource usage.