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Connecting to an Image Registry

When packaging and delivering an application with Replicated, you can include private images for the application without distributing registry credentials to your customer.

The customer license file can grant revokable image pull access to private images, whether the images are stored in the Replicated private registry or a supported external registry.

For information about how to connect to private image registries, see the following procedures:

If you use the Replicated private registry or proxy service, you can configure custom domains to alias and, to remove the Replicated domains from a customer security review and reduce exposure. This feature is configured at the Team level. For more information about custom domains, see Using Custom Domains.

About Connecting to an External Registry

If your application images are available in a private image registry exposed to the Internet, such as Docker Hub,, Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR), Google Container Registry (GCR), or Artifactory, then the customer licenses for your application can grant proxy, or pull-through, access to the assignee without exposing registry credentials to the customer.

With proxy access, the app manager can use the Replicated registry proxy service to pull private images from an external registry. Instances of your application can then pull private images from the proxy service at during deployment. The app manager determines what images are private by attempting to fetch image metadata. If the request is forbidden, the app manager pulls the image through instead of pulling the image directly from an external registry.

Connecting the app manager to your external registry through a proxy is useful and recommended because it prevents you from having to modify the process you use to build and push application images in order to deploy your application with Replicated.

It also allows you to revoke a customer’s ability to pull private images without having to manage image access through separate identity or authentication systems. For example, when you connect the app manager to your external image registry, a customer's ability to pull private images is revoked when their trial license expires.

To grant proxy access to your external registry, see Configure Access to an External Registry below.

The following diagram demonstrates how the registry proxy service pulls images from your external registry, and how deployed instances of your application pull images from the proxy service:

Registry proxy service workflow diagram

View a larger version of this image

For more information about how the app manager uses the registry proxy service, see How the App Manager Accesses Private Images below.

Configure Access to an External Registry

You can provide the credentials for an external registry in the vendor portal to grant the app manager proxy access to the private application images in the registry.

All applications in your vendor portal Team have access to the external registry that you add. This means that you can use the images in the external registry across multiple apps in the Team.

To follow a tutorial connecting a sample app to an Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR), see Tutorial: Using ECR for Private Images.

To configure access to your private images in an external registry using the vendor portal:

  1. Log in to the vendor portal and go to the Images page.

  2. Click Add external registry.

    Add External Registry dialog in the vendor portal

  3. Click the Other Registry or DockerHub tab.

  4. Complete the fields in the dialog:

    EndpointEnter the endpoint, such as,, or
    Username and PasswordProvide the username and password for an account that has pull access to the private registry.

    For Amazon ECR registries, provide the Access Key ID and Secret Key for a Service Account User that has pull access to the registry. See Setting up the Service Account User.

    Replicated stores your username and password encrypted and securely. Your credentials and the encryption key do not leave Replicated servers.

To configure access to private images in an external registry using the Replicated CLI:

  1. Follow the instructions to install and configure the Replicated CLI.
  2. Add a registry using the following command:
replicated registry add <hostname> \
--username <username> \
--password <password>

To prevent the password from being saved in your shell history, we recommend using the --password-stdin flag and entering the password when prompted.

Test External Registry Credentials

There are a lot of variables when configuring access to an external registry that could prevent it from working if not properly set up. To help understand these early, the Replicated CLI has support to validate that the configured registry can pull specific images:

replicated registry test <hostname> \
--image <imagename>

This will ensure that the the saved credentials on our servers can pull the image specified in imagename.

For example:

replicated registry test my-company/my-image:v1.2.3

Push Images to the Replicated Private Registry

You can host the private images for your application on the Replicated private registry. Hosting your images on the Replicated private registry is useful if you do not already have your images in an existing private registry. It is also useful for testing purposes.

For more information about building, tagging, and pushing Docker images, see the Docker CLI documentation.

To push images to the Replicated private registry:

  1. Do one of the following to connect with the container registry:

    • (Recommended) Log in with a user token: Use docker login with your vendor portal email as the username and a vendor portal user token as the password. For more information, see User tokens in Using Vendor API tokens.
    • Log in with a service account or team token: Use docker login with a Replicated vendor portal service account or team token as the password. You can use any string as the username. For more information, see Service accounts and Team tokens in Using Vendor API tokens.
    • Log in with your credentials: Use docker login with your vendor portal email and password as the credentials.
  2. Tag your private image with the Replicated registry hostname in the standard Docker format:

    docker tag IMAGE_NAME


    • IMAGE_NAME is the name of the existing private image for your application.

    • APPLICATION_SLUG is the slug assigned to your application. You can find your application slug on the Images page of the vendor portal.

    • TARGET_IMAGE_NAME is a name for the image. Replicated recommends that the TARGET_IMAGE_NAME is the same as the IMAGE_NAME.

    • TAG is a tag for the image.

      For example:

      $ docker tag worker
  3. Push your private image to the Replicated private registry:

    $ docker push

How the App Manager Accesses Private Images

The app manager uses Kustomize to change the location of the private image registry in the PodSpec during application deployment from the external registry domain to the Replicated proxy service domain. It then creates an imagePullSecret to access the images through the proxy service.

Patching the Image Location with Kustomize

When the app manager is installing an application, it attempts to load image manifests using the image reference from the PodSpec. If the app manager receives a 401 response, it assumes that this is a private image that must be proxied through the registry proxy service.

The app manager uses Kustomize to patch the midstream/kustomization.yaml file to change the image name during deployment to reference the proxy service.

For example, a PodSpec for a Deployment references a private image hosted at

  apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
name: example
- name: api

When this application is deployed, the app manager detects that it cannot access the image at So, it creates a patch in the midstream/kustomization.yaml file that changes the image name in all manifest files for the application:

- ../../base
- name:

This causes the container runtime in the cluster to use the proxy service to pull the images, using the license information provided to the app manager for authentication.

Accessing the Proxy Service with an Image Pull Secret

During installation, the app manager automatically creates an imagePullSecret that is based on the customer license. The app manager uses this secret to authenticate and pull private images from

The app manager does not patch the image location URL for images hosted on the Replicated private registry at However, the app manager adds the same imagePullSecret to PodSpecs that reference images in the Replicated private registry.


When deploying Pods to namespaces other than the app manager application namespace, you must add the namespace to the additionalNamespaces attribute of the Application custom resource manifest. This ensures the app manager can provision the imagePullSecret in the namespace to allow the Pod to pull the image. For more information about the additionalNamespaces attribute, see Defining Additional Namespaces.

Using Image Tags and Digests

This section describes using image tags and digests with your application images. It includes information about when image tags and digests are supported, and how to enable support for image digests in air gap bundles.

Support for Image Tags and Digests

The following table describes the use cases in which image tags and digests are supported:

InstallationSupport for Image TagsSupport for Image Digests
OnlineSupported by defaultSupported by default
Air GapSupported by default

Supported for applications on the app manager v1.82.0 and later when the Enable new air gap bundle format toggle is enabled on the channel.

For more information, see Using Image Digests in Air Gap Installations below.


You can use image tags and image digests together in any case where both are supported.

Using Image Digests in Air Gap Installations

For applications installed with the app manager v1.82.0 or later, you can enable a format for air gap bundles that supports the use of image digests. This air gap bundle format also ensures that identical image layers are not duplicated, resulting in a smaller air gap bundle size.

You can enable or disable this air gap bundle format using the Enable new air gap bundle format toggle in the settings for any channel in the vendor portal. The Enable new air gap bundle format toggle is enabled by default.

When you enable Enable new air gap bundle format on a channel, all air gap bundles that you build or rebuild on that channel use the updated air gap bundle format.

If users on a version of the app manager earlier than v1.82.0 attempt to install or upgrade an application with an air gap bundle that uses the Enable new air gap bundle format format, then the admin console displays an error message when they attempt to upload the bundle.

To enable the new air gap bundle format on a channel:

  1. In the Replicated vendor portal, go to the Channels page and click the edit icon in the top right of the channel where you want to use the new air gap bundle format.

  2. Enable the Enable new air gap bundle format toggle.

  3. (Recommended) To prevent users on a version of the app manager earlier than v1.82.0 from attempting to upgrade with an air gap bundle that uses the new air gap bundle format, set minKotsVersion to "1.82.0" in the Application custom resource manifest file.

    minKotsVersion defines the minimum version of the app manager required by the application release. Including minKotsVersion displays a warning in the admin console when users attempt to install or upgrade the application if they are not on the specified minimum version or later. For more information, see Setting Minimum and Target Versions for KOTS.


    kind: Application
    name: my-application
    minKotsVersion: "1.82.0"
  4. Test your changes:

    1. Save and promote the release to a development environment.

    2. On the channel where you enabled Enable new air gap bundle format, click Release history. On the Release History page, click Build next to the latest release to create an air gap bundle with the new format.

      Vendor portal release history page

    3. Click Download Airgap Bundle.

    4. Install or upgrade the application with version 1.82.0 or later of the admin console or the kots CLI. Upload the new air gap bundle to confirm that the installation or upgrade completes successfully.

Tutoiral: Using ECR for Private Images