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Kubernetes Backend Proxy Endpoint

Contributors wanting to create developer portal experiences based on data from Kubernetes (e.g. for interacting with Custom Resources beyond the default behaviors of the existing Kubernetes plugin) can leverage the Kubernetes backend plugin's proxy endpoint to allow them to make arbitrary requests to the REST API.

Here is a snippet fetching namespaces using the KubernetesBackendClient library

import { useApi } from '@backstage/core-plugin-api';
import { kubernetesApiRef } from '@backstage/plugin-kubernetes';

const CLUSTER_NAME = ''; // use a known cluster name

const kubernetesApi = useApi(kubernetesApiRef);
await kubernetesApi.proxy(CLUSTER_NAME, '/api/v1/namespaces');

How it works

The proxy will interpret the Backstage-Kubernetes-Cluster header as the name of the cluster to target. This name will be compared to each cluster returned by all the configured cluster locators -- the first cluster whose name field matches the value in the header will be targeted.

Then the request will be forwarded to the cluster.

Overall, the only changes to each request are:

  • the endpoint's base URL prefix is stripped.
  • the Backstage-Kubernetes-Authorization header becomes the Authorization header that is used when forwarding the request.

The proxy expects a KubernetesAuthTranslator to be provided that is used to decorate all requests with Auth by default. It does this by supplying a serviceAccountToken field into clusterDetails using the defined authProvider in clusterDetails.


The proxy has no provisions for mTLS, so it cannot be used to connect to clusters using the x509 Client Certs authentication strategy.
The current /proxy Implementation expects a Bearer token to be provided as a Backstage-Kubernetes-Authorization header for a target cluster. This token will be used as the Authorization header when forwarding a request to a target cluster.

How to disable the proxy endpoint via PermissionPolicy

The kubernetes plugin can disable the use of the proxy endpoint by leveraging the permission framework. This integration allows admins to use well defined PermissionPolicies to restrict the use of the endpoint all together. The proxy endpoint can return 403 errors even if it has a valid ID token attached that a cluster would authorize thus allowing integrators the confidence that Backstage is not accessing kubernetes clusters on behalf of undesired parties.

This feature assumes your backstage instance has enabled the permissions framework

A sample policy like:


import { BackstageIdentityResponse } from '@backstage/plugin-auth-node';
import {
} from '@backstage/plugin-permission-common';
import {
} from '@backstage/plugin-permission-node';

class KubernetesDenyAllProxyEndpointPolicy implements PermissionPolicy {
async handle(
request: PolicyQuery,
user?: BackstageIdentityResponse,
): Promise<PolicyDecision> {
if ( === 'kubernetes.proxy') {
return {
result: AuthorizeResult.DENY,
return { result: AuthorizeResult.ALLOW };

would leverage the permission framework to return the following response:

"error": {
"name": "NotAllowedError"

even if a valid ID token was attached that a cluster would authorize.

Other known limitations

The proxy as it was released in Backstage 1.9 has a known bug:

  • #15901 - it cannot reliably target clusters who share the same name with another located cluster.