Custom Annotations

Custom annotations enable you to quickly extend the Ingress resource to support many advanced features of NGINX, such as rate limiting, caching, etc.

What are Custom Annotations

NGINX Ingress Controller supports a number of annotations for the Ingress resource that fine tune NGINX configuration (for example, connection timeouts) or enable additional features (for example, JWT validation). The complete list of annotations is available here.

The annotations are provided only for the most common features and use cases, meaning that not every NGINX feature or a customization option is available through the annotations. Additionally, even if an annotation is available, it might not give you the satisfactory level of control of a particular NGINX feature.

Custom annotations allow you to add an annotation for an NGINX feature that is not available as a regular annotation. In contrast with regular annotations, to add a custom annotation, you don’t need to modify the Ingress Controller source code – just modify the template. Additionally, with a custom annotation, you get full control of how the feature is implemented in NGINX configuration.


The Ingress Controller generates NGINX configuration for Ingress resources by executing a configuration template. See NGINX template or NGINX Plus template.

To support custom annotations, the template has access to the information about the Ingress resource - its name, namespace and annotations. It is possible to check if a particular annotation present in the Ingress resource and conditionally insert NGINX configuration directives at multiple NGINX contexts - http, server, location or upstream. Additionally, you can get the value that is set to the annotation.

Consider the following excerpt from the template, which was extended to support two custom annotations:

# This is the configuration for {{$.Ingress.Name}}/{{$.Ingress.Namespace}}

{{if index $.Ingress.Annotations ""}}
# Insert config for feature A if the annotation is set

{{with $value := index $.Ingress.Annotations ""}}
# Insert config for feature B if the annotation is set
# Print the value assigned to the annotation: {{$value}}

Consider the following Ingress resource and note how we set two annotations:

kind: Ingress
  name: example-ingress
  namespace: production
  annotations: "on" "512"
  - host:
    . . .

Assuming that the Ingress Controller is using that customized template, it will generate a config for the Ingress resource that will include the following part, generated by our template excerpt:

# This is the configuration for cafe-ingress/default

# Insert config for feature A if the annotation is set

# Insert config for feature B if the annotation is set
# Print the value assigned to the annotation: 512


  • You can customize the template to insert you custom annotations via custom templates.
  • The Ingress Controller uses go templates to generate NGINX config. You can read more information about go templates here.

See the examples in the next section that use custom annotations to configure NGINX features.

Custom Annotations with Mergeable Ingress Resources

A Mergeable Ingress resource consists of multiple Ingress resources - one master and one or several minions. Read more about Mergeable Ingress resources here.

If you’d like to use custom annotations with Mergeable Ingress resources, please keep the following in mind:

  • Custom annotations can be used in the Master and in Minions. For Minions, you can access them in the template only when processing locations.

    If you access $.Ingress anywhere in the Ingress template, you will get the master Ingress resource. To access a Minion Ingress resource, use $location.MinionIngress. However, it is only available when processing locations:

    {{range $location := $server.Locations}}
    location {{$location.Path}} {
        {{with $location.MinionIngress}}
        # location for minion {{$location.MinionIngress.Namespace}}/{{$location.MinionIngress.Name}}
        . . .
    } {{end}}

    Note: $location.MinionIngress is a pointer. When a regular Ingress resource is processed in the template, the value of the pointer is nil. Thus, it is important that you check that $location.MinionIngress is not nil as in the example above using the with action.

  • Minions do not inherent custom annotations of the master.

Helper Functions

Helper functions can be used in the Ingress template to parse the values of custom annotations.

Function Input Arguments Return Arguments Description
split s, sep string []string Splits the string s into a slice of strings separated by the sep.
trim s string string Trims the trailing and leading whitespace from the string s.

Consider the following custom annotation, which expects a comma-separated list of IP addresses:

annotations: ","

The helper functions can parse the value of the annotation, so that in the template you can use each IP address separately. Consider the following template excerpt:

{{range $ip := split (index $.Ingress.Annotations "") ","}}
    allow {{trim $ip}};
deny all;

The template excerpt will generate the following configuration:

deny all;


See the custom annotations example.