Glossary: Headless

I recently saw someone call a Kubernetes Service, “headless”. I have also heard this term in the context of the Chrome web browser running in “headless” mode. It’s a confusing term to me, so let’s explore it.

“Headless” means not having a head. But what is a “head” in these contexts?

Here is the Kubernetes Service that gmr called “headless”.

kind: Service
apiVersion: v1
  namespace: default
  name: rabbitmq
    app: rabbitmq
  clusterIP: None            # <--- This is what makes it headless
   - name: http
     protocol: TCP
     port: 15672
     targetPort: 15672
   - name: amqp
     protocol: TCP
     port: 5672
     targetPort: 5672
    app: rabbitmq

By setting spec.clusterIP to None, the Service is headless. It no longer acts as a load balancer. In a way, it’s like a lot of the overhead is removed and you are left with a stripped-down version of a Service.

A headless service is a service with a service IP but instead of load-balancing it will return the IPs of our associated. This allows us to reach each Pod directly, rather than the service acting as a load-balancer or proxy.


I’m starting to see that “headless” might just mean part of an application instead of the full version.

How about Headless Chrome?

Headless Chrome is a way to run the Chrome browser in a headless environment without the full browser UI. Headless Chrome gives you a real browser context without the memory overhead of running a full version of Chrome.

Eric Bidelman

That makes sense. With automated web testing, you don’t need a full-blown browser, only some of its functionality.


Headless means that you are only using part of an application’s functionality.

Chrome Shortcuts

Here are some helpful shortcuts for getting around the Web in Google Chrome.

Cmd+lSelect the address bar
Ctl+eTake the cursor to the end of a line
Ctl+aTake the cursor to the beginning of a line
Alt+Shift+ArrowSelect full words in the address bar
Alt+Cmd+ArrowMove to the previous or next tab
Cmd+wClose a tab
Cmd+Shift+tBring back a tab you accidentally closed