When setting up a Kubernetes ingress on Google Container Engine, you can choose the ingress class (gce or nginx). I realize that the GCE class provisions a load balancer on Google's Cloud Platform, which costs about $20/mo each.

After some research, I couldn't find any prevailing reason why Google's load balancer is any better than using the NGINX ingress class—at least not before hitting a very large scale.

In fact, it appears that the GCE class does not support:

  • External authentication with ingress.kubernetes.io/auth-url
  • Basic authentication
  • A few other small features built into the NGINX ingress

Are there any benefits I'm not aware of for using the GCE class vs. the NGINX class for ingresses?


After some further reading and testing, I did find a few benefits. I also realized that using the NGINX controller would still provision a load balancer... thereby not avoiding the ~$20/mo cost.


  • The GCE controller causes an HTTP(S) load balancer to be provisioned
  • The NGINX controller requires a service to be designated as type: LoadBalancer
    • Doing this causes a network load balancer to be provisioned

HTTP(S) load balancer

Network load balancer


  • As shown in the diagrams above, the HTTP(S) load balancer can load balance across regions, whereas the network load balancer can only load balance across zones in the same region
  • The GCE controller is built specifically for Google's Cloud Platform, so I assume it works more reliably
  • The default GCE controller requires no extra effort compared to maintaining and specifying the YAML files required for the NGINX controller to function
  • Thanks for this helpful answer. I'd be curious to see if the GCE controller supports session persistence features found in Nginx controller. For example, annotations like this 'nginx.ingress.kubernetes.io/affinity: "cookie" nginx.ingress.kubernetes.io/session-cookie-name: "route" nginx.ingress.kubernetes.io/session-cookie-hash: "sha1" ' – ice.nicer Jun 21 '18 at 18:25

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