How To Setup Consul Cluster (Multi-Node) on Linux – Beginners Guide

Setup Consul Cluster (Multi-Node) on Linux

Consul is an open source key-value store. It is used for use cases such as service discovery, config management, etc. This guide has detailed instructions to set up a consul cluster with multiple nodes.


  1. Three Linux servers
  2. Following ports opened between all three servers. If you on AWS, Azure or GCP make sure you have the security groups and firewall tags added properly to allow communications of the below-mentioned ports.
    • 8300  – TCP
    • 8301  – TCP & UDP
    • 8302  – TCP & UDP
    • 8400  – TCP
    • 8500  – TCP
    • 8600  – TCP & UDP

Setup Consul Cluster

This tutorial is based on a three-node consul cluster. The nodes are named as follows.

  1. consul-1
  2. consul-2
  3. consul-3

Follow the steps given below for a fully functional consul cluster.

Install and Configure Consul on All the Three Nodes

The following steps have to be performed on all the three nodes except step 4.

Step 1: CD into bin directory and download Linux consul binary from here

cd /usr/local/bin
sudo curl -o

Step 2: Unzip the downloaded file and remove the zip file.

sudo rm -f

Step 3: Create the following two directories.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/consul.d/scripts
sudo mkdir /var/consul

Step 4: Create a consul secret using the following command from one of the three servers. Copy the secret to a text file.

consul keygen

Step 5: Create a config file on all three servers.

sudo vi /etc/consul.d/config.json

Copy the following config to the file. Replace encrypt value with the secret created in step 4 and start_join IP’s with your server IP’s.

    "bootstrap_expect": 3,
    "client_addr": "",
    "datacenter": "Us-Central",
    "data_dir": "/var/consul",
    "domain": "consul",
    "enable_script_checks": true,
    "dns_config": {
        "enable_truncate": true,
        "only_passing": true
    "enable_syslog": true,
    "encrypt": "goplCZgdmOFMZ2Q43To0jw==",
    "leave_on_terminate": true,
    "log_level": "INFO",
    "rejoin_after_leave": true,
    "server": true,
    "start_join": [
    "ui": true

Create a Consul Service

Execute the following steps on all the three nodes.

Step 1: Create a systemd file.

sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/consul.service

Copy the following contents to the file.

Description=Consul Startup process

ExecStart=/bin/bash -c '/usr/local/bin/consul agent -config-dir /etc/consul.d/'


Step 2: Reload the system daemons

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Bootstrap and Start the Cluster

Step 1: On consul-1 server, start the consul service

sudo systemctl start consul

Step 2: Start consul on other two servers (Consul-2 and consul-3) using the following command.

sudo systemctl start consul

Step 3: Check the cluster status by executing the following command.

/usr/local/bin/consul members

You should get an output like the following. It means your consul cluster is up and running.

[devopscube@consul-1 ~]$ /usr/local/bin/consul members
Node      Address          Status  Type    Build  Protocol  DC          Segment
consul-1  alive   server  1.2.0  2         us-central  <all>
consul-2  alive   server  1.2.0  2         us-central  <all>
consul-3  alive   server  1.2.0  2         us-central  <all>

Access Consul UI

From consul version 1.20, UI is an inbuilt consul component.

You can access the consul web UI using the following URL syntax.


For example,

You can view the UI as shown below.

consul web ui setup

Also, you can view a complete UI demo from here

Other Consul Blog Series,

  1. Setup And Configure Consul Agent On Client Mode
  1. Credit where credit is due; both the client and server “howtos” have been very clear, simple and a breeze to follow. Well written, thanks

  2. Hi,

    Can you please help me on this. I am not getting the desired output after –
    /usr/local/bin/consul members

    ERROR FOR ABOVE COMMAND – Error retrieving members: Get dial tcp connect: connection refused

    So I tried passing command in consul.service manually but getting other error.

    While exectuing the command – /bin/bash -c ‘/usr/local/bin/consul agent -config-dir /etc/consul.d/’

    I am geeting this error – Error parsing /etc/consul.d/config.json: invalid character ‘Â’ looking for beginning of object key string

  3. In my case, per servce has two IP (1 for WAN and 1 for LAN), so I configured vi LAN IP. Then, need to add option below:
    “client_addr”: “”,
    “advertise_addr”: “”,

    “client_addr”: “”,
    “advertise_addr”: “”,

    “client_addr”: “”,
    “advertise_addr”: “”,

    If don’t, in /var/log/messages will be appeared error: mulitiple IP

    And in this article, I don’t see anything config boostrap for first server (firstly, just start server-1, then other 2 servers). So, with new version (1.2 and later) – this config is no need anymore?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi tquang89,

      Yes, you need to bootstrap the cluster by starting the first one. There is no separate config required for bootstrapping as per the latest consul setup.

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