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This API covers a broad set of features and use cases and has been implemented widely. This combination of both a large feature set and variety of implementations requires clear conformance definitions and tests to ensure the API provides a consistent experience wherever it is used.

When considering Gateway API conformance, there are three important concepts:

1. Release Channels

Within Gateway API, release channels are used to indicate the stability of a field or resource. The "standard" channel of the API includes fields and resources that have graduated to "beta". The "experimental" channel of the API includes everything in the "standard" channel, along with experimental fields and resources that may still be changed in breaking ways or removed altogether. For more information on this concept, refer to our versioning documentation.

2. Support Levels

Unfortunately some implementations of the API will not be able to support every feature that has been defined. To address that, the API defines a corresponding support level for each feature:

  • Core features will be portable and we expect that there is a reasonable roadmap for ALL implementations towards support of APIs in this category.
  • Extended features are those that are portable but not universally supported across implementations. Those implementations that support the feature will have the same behavior and semantics. It is expected that some number of roadmap features will eventually migrate into the Core. Extended features will be part of the API types and schema.
  • Implementation-specific features are those that are not portable and are vendor-specific. Implementation-specific features will not have API types and schema except via generic extension points.

Behavior and feature in the Core and Extended set will be defined and validated via behavior-driven conformance tests. Implementation-specific features will not be covered by conformance tests.

By including and standardizing Extended features in the API spec, we expect to be able to converge on portable subsets of the API among implementations without compromising overall API support. Lack of universal support will not be a blocker towards developing portable feature sets. Standardizing on spec will make it easier to eventually graduate to Core when support is widespread.

Overlapping Support Levels

It is possible for support levels to overlap for a specific field. When this occurs, the minimum expressed support level should be interpreted. For example, an identical struct may be embedded in two different places. In one of those places, the struct is considered to have Core support while the other place only includes Extended support. Fields within this struct may express separate Core and Extended support levels, but those levels must not be interpreted as exceeding the support level of the parent struct they are embedded in.

For a more concrete example, HTTPRoute includes Core support for filters defined within a Rule and Extended support when defined within BackendRef. Those filters may separately define support levels for each field. When interpreting overlapping support levels, the minimum value should be interpreted. That means if a field has a Core support level but is in a filter attached in a place with Extended support, the interpreted support level must be Extended.

3. Conformance Tests

Gateway API includes a set of conformance tests. These create a series of Gateways and Routes with the specified GatewayClass, and test that the implementation matches the API specification.

Each release contains a set of conformance tests, these will continue to expand as the API evolves. Currently conformance tests cover the majority of Core capabilities in the standard channel, in addition to some Extended capabilities.

Running Tests

There are two main contrasting sets of conformance tests:

  • Gateway related tests (can also be thought of as ingress tests)
  • Service Mesh related tests

For Gateway tests you must enable the Gateway test feature, and then opt-in to any other specific tests you want to run (e.g. HTTPRoute). For Mesh related tests you must enable Mesh.

We'll cover each use case separately, but it's also possible to combine these if your implementation implements both. There are also options which pertain to the entire test suite regardless of which tests you're running.

Gateway Tests

By default Gateway oriented conformance tests will expect a GatewayClass named gateway-conformance to be installed in the cluster, and tests will be run against that. Most often, you'll use a different class, which can be specified with the -gateway-class flag along with the corresponding test command. Check your instance for the gateway-class name to use. You must also enable Gateway support and test support for any *Routes your implementation supports.

The following runs all the tests relevant to Gateway, HTTPRoute, and ReferenceGrant:

go test ./conformance -run TestConformance -args \
    --gateway-class=my-gateway-class \

Other useful flags may be found in conformance flags.

Mesh Tests

Mesh tests can be run by simply enabling the Mesh feature:

go test ./conformance -run TestConformance -args --supported-features=Mesh

If your mesh also includes ingress support with an API such as HTTPRoute, you can run the relevant tests in the same test run by enabling the Gateway feature and any relevant API features, e.g:

go test ./conformance -run TestConformance -args --supported-features=Mesh,Gateway,HTTPRoute

Namespace Labels and Annotations

If labels are needed on namespaces used for testing, you can use the -namespace-labels flag to pass one or more name=value labels to set on the test namespaces. Likewise, -namespace-annotations can be used to specify annotations to be applied to the test namespaces. For mesh testing, this flag can be used if an implementation requires labels on namespaces that host mesh workloads, for example, to enable sidecar injection.

As an example, when testing Linkerd, you might run

go test ./conformance -run TestConformance -args \

so that the test namespaces are correctly injected into the mesh.

Excluding Tests

The Gateway and ReferenceGrant features are enabled by default. You do not need to explicitly list them using the -supported-features flag. However, if you don't want to run them, you will need to disable them using the -exempt-features flag. For example, to run only the Mesh tests, and nothing else:

go test ./conformance -run TestConformance -args \
    --supported-features=Mesh \

Suite Level Options

When running tests of any kind you may not want the test suite to cleanup the test resources when it completes (i.e. so that you can inspect the cluster state in the event of a failure). You can skip cleanup by setting the --cleanup-base-resources=false flag.

It may be helpful (particularly when working on implementing a specific feature) to run a very specific test by name. This can be done by setting the --run-test flag.

Network Policies

In clusters that use Container Network Interface (CNI) plugins which enforce network policies some conformance tests might require custom NetworkPolicy resources to be added to the cluster in order to allow the traffic to reach the required destinations.

Users are expected to add those required network policies so that their implementations pass those tests.

Conformance Profiles

The Conformance profiles are a tool to group multiple supported features, with the goal of certifying their support, through the conformance reports. The supported profiles can be configured with the --conformance-profiles=PROFILE1,PROFILE2 flag.

Conformance Reports

In case the suite has been configured to run a set of conformance profiles, and all the Conformance reports fields have been properly set according to this guide, the conformance report can be uploaded into this folder through a PR. Follow the guide to have all the details on how to structure and submit reports for a specific implementation.

Contributing to Conformance

Many implementations run conformance tests as part of their full e2e test suite. Contributing conformance tests means that implementations can share the investment in test development and ensure that we're providing a consistent experience.

All code related to conformance lives in the "/conformance" directory of the project. Test definitions are in "/conformance/tests" with each test including a pair of files. A YAML file contains the manifests to be applied as part of running the test. A Go file contains code that confirms that an implementation handles those manifests appropriately.

Issues related to conformance are labeled with "area/conformance". These often cover adding new tests to improve our test coverage or fixing flaws or limitations in our existing tests.