Sensuctl is a command line tool for managing resources within Sensu. It works by calling Sensu’s underlying API to create, read, update, and delete resources, events, and entities. Sensuctl is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows. See the installation guide to install and configure sensuctl.

Getting help

Sensuctl supports a --help flag for each command and subcommand.

# See command and global flags
sensuctl --help

# See subcommands and flags
sensuctl check --help

# See usage and flags
sensuctl check delete --help

First-time setup

To set up sensuctl, run sensuctl configure to log in to sensuctl and connect to the Sensu backend.

sensuctl configure

When prompted, input the Sensu backend URL and your Sensu access credentials.

? Sensu Backend URL:
? Username: admin
? Password: P@ssw0rd!
? Namespace: default
? Preferred output format: tabular

Sensu backend URL

The HTTP or HTTPS URL where sensuctl can connect to the Sensu backend server, defaulting to When connecting to a Sensu cluster, connect sensuctl to any single backend in the cluster. For more information on configuring the Sensu backend URL, see the backend reference.

Username | password | namespace

By default, Sensu includes a user named admin with password P@ssw0rd! and a default namespace. Your ability to get, list, create, update, and delete resources with sensuctl depends on the permissions assigned to your Sensu user. For more information about configuring Sensu access control, see the RBAC reference.

Preferred output format

Sensuctl supports the following output formats:

Once logged in, you can change the output format using sensuctl config set-format or set it per command using the --format flag.

Managing sensuctl

The sencutl config command lets you view the current sensuctl configuration and set the namespace and output format.

View sensuctl config

To view the active configuration for sensuctl:

sensuctl config view

Sensuctl configuration includes the Sensu backend url, Sensu edition (Core or Enterprise), the default output format for the current user, and the default namespace for the current user.

edition: core
format: wrapped-json
namespace: default

Set output format

You can use the set-format command to change the default output format for the current user. For example, to change the output format to tabular:

sensuctl config set-format tabular

Set namespace

You can use the set-namespace command to change the default namespace for the current user. For more information about configuring Sensu access control, see the RBAC reference. For example, to change the default namespace to development:

sensuctl config set-namespace development

Log out of sensuctl

To log out of sensuctl:

sensuctl logout

To log back in:

sensuctl configure

View the sensuctl version number

To display the current version of sensuctl:

sensuctl version

Global flags

Global flags modify settings specific to sensuctl, such as the Sensu backend URL and namespace. You can use global flags with most sensuctl commands.

--api-url string             host URL of Sensu installation
--cache-dir string           path to directory containing cache & temporary files
--config-dir string          path to directory containing configuration files
--insecure-skip-tls-verify   skip TLS certificate verification (not recommended!)
--namespace string           namespace in which we perform actions
--trusted-ca-file string     TLS CA certificate bundle in PEM format

Additionally, these flags can be set permanently by editing .config/sensu/sensuctl/{cluster, profile}.

Creating resources

The sensuctl create command allows you to create or update resources by reading from STDIN or a flag configured file (-f). The create command accepts Sensu resource definitions in wrapped-json and yaml. Both JSON and YAML resource definitions wrap the contents of the resource in spec and identify the resource type (see below for an example, and this table for a list of supported types). See the reference docs for information about creating resource definitions.

For example, the following file my-resources.json specifies two resources: a marketing-site check and a slack handler.

  "type": "CheckConfig",
  "spec": {
    "command": "check-http.go -u",
    "subscriptions": ["demo"],
    "interval": 15,
    "handlers": ["slack"],
    "metadata" : {
      "name": "marketing-site",
      "namespace": "default"
  "type": "Handler",
  "api_version": "core/v2",
  "metadata": {
    "name": "slack",
    "namespace": "default"
  "spec": {
    "command": "sensu-slack-handler --channel '#monitoring'",
    "env_vars": [
    "filters": [
    "handlers": [],
    "runtime_assets": [],
    "timeout": 0,
    "type": "pipe"

NOTE: Commas cannot be included between JSON resource definitions when using sensuctl create.

To create all resources from my-resources.json using sensuctl create:

sensuctl create --file my-resources.json


cat my-resources.json | sensuctl create

sensuctl create resource types

sensuctl create types
AdhocRequest adhoc_request Asset asset
CheckConfig check_config ClusterRole cluster-role
ClusterRoleBinding cluster-role-binding Entity entity
Event event EventFilter event_filter
Handler handler Hook hook
HookConfig hook_config Mutator mutator
Namespace namespace Role role
RoleBinding role-binding Silenced silenced


Editing resources

Sensuctl allows you to edit resource definitions using a text editor. To use sensuctl edit, specify the resource type and resource name.

For example, to edit a handler named slack using sensuctl edit:

sensuctl edit handler slack

sensuctl edit resource types

sensuctl edit types
asset check cluster cluster-role
cluster-role-binding entity event filter
handler hook mutator namespace
role role-binding silenced user

Managing resources

Sensuctl provides the following commands to manage Sensu resources.


Sensuctl provides a standard set of list, info, and delete operations for most resource types.

list                       list resources
info NAME                  show detailed resource information given resource name
delete NAME                delete resource given resource name

For example, to list all monitoring checks:

sensuctl check list

To write all checks to my-resources.json in wrapped-json format:

sensuctl check list --format wrapped-json > my-resources.json

To see the definition for a check named check-cpu in wrapped-json format:

sensuctl check info check-cpu --format wrapped-json

In addition to the standard operations, commands may support subcommands or flags that allow you to take special action based on the resource type; the following sections call out those resource-specific operations. For a list of subcommands specific to a resource, run sensuctl TYPE --help.

sensuctl check

In addition to the standard subcommands, sensuctl provides a command to execute a check on demand, given the check name.

sensuctl check execute NAME

For example, the following command executes the check-cpu check with an attached message:

sensuctl check execute check-cpu --reason "giving a sensuctl demo"

You can also use the --subscriptions flag to override the subscriptions in the check definition:

sensuctl check execute check-cpu --subscriptions demo,webserver

sensuctl cluster

The sensuctl cluster command lets you manage a Sensu cluster using the following subcommands.

health           get sensu health status
member-add       add cluster member to an existing cluster, with comma-separated peer addresses
member-list      list cluster members
member-remove    remove cluster member by ID
member-update    update cluster member by ID with comma-separated peer addresses

To view cluster members:

sensuctl cluster member-list

To see the health of your Sensu cluster:

sensuctl cluster health

sensuctl event

In addition to the standard subcommands, sensuctl provides a command to resolve an event.

sensuctl event resolve ENTITY CHECK

For example, the following command manually resolves an event created by the entity webserver1 and the check check-http:

sensuctl event resolve webserver1 check-http

sensuctl namespace

See the RBAC reference for information about using access control with namespaces.

sensuctl user

See the RBAC reference for information about local user management with sensuctl.

Time formats

Sensuctl supports multiple time formats depending on the manipulated resource. Supported canonical time zone IDs are defined in the tz database.

WARNING: Canonical zone IDs (i.e. America/Vancouver) are not supported on Windows.

Dates with time

Full dates with time are used to specify an exact point in time, which can be used with silencing entries, for example. The following formats are supported:

  • RFC3339 with numeric zone offset: 2018-05-10T07:04:00-08:00 or 2018-05-10T15:04:00Z
  • RFC3339 with space delimiters and numeric zone offset: 2018-05-10 07:04:00 -08:00
  • Sensu alpha legacy format with canonical zone ID: May 10 2018 7:04AM America/Vancouver

Shell auto-completion

Installation (Bash Shell)

Make sure bash completion is installed. If you use a current Linux in a non-minimal installation, bash completion should be available. On macOS, install with:

brew install bash-completion

Then add the following to your ~/.bash_profile:

if [ -f $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion ]; then
. $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion

Once bash-completion is available, add the following to your ~/.bash_profile:

source <(sensuctl completion bash)

You can now source your ~/.bash_profile or launch a new terminal to utilize completion.

source ~/.bash_profile

Installation (ZSH)

Add the following to your ~/.zshrc:

source <(sensuctl completion zsh)

You can now source your ~/.zshrc or launch a new terminal to utilize completion.

source ~/.zshrc


sensuctl Tab

check       configure   event       user
asset       completion  entity      handler

sensuctl check Tab

create  delete  import  list