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ansible - Man Page

Define and run a single task 'playbook' against a set of hosts

Examples (TL;DR)


usage: ansible [-h] [--version] [-v] [-b] [--become-method BECOME_METHOD]

[--become-user BECOME_USER] [-K | --become-password-file BECOME_PASSWORD_FILE] [-i Inventory] [--list-hosts] [-l SUBSET] [-P POLL_INTERVAL] [-B SECONDS] [-o] [-t TREE] [--private-key PRIVATE_KEY_FILE] [-u REMOTE_USER] [-c CONNECTION] [-T TIMEOUT] [--ssh-common-args SSH_COMMON_ARGS] [--sftp-extra-args SFTP_EXTRA_ARGS] [--scp-extra-args SCP_EXTRA_ARGS] [--ssh-extra-args SSH_EXTRA_ARGS] [-k | --connection-password-file CONNECTION_PASSWORD_FILE] [-C] [-D] [-e EXTRA_VARS] [--vault-id VAULT_IDS] [-J | --vault-password-file VAULT_PASSWORD_FILES] [-f FORKS] [-M MODULE_PATH] [--playbook-dir BASEDIR] [--task-timeout TASK_TIMEOUT] [-a MODULE_ARGS] [-m MODULE_NAME] pattern


is an extra-simple tool/framework/API for doing 'remote things'. this command allows you to define and run a single task 'playbook' against a set of hosts

Common Options

host pattern

--become-method 'BECOME_METHOD'

privilege escalation method to use (default=sudo), use ansible-doc -t become -l to list valid choices.

--become-password-file 'BECOME_PASSWORD_FILE', --become-pass-file 'BECOME_PASSWORD_FILE'

Become password file

--become-user 'BECOME_USER'

run operations as this user (default=root)

--connection-password-file 'CONNECTION_PASSWORD_FILE', --conn-pass-file 'CONNECTION_PASSWORD_FILE'

Connection password file


outputs a list of matching hosts; does not execute anything else

--playbook-dir 'BASEDIR'

Since this tool does not use playbooks, use this as a substitute playbook directory. This sets the relative path for many features including roles/ group_vars/ etc.

--private-key 'PRIVATE_KEY_FILE', --key-file 'PRIVATE_KEY_FILE'

use this file to authenticate the connection

--scp-extra-args 'SCP_EXTRA_ARGS'

specify extra arguments to pass to scp only (e.g. -l)

--sftp-extra-args 'SFTP_EXTRA_ARGS'

specify extra arguments to pass to sftp only (e.g. -f, -l)

--ssh-common-args 'SSH_COMMON_ARGS'

specify common arguments to pass to sftp/scp/ssh (e.g. ProxyCommand)

--ssh-extra-args 'SSH_EXTRA_ARGS'

specify extra arguments to pass to ssh only (e.g. -R)

--task-timeout 'TASK_TIMEOUT'

set task timeout limit in seconds, must be positive integer.


the vault identity to use. This argument may be specified multiple times.

--vault-password-file,  --vault-pass-file

vault password file


show program's version number, config file location, configured module search path, module location, executable location and exit

-B 'SECONDS', --background 'SECONDS'

run asynchronously, failing after X seconds (default=N/A)

-C,  --check

don't make any changes; instead, try to predict some of the changes that may occur

-D,  --diff

when changing (small) files and templates, show the differences in those files; works great with --check

-J,  --ask-vault-password,  --ask-vault-pass

ask for vault password

-K,  --ask-become-pass

ask for privilege escalation password

-M,  --module-path

prepend colon-separated path(s) to module library (default={{ ANSIBLE_HOME ~ "/plugins/modules:/usr/share/ansible/plugins/modules" }}). This argument may be specified multiple times.


set the poll interval if using -B (default=15)

-T 'TIMEOUT', --timeout 'TIMEOUT'

override the connection timeout in seconds (default depends on connection)


The action's options in space separated k=v format: -a 'opt1=val1 opt2=val2' or a json string: -a '{"opt1": "val1", "opt2": "val2"}'

-b,  --become

run operations with become (does not imply password prompting)

-c 'CONNECTION', --connection 'CONNECTION'

connection type to use (default=ssh)

-e,  --extra-vars

set additional variables as key=value or YAML/JSON, if filename prepend with @. This argument may be specified multiple times.

-f 'FORKS', --forks 'FORKS'

specify number of parallel processes to use (default=5)

-h,  --help

show this help message and exit

-i,  --inventory,  --inventory-file

specify inventory host path or comma separated host list. --inventory-file is deprecated. This argument may be specified multiple times.

-k,  --ask-pass

ask for connection password

-l 'SUBSET', --limit 'SUBSET'

further limit selected hosts to an additional pattern

-m 'MODULE_NAME', --module-name 'MODULE_NAME'

Name of the action to execute (default=command)

-o,  --one-line

condense output

-t 'TREE', --tree 'TREE'

log output to this directory


connect as this user (default=None)

-v,  --verbose

Causes Ansible to print more debug messages. Adding multiple -v will increase the verbosity, the builtin plugins currently evaluate up to -vvvvvv. A reasonable level to start is -vvv, connection debugging might require -vvvv. This argument may be specified multiple times.


Ansible stores the hosts it can potentially operate on in an inventory. This can be an YAML file, ini-like file, a script, directory, list, etc. For additional options, see the documentation on https://docs.ansible.com/.


The following environment variables may be specified.

ANSIBLE_INVENTORY  -- Override the default ansible inventory sources

ANSIBLE_LIBRARY -- Override the default ansible module library path

ANSIBLE_CONFIG -- Specify override location for the ansible config file

Many more are available for most options in ansible.cfg

For a full list check https://docs.ansible.com/. or use the ansible-config command.


/etc/ansible/hosts -- Default inventory file

/etc/ansible/ansible.cfg -- Config file, used if present

~/.ansible.cfg -- User config file, overrides the default config if present

./ansible.cfg -- Local config file (in current working directory) assumed to be 'project specific' and overrides the rest if present.

As mentioned above, the ANSIBLE_CONFIG environment variable will override all others.


Ansible was originally written by Michael DeHaan.

See Also

ansible-config (1), ansible-console (1), ansible-doc (1), ansible-galaxy (1), ansible-inventory (1), ansible-playbook (1), ansible-pull (1), ansible-vault (1)

Extensive documentation is available in the documentation site: <https://docs.ansible.com>. IRC and mailing list info can be found in file CONTRIBUTING.md, available in: <https://github.com/ansible/ansible>


Ansible 2.16.8 System administration commands