Ansible Cheatsheet

Gineesh Gineesh Follow · 6 mins read
Ansible Cheatsheet
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Ansible Cheat Sheet

Ansible is an open-source IT automation engine which can help you to automate most of your repetitive tasks in your work life. Ansible can also improve the consistency, scalability, reliability and easiness of your IT environment.

Ansible Cheat Sheet for Quick Reference and understanding

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Item Description
host_vars directory for host variable files
group_vars directory for group variable files
facts collecting the host specific data
register registered variables
vars in playbook
vars_files in playbook
include_vars module
include_tasks: stuff.yml include a sub task file

Task Control & Loops

Item Description
with_items then “item” inside action
with_nested for nested loops
when meet a condition


Item Description
copy copy file or content
get_url download file
file manage file/directories
yum manage package
service manage services
firewalld firewall service
lineinfile add a line to dest file
template to template file with variables
debug to debug and display
add_host add host to inventory while play
wait_for use for flow control
apt manage apt-packages
shell execute shell commands on targets


Item Description
ansible-playbook <YAML> Run on all hosts defined
ansible-playbook <YAML> -f 10 Fork - Run 10 hosts parallel
ansible-playbook <YAML> --verbose Verbose on successful tasks
ansible-playbook <YAML> -C Test run
ansible-playbook <YAML> -C -D Dry run
ansible-playbook <YAML> -l <host> Limit to run on single host


Item Description
notify to notify the handler
handlers define handler


Item Description
tags add tags to the tasks
--tags ‘<tag>’ during playbook execution
--skip-tags for skipping those tags
tagged run any tagged tasks
untagged any untagged items
all all items

Handling Errors

Item Description
ignore_errors proceed or not if any error on current task
force_handlers call handler even the play failed
failed_when mark the task as failed if a condition met
changed_when set “ok” or “failed” for a task
block logical grouping of tasks (can use with when)
rescue to run if block clause fails
always always run even block success or fails

Jinja2 Templates

To be added later with examples


main file in sub-directories should be main.yml Role variable can define under roles directive

Role Directories

Item Description
defaults default value of role variables
files static files referenced by role tasks
handlers role’s handlers
meta role info like Author, Licence, Platform etc
tasks role’s task defenition
templates jinja2 templates
tests test inventory and test.yml
vars role’s variable values
pre_tasks tasks before role
post_tasks tasks after role

Ansible Galaxy

Item Description
ansible-galaxy search ‘install git’ --platform el search for a role
ansible-galaxy info <role-name> display role information
ansible-galaxy install <role-name> -p <directory> install role from galaxy
ansible-galaxy list to list local roles
ansible-galaxy remove <role-name> remove role
ansible-galaxy init --offline <role-name> initiate a role directory


Item Description
delegate_to: localhost run the task on localhost instead of inventory item
delegate_facts assign the gathered facts from the tasks to the delegated host instead of current host


Item Description
forks number of forks or parallel machines
--forks when using ansible-playbook
serial control number parallel machines
async: 3600 wait 3600 seconds to complete the task
poll: 10 check every 10 seconds if task completed
wait_for module to wait and check if specific condition met
async_status module to check an async task status

Ansible Vault

Item Description
ansible-vault create newfile create a new vault file
ansible-vault view newfile view file which is already ansible vaulted
ansible-vault edit newfile Edit file
ansible-vault view --vault-password-file .secret newfile Provide vault password as file
ansible-vault decrypt newfile Remove encryption or vault
ansible-vault rekey newfile change vault password
--ask-vault-pass or
--vault-password-file <secret-password-file>
ask for vault password for ansible-playbook


Item Description
log_path where logs are saved
debug module for debugging
--syntax-check syntax checking for playbooks before they run
--step run playbook step by step
--start-at-task run a playbook but start at specific task
--check check mode
--diff will show the expected changes if you run the playbook, but will not do any changes (kind of dry run)
uri module for testing url
script module for running script and return success code
stat module to check the status of files/dir
assert check file exist

if you find any mistakes, please feel free to update or let me know


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Written by Gineesh Follow
Author, Automation and Containerization Guy,

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