When running a playbook, you may wish to prompt the user for certain input, and can do so with the ‘vars_prompt’ section.

A common use for this might be for asking for sensitive data that you do not want to record.

This has uses beyond security, for instance, you may use the same playbook for all software releases and would prompt for a particular release version in a push-script.

Here is a most basic example:

- hosts: all

    - name: username
      prompt: "What is your username?"
      private: no

    - name: password
      prompt: "What is your password?"


    - debug:
        msg: 'Logging in as {{ username }}'

The user input is hidden by default but it can be made visible by setting private: no.


Prompts for individual vars_prompt variables will be skipped for any variable that is already defined through the command line --extra-vars option, or when running from a non-interactive session (such as cron or Ansible Tower). See Passing variables on the command line in the /Variables/ chapter.

If you have a variable that changes infrequently, it might make sense to provide a default value that can be overridden. This can be accomplished using the default argument:


  - name: "release_version"
    prompt: "Product release version"
    default: "1.0"

If Passlib is installed, vars_prompt can also encrypt the entered value so you can use it, for instance, with the user module to define a password:


  - name: "my_password2"
    prompt: "Enter password2"
    private: yes
    encrypt: "sha512_crypt"
    confirm: yes
    salt_size: 7

You can use any crypt scheme supported by ‘Passlib’:

  • des_crypt - DES Crypt

  • bsdi_crypt - BSDi Crypt

  • bigcrypt - BigCrypt

  • crypt16 - Crypt16

  • md5_crypt - MD5 Crypt

  • bcrypt - BCrypt

  • sha1_crypt - SHA-1 Crypt

  • sun_md5_crypt - Sun MD5 Crypt

  • sha256_crypt - SHA-256 Crypt

  • sha512_crypt - SHA-512 Crypt

  • apr_md5_crypt - Apache’s MD5-Crypt variant

  • phpass - PHPass’ Portable Hash

  • pbkdf2_digest - Generic PBKDF2 Hashes

  • cta_pbkdf2_sha1 - Cryptacular’s PBKDF2 hash

  • dlitz_pbkdf2_sha1 - Dwayne Litzenberger’s PBKDF2 hash

  • scram - SCRAM Hash

  • bsd_nthash - FreeBSD’s MCF-compatible nthash encoding

However, the only parameters accepted are ‘salt’ or ‘salt_size’. You can use your own salt using ‘salt’, or have one generated automatically using ‘salt_size’. If nothing is specified, a salt of size 8 will be generated.

New in version 2.7.

When Passlib is not installed the crypt library is used as fallback. Depending on your platform at most the following crypt schemes are supported:

  • bcrypt - BCrypt

  • md5_crypt - MD5 Crypt

  • sha256_crypt - SHA-256 Crypt

  • sha512_crypt - SHA-512 Crypt

New in version 2.8.

If you need to put in special characters (i.e {%) that might create templating errors, use the unsafe option:

  - name: "my_password_with_wierd_chars"
    prompt: "Enter password"
    unsafe: yes
    private: yes

See also

Working With Playbooks

An introduction to playbooks


Conditional statements in playbooks

Using Variables

All about variables

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