ansible.builtin.file module – Manage files and file properties

Note

This module is part of ansible-core and included in all Ansible installations. In most cases, you can use the short module name file even without specifying the collections: keyword. However, we recommend you use the FQCN for easy linking to the module documentation and to avoid conflicting with other collections that may have the same module name.

Synopsis

Parameters

Parameter

Comments

access_time

string

added in 2.7 of ansible.builtin

This parameter indicates the time the file’s access time should be set to.

Should be preserve when no modification is required, YYYYMMDDHHMM.SS when using default time format, or now.

Default is None meaning that preserve is the default for state=[file,directory,link,hard] and now is default for state=touch.

access_time_format

string

added in 2.7 of ansible.builtin

When used with access_time, indicates the time format that must be used.

Based on default Python format (see time.strftime doc).

Default: “%Y%m%d%H%M.%S”

attributes

aliases: attr

string

added in 2.3 of ansible.builtin

The attributes the resulting filesystem object should have.

To get supported flags look at the man page for chattr on the target system.

This string should contain the attributes in the same order as the one displayed by lsattr.

The = operator is assumed as default, otherwise + or - operators need to be included in the string.

follow

boolean

added in 1.8 of ansible.builtin

This flag indicates that filesystem links, if they exist, should be followed.

Previous to Ansible 2.5, this was no by default.

Choices:

  • no

  • yes ← (default)

force

boolean

Force the creation of the symlinks in two cases: the source file does not exist (but will appear later); the destination exists and is a file (so, we need to unlink the path file and create symlink to the src file in place of it).

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

group

string

Name of the group that should own the filesystem object, as would be fed to chown.

mode

raw

The permissions the resulting filesystem object should have.

For those used to /usr/bin/chmod remember that modes are actually octal numbers. You must either add a leading zero so that Ansible’s YAML parser knows it is an octal number (like 0644 or 01777) or quote it (like '644' or '1777') so Ansible receives a string and can do its own conversion from string into number.

Giving Ansible a number without following one of these rules will end up with a decimal number which will have unexpected results.

As of Ansible 1.8, the mode may be specified as a symbolic mode (for example, u+rwx or u=rw,g=r,o=r).

If mode is not specified and the destination filesystem object does not exist, the default umask on the system will be used when setting the mode for the newly created filesystem object.

If mode is not specified and the destination filesystem object does exist, the mode of the existing filesystem object will be used.

Specifying mode is the best way to ensure filesystem objects are created with the correct permissions. See CVE-2020-1736 for further details.

modification_time

string

added in 2.7 of ansible.builtin

This parameter indicates the time the file’s modification time should be set to.

Should be preserve when no modification is required, YYYYMMDDHHMM.SS when using default time format, or now.

Default is None meaning that preserve is the default for state=[file,directory,link,hard] and now is default for state=touch.

modification_time_format

string

added in 2.7 of ansible.builtin

When used with modification_time, indicates the time format that must be used.

Based on default Python format (see time.strftime doc).

Default: “%Y%m%d%H%M.%S”

owner

string

Name of the user that should own the filesystem object, as would be fed to chown.

path

aliases: dest, name

path / required

Path to the file being managed.

recurse

boolean

added in 1.1 of ansible.builtin

Recursively set the specified file attributes on directory contents.

This applies only when state is set to directory.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

selevel

string

The level part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

This is the MLS/MCS attribute, sometimes known as the range.

When set to _default, it will use the level portion of the policy if available.

serole

string

The role part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

When set to _default, it will use the role portion of the policy if available.

setype

string

The type part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

When set to _default, it will use the type portion of the policy if available.

seuser

string

The user part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

By default it uses the system policy, where applicable.

When set to _default, it will use the user portion of the policy if available.

src

path

Path of the file to link to.

This applies only to state=link and state=hard.

For state=link, this will also accept a non-existing path.

Relative paths are relative to the file being created (path) which is how the Unix command ln -s SRC DEST treats relative paths.

state

string

If absent, directories will be recursively deleted, and files or symlinks will be unlinked. In the case of a directory, if diff is declared, you will see the files and folders deleted listed under path_contents. Note that absent will not cause file to fail if the path does not exist as the state did not change.

If directory, all intermediate subdirectories will be created if they do not exist. Since Ansible 1.7 they will be created with the supplied permissions.

If file, with no other options, returns the current state of path.

If file, even with other options (such as mode), the file will be modified if it exists but will NOT be created if it does not exist. Set to touch or use the ansible.builtin.copy or ansible.builtin.template module if you want to create the file if it does not exist.

If hard, the hard link will be created or changed.

If link, the symbolic link will be created or changed.

If touch (new in 1.4), an empty file will be created if the file does not exist, while an existing file or directory will receive updated file access and modification times (similar to the way touch works from the command line).

Choices:

  • absent

  • directory

  • file ← (default)

  • hard

  • link

  • touch

unsafe_writes

boolean

added in 2.2 of ansible.builtin

Influence when to use atomic operation to prevent data corruption or inconsistent reads from the target filesystem object.

By default this module uses atomic operations to prevent data corruption or inconsistent reads from the target filesystem objects, but sometimes systems are configured or just broken in ways that prevent this. One example is docker mounted filesystem objects, which cannot be updated atomically from inside the container and can only be written in an unsafe manner.

This option allows Ansible to fall back to unsafe methods of updating filesystem objects when atomic operations fail (however, it doesn’t force Ansible to perform unsafe writes).

IMPORTANT! Unsafe writes are subject to race conditions and can lead to data corruption.

Choices:

  • no ← (default)

  • yes

Attributes

Attribute

Support

Description

check_mode

Support: full

Can run in check_mode and return changed status prediction without modifying target

diff_mode

Support: partial

permissions and ownership will be shown but file contents on absent/touch will not.

Will return details on what has changed (or possibly needs changing in check_mode), when in diff mode

platform

Platform: posix

Target OS/families that can be operated against

See Also

See also

ansible.builtin.assemble

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.assemble module.

ansible.builtin.copy

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.copy module.

ansible.builtin.stat

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.stat module.

ansible.builtin.template

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.template module.

ansible.windows.win_file

The official documentation on the ansible.windows.win_file module.

Examples

- name: Change file ownership, group and permissions
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo.conf
    owner: foo
    group: foo
    mode: '0644'

- name: Give insecure permissions to an existing file
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /work
    owner: root
    group: root
    mode: '1777'

- name: Create a symbolic link
  ansible.builtin.file:
    src: /file/to/link/to
    dest: /path/to/symlink
    owner: foo
    group: foo
    state: link

- name: Create two hard links
  ansible.builtin.file:
    src: '/tmp/{{ item.src }}'
    dest: '{{ item.dest }}'
    state: hard
  loop:
    - { src: x, dest: y }
    - { src: z, dest: k }

- name: Touch a file, using symbolic modes to set the permissions (equivalent to 0644)
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo.conf
    state: touch
    mode: u=rw,g=r,o=r

- name: Touch the same file, but add/remove some permissions
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo.conf
    state: touch
    mode: u+rw,g-wx,o-rwx

- name: Touch again the same file, but do not change times this makes the task idempotent
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo.conf
    state: touch
    mode: u+rw,g-wx,o-rwx
    modification_time: preserve
    access_time: preserve

- name: Create a directory if it does not exist
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/some_directory
    state: directory
    mode: '0755'

- name: Update modification and access time of given file
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/some_file
    state: file
    modification_time: now
    access_time: now

- name: Set access time based on seconds from epoch value
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/another_file
    state: file
    access_time: '{{ "%Y%m%d%H%M.%S" | strftime(stat_var.stat.atime) }}'

- name: Recursively change ownership of a directory
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo
    state: directory
    recurse: yes
    owner: foo
    group: foo

- name: Remove file (delete file)
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo.txt
    state: absent

- name: Recursively remove directory
  ansible.builtin.file:
    path: /etc/foo
    state: absent

Return Values

Common return values are documented here, the following are the fields unique to this module:

Key

Description

dest

string

Destination file/path, equal to the value passed to path.

Returned: state=touch, state=hard, state=link

Sample: “/path/to/file.txt”

path

string

Destination file/path, equal to the value passed to path.

Returned: state=absent, state=directory, state=file

Sample: “/path/to/file.txt”

Authors

  • Ansible Core Team

  • Michael DeHaan