Define and run a single task ‘playbook’ against a set of hosts


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]


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

--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.


The following environment variables may be specified.

ANSIBLE_INVENTORY – Override the default ansible inventory file

ANSIBLE_LIBRARY – Override the default ansible module library path

ANSIBLE_CONFIG – Override the default ansible config file

Many more are available for most options in ansible.cfg


/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 was originally written by Michael DeHaan.

See the AUTHORS file for a complete list of contributors.


Ansible is released under the terms of the GPLv3+ License.

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)