Getting Ansible

You may also wish to follow the GitHub project if you have a GitHub account. This is also where we keep the issue tracker for sharing bugs and feature ideas.

Basics / What Will Be Installed

Ansible by default manages machines over the SSH protocol.

Once Ansible is installed, it will not add a database, and there will be no daemons to start or keep running. You only need to install it on one machine (which could easily be a laptop) and it can manage an entire fleet of remote machines from that central point. When Ansible manages remote machines, it does not leave software installed or running on them, so there’s no real question about how to upgrade Ansible when moving to a new version.

What Version To Pick?

Because it runs so easily from source and does not require any installation of software on remote machines, many users will actually track the development version.

Ansible’s release cycles are usually about four months long. Due to this short release cycle, minor bugs will generally be fixed in the next release versus maintaining backports on the stable branch. Major bugs will still have maintenance releases when needed, though these are infrequent.

If you are wishing to run the latest released version of Ansible and you are running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (TM), CentOS, Fedora, Debian, or Ubuntu, we recommend using the OS package manager.

For other installation options, we recommend installing via “pip”, which is the Python package manager, though other options are also available.

If you wish to track the development release to use and test the latest features, we will share information about running from source. It’s not necessary to install the program to run from source.

Control Machine Requirements

Currently Ansible can be run from any machine with Python 2.6 or 2.7 installed (Windows isn’t supported for the control machine).

This includes Red Hat, Debian, CentOS, OS X, any of the BSDs, and so on.


As of 2.0 ansible uses a few more file handles to manage its forks, OS X has a very low setting so if you want to use 15 or more forks you’ll need to raise the ulimit, like so sudo launchctl limit maxfiles 1024 2048. Or just any time you see a “Too many open files” error.

Managed Node Requirements

On the managed nodes, you need a way to communicate, normally ssh. By default this uses sftp, if not available you can switch to scp in ansible.cfg. Also you need Python 2.4 or later, but if you are running less than Python 2.5 on the remotes, you will also need:

  • python-simplejson


Ansible’s “raw” module (for executing commands in a quick and dirty way) and the script module don’t even need that. So technically, you can use Ansible to install python-simplejson using the raw module, which then allows you to use everything else. (That’s jumping ahead though.)


If you have SELinux enabled on remote nodes, you will also want to install libselinux-python on them before using any copy/file/template related functions in Ansible. You can of course still use the yum module in Ansible to install this package on remote systems that do not have it.


Python 3 is a slightly different language than Python 2 and most Python programs (including Ansible) are not switching over yet. However, some Linux distributions (Gentoo, Arch) may not have a Python 2.X interpreter installed by default. On those systems, you should install one, and set the ‘ansible_python_interpreter’ variable in inventory (see Inventory) to point at your 2.X Python. Distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu all have a 2.X interpreter installed by default and this does not apply to those distributions. This is also true of nearly all Unix systems.

If you need to bootstrap these remote systems by installing Python 2.X, using the ‘raw’ module will be able to do it remotely. For example, ansible myhost --sudo -m raw -a "yum install -y python2 python-simplejson" would install Python 2.X and the simplejson module needed to run ansible and its modules.

Installing the Control Machine

Running From Source

Ansible is trivially easy to run from a checkout, root permissions are not required to use it and there is no software to actually install for Ansible itself. No daemons or database setup are required. Because of this, many users in our community use the development version of Ansible all of the time, so they can take advantage of new features when they are implemented, and also easily contribute to the project. Because there is nothing to install, following the development version is significantly easier than most open source projects.


If you are intending to use Tower as the Control Machine, do not use a source install. Please use OS package manager (eg. apt/yum) or pip to install a stable version.

To install from source.

$ git clone git:// --recursive
$ cd ./ansible

Using Bash:

$ source ./hacking/env-setup

Using Fish:

$ . ./hacking/

If you want to suppress spurious warnings/errors, use:

$ source ./hacking/env-setup -q

If you don’t have pip installed in your version of Python, install pip:

$ sudo easy_install pip

Ansible also uses the following Python modules that need to be installed [1]:

$ sudo pip install paramiko PyYAML Jinja2 httplib2 six

Note when updating ansible, be sure to not only update the source tree, but also the “submodules” in git which point at Ansible’s own modules (not the same kind of modules, alas).

$ git pull --rebase
$ git submodule update --init --recursive

Once running the env-setup script you’ll be running from checkout and the default inventory file will be /etc/ansible/hosts. You can optionally specify an inventory file (see Inventory) other than /etc/ansible/hosts:

$ echo "" > ~/ansible_hosts
$ export ANSIBLE_INVENTORY=~/ansible_hosts


ANSIBLE_INVENTORY is available starting at 1.9 and substitutes the deprecated ANSIBLE_HOSTS

You can read more about the inventory file in later parts of the manual.

Now let’s test things with a ping command:

$ ansible all -m ping --ask-pass

You can also use “sudo make install” if you wish.

Latest Release Via Yum

RPMs are available from yum for EPEL 6, 7, and currently supported Fedora distributions.

Ansible itself can manage earlier operating systems that contain Python 2.4 or higher (so also EL5).

Fedora users can install Ansible directly, though if you are using RHEL or CentOS and have not already done so, configure EPEL

# install the epel-release RPM if needed on CentOS, RHEL, or Scientific Linux
$ sudo yum install ansible

You can also build an RPM yourself. From the root of a checkout or tarball, use the make rpm command to build an RPM you can distribute and install. Make sure you have rpm-build, make, and python2-devel installed.

$ git clone git:// --recursive
$ cd ./ansible
$ make rpm
$ sudo rpm -Uvh ./rpm-build/ansible-*.noarch.rpm

Latest Releases Via Apt (Ubuntu)

Ubuntu builds are available in a PPA here.

To configure the PPA on your machine and install ansible run these commands:

$ sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ansible/ansible
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install ansible


On older Ubuntu distributions, “software-properties-common” is called “python-software-properties”.

Debian/Ubuntu packages can also be built from the source checkout, run:

$ make deb

You may also wish to run from source to get the latest, which is covered above.

Latest Releases Via Portage (Gentoo)

$ emerge -av app-admin/ansible

To install the newest version, you may need to unmask the ansible package prior to emerging:

$ echo 'app-admin/ansible' >> /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords


If you have Python 3 as a default Python slot on your Gentoo nodes (default setting), then you must set ansible_python_interpreter = /usr/bin/python2 in your group or inventory variables.

Latest Releases Via pkg (FreeBSD)

$ sudo pkg install ansible

You may also wish to install from ports, run:

$ sudo make -C /usr/ports/sysutils/ansible install

Latest Releases on Mac OSX

The preferred way to install ansible on a Mac is via pip.

The instructions can be found in Latest Releases Via Pip section.

Latest Releases Via OpenCSW (Solaris)

Ansible is available for Solaris as SysV package from OpenCSW.

# pkgadd -d
# /opt/csw/bin/pkgutil -i ansible

Latest Releases Via Pacman (Arch Linux)

Ansible is available in the Community repository:

$ pacman -S ansible

The AUR has a PKGBUILD for pulling directly from Github called ansible-git.

Also see the Ansible page on the ArchWiki.


If you have Python 3 as a default Python slot on your Arch nodes (default setting), then you must set ansible_python_interpreter = /usr/bin/python2 in your group or inventory variables.

Latest Releases Via Pip

Ansible can be installed via “pip”, the Python package manager. If ‘pip’ isn’t already available in your version of Python, you can get pip by:

$ sudo easy_install pip

Then install Ansible with [1]:

$ sudo pip install ansible

If you are installing on OS X Mavericks, you may encounter some noise from your compiler. A workaround is to do the following:

$ sudo CFLAGS=-Qunused-arguments CPPFLAGS=-Qunused-arguments pip install ansible

Readers that use virtualenv can also install Ansible under virtualenv, though we’d recommend to not worry about it and just install Ansible globally. Do not use easy_install to install ansible directly.

Tarballs of Tagged Releases

Packaging Ansible or wanting to build a local package yourself, but don’t want to do a git checkout? Tarballs of releases are available on the Ansible downloads page.

These releases are also tagged in the git repository with the release version.


Introduction To Ad-Hoc Commands
Examples of basic commands
Learning ansible’s configuration management language
Mailing List
Questions? Help? Ideas? Stop by the list on Google Groups
#ansible IRC chat channel
[1](1, 2) If you have issues with the “pycrypto” package install on Mac OSX, which is included as a dependency for paramiko, then you may need to try “CC=clang sudo -E pip install pycrypto”.