Ansible Tutorial: Introduction to simple Ansible commands

In our earlier Ansible tutorial, we discussed the installation & configuration of Ansible. Now in this ansible tutorial, we will learn some simple ansible commands that we will use to manage our infrastructure.

So let us start by looking at the syntax of a simple ansible commands,

$ ansible <group> -m <module> -a <arguments>

Here, we can also use a single host or all in place of <group> & <arguments> are optional to provide. Now let’s look at some basic commands to use with ansible,

Ansible Commands

Check connectivity of hosts

We have used this command in our previous tutorial also. The command to check connectivity of hosts is

$ ansible <group> -m ping


Rebooting hosts

$ ansible <group> -a “/sbin/reboot”


Checking host’s system information

Ansible collects the system’s information for all the hosts connected to it. To display the information of hosts, run

$ ansible <group> -m setup | less

Secondly, to check a particular info from the collected information by passing an argument,

$ ansible <group> -m setup -a “filter=ansible_distribution”


Transfering files

For transferring files we use a module ‘copy’ & complete command that is used is

$ ansible <group> -m copy -a “src=/home/dan dest=/tmp/home”


Manging users

So to manage the users on the connected hosts, we use a module named ‘user’ & comamnds to use it are as follows,

Creating a new user

$ ansible <group> -m user -a “name=testuser password=<encrypted password>”

Deleting a user

$ ansible <group> -m user -a “name=testuser state=absent”

Note:- To create an encrypted password, use the ‘mkpasswd –method=sha-512’ command.


Changing permissions & ownership

So for changing ownership of files of connected hosts, we use module named ‘file’ & commands used are

Changing permission of a file

$ ansible <group> -m file -a “dest=/home/dan/file1.txt mode=777”

Changing ownership of a file

$ ansible <group> -m file -a “dest=/home/dan/file1.txt mode=777 owner=dan group=dan”


Managing Packages

So, we can manage the packages installed on all the hosts connected to ansible by using ‘yum’ & ‘apt’ modules & the complete commands used are

Check if package is installed & update it

$ ansible <group> -m yum -a “name=ntp state=latest”

Check if package is installed & don’t update it

$ ansible <group> -m yum -a “name=ntp state=present”

Check if package is at a specific version

$ ansible <group> -m yum -a “name= ntp-1.8 state=present”

Check if package is not installed

$ ansible <group> -m yum -a “name=ntp state=absent”


Managing services

So to manage services with ansible, we use a modules ‘service’ & complete commands that are used are,

Starting a service

$ ansible <group> -m service -a “name=httpd state=started”

Stopping a service

$ ansible <group> -m service -a “name=httpd state=stopped”

Restarting a service

$ ansible <group> -m service -a “name=httpd state=restarted”


So this completes our tutorial of some one line, simple ansible commands that can be used with ansible. Also, for our future tutorials, we will learn to create plays & playbooks that help us manage our hosts more easliy & efficiently.

If you think we have helped you or just want to support us, please consider these :-

Connect to us: Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus

Become a Supporter – Donate us some of you hard earned money:

Linux TechLab is thankful for your continued support.


Passionate about Linux & open source. Loves to learn, read & write about Linux as well as new technologies.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    Great article, was looking for something like this.

  2. db says:

    mispelled introduction in title.

  3. Since the way ansible works is to set the state some terminology used in this article might be misleading….
    In the “Managing Packages” you should replace “check if” to “Assure the package is installed (either by being already installed or by ansible installing itself) or absent (in this case it would uninstall it if present).

    Otherwise is an excelent ansible 1-liner cookbook.

  4. adsf says:

    Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the great work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *