» CLI Configuration File (.terraformrc or terraform.rc)

The CLI configuration file configures per-user settings for CLI behaviors, which apply across all Terraform working directories. This is separate from your infrastructure configuration.

» Location

The configuration is placed in a single file whose location depends on the host operating system:

  • On Windows, the file must be named named terraform.rc and placed in the relevant user's %APPDATA% directory. The physical location of this directory depends on your Windows version and system configuration; use $env:APPDATA in PowerShell to find its location on your system.
  • On all other systems, the file must be named .terraformrc (note the leading period) and placed directly in the home directory of the relevant user.

On Windows, beware of Windows Explorer's default behavior of hiding filename extensions. Terraform will not recognize a file named terraform.rc.txt as a CLI configuration file, even though Windows Explorer may display its name as just terraform.rc. Use dir from PowerShell or Command Prompt to confirm the filename.

The location of the Terraform CLI configuration file can also be specified using the TF_CLI_CONFIG_FILE environment variable.

» Configuration File Syntax

The configuration file uses the same HCL syntax as .tf files, but with different attributes and blocks. The following example illustrates the general syntax; see the following section for information on the meaning of each of these settings:

plugin_cache_dir   = "$HOME/.terraform.d/plugin-cache"
disable_checkpoint = true

» Available Settings

The following settings can be set in the CLI configuration file:

» Credentials

Terraform Cloud provides a number of remote network services for use with Terraform, and Terraform Enterprise allows hosting those services inside your own infrastructure. For example, these systems offer both remote operations and a private module registry.

When interacting with Terraform-specific network services, Terraform expects to find API tokens in CLI configuration files in credentials blocks:

credentials "app.terraform.io" {
  token = "xxxxxx.atlasv1.zzzzzzzzzzzzz"

You can have multiple credentials blocks if you regularly use services from multiple hosts. Many users will configure only one, for either Terraform Cloud (at app.terraform.io) or for their organization's own Terraform Enterprise host. Each credentials block contains a token argument giving the API token to use for that host.

If you are running the Terraform CLI interactively on a computer that is capable of also running a web browser, you can optionally obtain credentials and save them in the CLI configuration automatically using the terraform login command.

» Credentials Helpers

If you would prefer not to store your API tokens directly in the CLI configuration as described in the previous section, you can optionally instruct Terraform to use a different credentials storage mechanism by configuring a special kind of plugin program called a credentials helper.

credentials_helper "example" {
  args = []

credentials_helper is a configuration block that can appear at most once in the CLI configuration. Its label ("example" above) is the name of the credentials helper to use. The args argument is optional and allows passing additional arguments to the helper program, for example if it needs to be configured with the address of a remote host to access for credentials.

A configured credentials helper will be consulted only to retrieve credentials for hosts that are not explicitly configured in a credentials block as described in the previous section. Conversely, this means you can override the credentials returned by the helper for a specific hostname by writing a credentials block alongside the credentials_helper block.

Terraform does not include any credentials helpers in the main distribution. To learn how to write and install your own credentials helpers to integrate with existing in-house credentials management systems, see the guide to Credentials Helper internals.

» Deprecated Settings

The following settings are supported for backward compatibility but are no longer recommended for use:

  • providers - a configuration block that allows specifying the locations of specific plugins for each named provider. This mechanism is deprecated because it is unable to specify a version number for each plugin, and thus it does not co-operate with the plugin versioning mechanism. Instead, place the plugin executable files in the third-party plugins directory.