» Terraform Commands (CLI)

For a hands-on tutorial, try the Get Started track on HashiCorp Learn.

Terraform is controlled via a very easy to use command-line interface (CLI). Terraform is only a single command-line application: terraform. This application then takes a subcommand such as "apply" or "plan". The complete list of subcommands is in the navigation to the left.

The terraform CLI is a well-behaved command line application. In erroneous cases, a non-zero exit status will be returned. It also responds to -h and --help as you'd most likely expect.

To view a list of the available commands at any time, just run terraform with no arguments:

$ terraform
Usage: terraform [-version] [-help] <command> [args]

The available commands for execution are listed below.
The most common, useful commands are shown first, followed by
less common or more advanced commands. If you're just getting
started with Terraform, stick with the common commands. For the
other commands, please read the help and docs before usage.

Common commands:
    apply              Builds or changes infrastructure
    console            Interactive console for Terraform interpolations
    destroy            Destroy Terraform-managed infrastructure
    env                Workspace management
    fmt                Rewrites config files to canonical format
    get                Download and install modules for the configuration
    graph              Create a visual graph of Terraform resources
    import             Import existing infrastructure into Terraform
    init               Initialize a Terraform working directory
    output             Read an output from a state file
    plan               Generate and show an execution plan
    providers          Prints a tree of the providers used in the configuration
    refresh            Update local state file against real resources
    show               Inspect Terraform state or plan
    taint              Manually mark a resource for recreation
    untaint            Manually unmark a resource as tainted
    validate           Validates the Terraform files
    version            Prints the Terraform version
    workspace          Workspace management

All other commands:
    0.12upgrade        Rewrites pre-0.12 module source code for v0.12
    debug              Debug output management (experimental)
    force-unlock       Manually unlock the terraform state
    push               Obsolete command for Terraform Enterprise legacy (v1)
    state              Advanced state management

To get help for any specific command, pass the -h flag to the relevant subcommand. For example, to see help about the graph subcommand:

$ terraform graph -h
Usage: terraform graph [options] PATH

  Outputs the visual graph of Terraform resources. If the path given is
  the path to a configuration, the dependency graph of the resources are
  shown. If the path is a plan file, then the dependency graph of the
  plan itself is shown.

  The graph is outputted in DOT format. The typical program that can
  read this format is GraphViz, but many web services are also available
  to read this format.

» Shell Tab-completion

If you use either bash or zsh as your command shell, Terraform can provide tab-completion support for all command names and (at this time) some command arguments.

To add the necessary commands to your shell profile, run the following command:

terraform -install-autocomplete

After installation, it is necessary to restart your shell or to re-read its profile script before completion will be activated.

To uninstall the completion hook, assuming that it has not been modified manually in the shell profile, run the following command:

terraform -uninstall-autocomplete

Currently not all of Terraform's subcommands have full tab-completion support for all arguments. We plan to improve tab-completion coverage over time.

» Upgrade and Security Bulletin Checks

The Terraform CLI commands interact with the HashiCorp service Checkpoint to check for the availability of new versions and for critical security bulletins about the current version.

One place where the effect of this can be seen is in terraform version, where it is used by default to indicate in the output when a newer version is available.

Only anonymous information, which cannot be used to identify the user or host, is sent to Checkpoint. An anonymous ID is sent which helps de-duplicate warning messages. Both the anonymous id and the use of checkpoint itself are completely optional and can be disabled.

Checkpoint itself can be entirely disabled for all HashiCorp products by setting the environment variable CHECKPOINT_DISABLE to any non-empty value.

Alternatively, settings in the CLI configuration file can be used to disable checkpoint features. The following checkpoint-related settings are supported in this file:

  • disable_checkpoint - set to true to disable checkpoint calls entirely. This is similar to the CHECKPOINT_DISABLE environment variable described above.

  • disable_checkpoint_signature - set to true to disable the use of an anonymous signature in checkpoint requests. This allows Terraform to check for security bulletins but does not send the anonymous signature in these requests.

The Checkpoint client code used by Terraform is available for review by any interested party.