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Getting Started

Install Packer

Packer may be installed in the following ways:

  • Using a precompiled binary. We release binaries for all supported platforms and architectures. This method is recommended for most users.
  • Installing from source. This method is only recommended for advanced users.
  • An unofficial alternative installation method.

»Installing Packer

To install the precompiled binary, download the appropriate package for your system. Packer is currently packaged as a zip file. We do not have any near term plans to provide system packages.

Next, unzip the downloaded package into a directory where Packer will be installed. On Unix systems, ~/packer or /usr/local/packer is generally good, depending on whether you want to restrict the install to just your user or install it system-wide. If you intend to access it from the command-line, make sure to place it somewhere on your PATH before /usr/sbin. On Windows systems, you can put it wherever you'd like. The packer (or packer.exe for Windows) binary inside is all that is necessary to run Packer. Any additional files aren't required to run Packer.

After unzipping the package, the directory should contain a single binary program called packer. The final step to installation is to make sure the directory you installed Packer to is on the PATH. See this page for instructions on setting the PATH on Linux and Mac. This page contains instructions for setting the PATH on Windows.

»Verifying the Installation

After installing Packer, verify the installation worked by opening a new command prompt or console, and checking that packer is available:

$ packer
usage: packer [--version] [--help] <command> [<args>]

Available commands are:
    build       build image(s) from template
    fix         fixes templates from old versions of packer
    inspect     see components of a template
    validate    check that a template is valid
    version     Prints the Packer version

If you get an error that packer could not be found, then your PATH environment variable was not setup properly. Please go back and ensure that your PATH variable contains the directory which has Packer installed.

Otherwise, Packer is installed and you're ready to go!


On some RedHat-based Linux distributions there is another tool named packer installed by default. You can check for this using which -a packer. If you get an error like this it indicates there is a name conflict.

$ packer
/usr/share/cracklib/pw_dict.pwd: Permission denied
/usr/share/cracklib/pw_dict: Permission denied

To fix this, you can create a symlink to packer that uses a different name like, or invoke the packer binary you want using its absolute path, e.g. /usr/local/packer.

On Arch Linux there is a package named packer in the main repository and in the AUR. The package packer in the AUR is an old name for a package management tool for Arch, it's not HashiCorp Packer.