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Get Started - Azure

Install Terraform

To use Terraform you will need to install it. HashiCorp distributes Terraform as a binary package. You can also install Terraform using popular package managers.

»Install Terraform

Retrieve the terraform binary by downloading a pre-compiled binary or compiling it from source.

To install Terraform, find the appropriate package for your system and download it as a zip archive.

After downloading Terraform, unzip the package. Terraform runs as a single binary named terraform. Any other files in the package can be safely removed and Terraform will still function.

Finally, make sure that the terraform binary is available on your PATH. This process will differ depending on your operating system.

Have your terminal print a colon-separated list of locations in your PATH.

$ echo $PATH

Move the terraform binary to one of the listed locations. The below command assumes that the binary is currently in your downloads folder and that your PATH includes /usr/local/bin, but you can customize it if your locations are different.

$ mv ~/Downloads/terraform /usr/local/bin/

For more detail about adding binaries to your path, see this stack overflow article.

»Verify the installation

Verify that the installation worked by opening a new terminal session and listing Terraform's available subcommands.

$ terraform -help
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.

Add any subcommand to terraform -help to learn more about what it does and available options.

$ terraform -help plan


If you get an error that terraform could not be found, your PATH environment variable was not set up properly. Please go back and ensure that your PATH variable contains the directory where Terraform was installed.

»Enable tab completion

If you use either bash or zsh you can enable tab completion for Terraform commands. To enable autocomplete, run the following command and then restart your shell.

$ terraform -install-autocomplete

»Quick start tutorial

Now that you've installed Terraform, you can provision an NGINX server in less than a minute using Docker on Mac, Windows, or Linux.

If you have Terraform and Docker installed on your local machine, start Docker Desktop.

$ open -a Docker

If you weren't successful installing Terraform or don't have Docker installed, you can complete the quick start tutorial from your web browser. Launch it here.

Create a directory named terraform-docker-demo.

$ mkdir terraform-docker-demo && cd $_

Paste the following Terraform configuration into a file and name it

resource "docker_image" "nginx" {
  name         = "nginx:latest"
  keep_locally = false

resource "docker_container" "nginx" {
  image = docker_image.nginx.latest
  name  = "tutorial"
  ports {
    internal = 80
    external = 8000

Initialize the project, which downloads a plugin that allows Terraform to interact with Docker.

$ terraform init

Provision the NGINX server container with apply. When Terraform asks you to confirm type yes and press ENTER.

$ terraform apply

Verify the existence of the NGINX container by visiting localhost:8000 in your web browser or running docker ps to see the container.

NGINX running in Docker via Terraform

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                     COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                    NAMES
425d5ee58619        e791337790a6              "nginx -g 'daemon of…"   20 seconds ago      Up 19 seconds>80/tcp     tutorial

To stop the container, run terraform destroy.

$ terraform destroy

You've now provisioned and destroyed an NGINX webserver with Terraform.

»Next Steps

To create your first infrastructure in the cloud with Terraform, continue to the Build Infrastructure guide.