Installing Terraform on Ubuntu

Welcome to an ongoing series of Terraform tips, tricks, and tutorials. On this journey we are going to look at what it takes to use Terraform to manage resources running in VMware, Azure, AWS, and Google cloud. We will look at the differences between running Terraform on Linux and Windows and show examples of both. The assumption is that you know what Terraform is and just need to know how to do things with it. In a previous blog, we discussed how to install Terraform on Windows. In this blog we will look at installing Terraform on an Ubuntu 18 server.

For these examples we will use a VMware generic deployed instance so that we can go back to the same system and build upon the previous posting of how to do something. For this example we install a generic Ubuntu 18.04.5 desktop instance. We could just as easily have done this from a server instance and done everything from the command line using wget to get the Terraform binary.

Rather than using the wget command and having to figure out which version of Terraform to download we use the Firefox browser and go to to download the binary.

If you forget the Terraform website you can easily do a search for the term terraform download ubuntu which returns a variety of tutorials and the HashiCorp Terraform site. Scrolling down on the site we see a variety of operating systems that are supported for the Terraform platform. Select the Linux 64-bit from the list to download.

Once the download is finished we need to unzip the binary from the zip file. Prior to unzipping the file we need to install the unzip package. This is done on Ubuntu with the apt-get command

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install wget unzip

The update command makes sure that all patches and updates are installed. The install command makes sure that the wget (which is not necessary for this example) and unzip are installed. Once the unzip command is installed execute the unzip command to extract the terraform binary.


The askubuntu website has a good cookbook on how to perform this installation and testing of the binaries.

The last step to getting Terraform installed on Ubuntu is to place the terraform binary in the path of the current user. Rather than placing this in a user specific bin directory it is best practice to put binaries like this in /usr/local/bin to be used by automation scripts and other users on this system. We can either copy or move the binary to this location using the sudo command to write to a root protected directory.

sudo mv terraform /usr/local/bin

Once the binary is relocated we can test the terraform binary by typing

terraform version


These commands not only test the binary but test that the binary is in the proper path to be executed.

At this point we have a terraform development platform that can be used to provision systems and services on a wide variety of cloud and virtualization platforms. To see this process in action, watch a video capture of this procedure.

In summary, installation of Terraform on Ubuntu is relatively simple. The three minute video shows everything required from start to finish to get a Terraform platform configured to be used from a terminal.

some additional blogs for a different perspective