Terraform is a tool that creates a single provisioned interface for several different cloud-based services. It’s sometimes referred to as “infrastructure as code,” because it uses a configuration file to manage resources.

In this tutorial, learn how to install Terraform on an Ubuntu 18.04 or CentOS 7 Linux system.

how to install terraform on centos and ubuntu


  • A user account with sudo privileges
  • A terminal window/command line (Ctrl-Alt-T or Ctrl-Alt-F2)

How to Install Terraform on Ubuntu 18.04

First, update the repository lists:

sudo apt-get update

If your system does not have the wget and unzip utilities, use the following to install them:

sudo apt-get install wget unzip

Use the wget utility to download Terraform:

sudo wget

This is an example of the output:

wget download screenshot after downloading

Once the download finishes, extract the files:

sudo unzip ./ –d /usr/local/bin

Next, verify that Terraform accepts commands:

terraform –v

This should display Terraform v.0.12.2.

How to Install Terraform on CentOS 7

To install Terraform on CentOS, start by updating the repository lists:

sudo yum update

You’ll need wget and unzip – if you don’t have them, install them by entering:

sudo yum install wget unzip

Download Terraform from the developer’s website:

sudo wget

Extract the downloaded file:

sudo unzip ./ –d /usr/local/bin

The output confirms that the files are now located in the /usr/local/bin directory.

output showing /usr/local/bin directory

Lastly, verify that Terraform accepts commands:

terraform –v

The system should display Terraform v.0.12.2.

Terraform version v.0.12.2. installed screen

Note: At the time this article was written, the latest version is Terraform 0.12.2. For a later version or a 32-bit version, please see the developer’s download page.

Basic Terraform Usage Tutorial

Terraform is a tool to manage infrastructure. That typically means providing access to cloud services like Azure, Amazon Web Services, and so forth. This tutorial will use AWS as an example.

Create a Directory and Configuration File

Enter the following:

mkdir sample
cd sample

Terraform uses a .tf configuration file. Create and edit one by entering:

sudo nano

Enter the following:

provider "aws" {
  region     = "us-west-2"
  access_key = "access_key"
  secret_key = "secret_key"

Replace access_key and secret_key with your own AWS keys.

How to Initialize Terraform

To initialize terraform, enter the following:

terraform init

Terraform will create its own working directory. Because we specified AWS, it will automatically download the AWS provider information to the .terraform directory.

example of terraform working direectory

At this point, if you have an actual AWS account, you can add those instructions to Terraform. Use a text editor (like nano) to edit the file and configure your system.

Create a Terraform Plan

You can create a test plan without actually connecting to the AWS service. This is helpful to get a feel for how Terraform works. Enter the following:

terraform plan

The system will display an overview of the provisioning it intends to create based on the data in the file.

overview of terraform provisioning

Please refer to the documentation for specific entries in this file.

NOTE: Terraform can be configured to grant access to multiple cloud providers all at once. Just use your terraform .tf file to specify each one to include. This creates a simple and centralized method for granting user access to a custom corporate infrastructure.

Connect Terraform to AWS Services

This step implements the plan that was created in the previous step. With the proper data, this will connect to Amazon Web Services using the data in your file. Enter the following:

terraform apply

The system will tell you what will be created, then prompt you to type yes.

After a few moments, an AWS instance will be running. You may check your AWS console, and verify the instance. You can also change the plan by editing the file. When you run the terraform apply function, it will update the cloud infrastructure.

Destroy the AWS Instance

To remove all the provisioning that was created, enter the following:

terraform destroy

The system will list the actions taken, and prompt you to enter yes to confirm.


In this guide, we covered how to install Terraform on CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 18.04. We also covered making a template file, connecting to AWS services, and destroying instance on AWS.