Building from the Ground Up: Installing Ansible from Scratch Made Easy


Ansible is an open-source platform used for system automation, configuration management and application deployment. It was first released in 2012 and has since gained popularity among developers and IT professionals.

Ansible is designed to make complex tasks simple by eliminating the need for manual intervention and enabling faster delivery of services. The platform offers several benefits to its users, including easy installation, efficient configuration management, and scalability.

Ansible’s automation features are designed to save time and increase productivity while reducing the risk of error that comes with manual intervention. The platform’s ability to manage complex systems with ease makes it an essential tool for software development teams looking to improve their deployment process.

Why Install Ansible from Scratch?

While many organizations may choose to use pre-installed versions of Ansible, installing it from scratch provides several advantages. Firstly, a custom installation allows you to configure your environment based on your specific needs. This ensures that only the necessary packages are installed while avoiding any unnecessary dependencies or conflicts with other software.

Secondly, installing from scratch ensures that you have complete control over your install without relying on third-party repositories or package managers. This enables you to maintain consistency across multiple environments while also providing flexibility in case changes are needed.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to install Ansible from scratch on both Linux and Windows operating systems. We will cover everything from basic installation requirements such as system prerequisites, choosing the right installation method based on your system configuration all the way through advanced topics such as customizing your installation with additional modules and plugins.

Understanding the Basics of Ansible Installation

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of installing Ansible, it’s important to understand what Ansible is and what benefits it offers. In short, Ansible is an open-source automation tool that simplifies the configuration management, application deployment, and task automation processes. Ansible works by connecting to your hosts via SSH or Windows Remote Management (WinRM) and executing commands or running scripts over these connections.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what Ansible is let’s get into the installation process. Before installing Ansible on your system, make sure you meet the necessary system requirements and prerequisites.

First off, your system needs to have Python 2 (version 2.6 or later) or Python 3 (version 3.5 or later) installed. Additionally, you need to have SSH connectivity enabled on all remote hosts if you’re going to use SSH as a transport method for executing commands.

System requirements and prerequisites for installing Ansible

If you’re going to use Linux as your operating system for running Ansible playbooks, make sure that you have some other prerequisite packages installed such as paramiko (Python library), PyYAML (Python library), Jinja2 (Python library), Python-bcrypt (Python library). However, if you’re going to run Windows as your operating system for executing playbooks ensure PowerShell 3.0 or higher is installed on all Windows hosts.

In addition to these basics requirements mentioned above here are some additional specifications:

  • At least 1 GB memory per host in inventory file
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1+ OS
  • RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux/Amazon Linux – version 6.x+, 7.x+, or 8.x+
  • Debian/Ubuntu – version 16.04LTS, 18.04LTS, or 20.04LTS

Choosing the right installation method based on your system configuration

There are multiple ways to install Ansible on your system depending on your operating system and preferences. For example, if you’re running a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu, you can install Ansible using the official repository by running the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update $ sudo apt-get install ansible 

If you’re using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or CentOS, you can use the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository to install Ansible. Check out the official documentation for detailed instructions on how to set up these repositories.

On Windows, there are a couple of options available for installing Ansible. You can either use Cygwin or a virtual machine with Linux installed to run Ansible commands or alternatively, you can use PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) to manage Windows hosts directly.

Installing Ansible on Linux Operating Systems

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Ansible on Popular Linux Distributions

Ansible is designed to work well on a wide variety of Linux distributions, including popular ones like Ubuntu, CentOS, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The installation process is similar across those distributions.

Here are the steps you need to follow: 1. First, update your package manager by running the following command: “`

sudo apt-get update “` This will make sure that you have the latest version of the package manager.

2. Next, install Ansible by running this command: “` sudo apt-get install ansible “`

This will download and install Ansible along with any dependencies it requires. 3. Once the installation is complete, verify that you have installed it correctly by checking its version: “`

ansible –version “` This should display the version number of your installed Ansible.

Troubleshooting Common Installation Issues

As with any software installation, there can be issues that arise during installation or after implementation. Here are some common issues that may arise during the installation process and how to troubleshoot them: 1. Permission Errors: If you do not have sufficient permissions to perform an action or access a certain file or folder during installation or operation of Ansible, you may receive a permission error message.

You can deal with this issue by either running commands using sudo permissions or modifying file/folder permissions for your user. 2. Broken Dependencies: Sometimes installing packages via package managers like apt-get can lead to broken dependencies if another package required by Ansible isn’t installed properly.

You can try fixing it using this command: “` sudo apt –fix-broken install “`

However if that doesn’t work then try removing dependency packages manually before reinstalling again. 3. Version Conflicts: Other times, installation issues occur due to version conflicts with other software already installed on the system.

In this case, you can try installing ansible in a virtual environment like Python’s `virtualenv` to avoid conflicts or look into various workarounds depending on the specifics of your issue. By being aware of these potential issues and following the troubleshooting steps, you should be able to successfully install Ansible on your Linux system.

Installing Ansible on Windows Operating Systems

The Challenge of Installing Ansible on Windows

While Ansible is mainly designed to run on Linux operating systems, it can be installed and used effectively on Windows machines as well. However, installing and configuring Ansible on Windows can be challenging due to the fundamental differences between the two operating systems.

In this section, we will discuss the various methods for installing Ansible on Windows machines, including Cygwin and virtual machines. We will also provide detailed instructions with screenshots to guide you through each installation process.

Method 1: Using Cygwin

Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows that allows you to run Linux tools and applications on your Windows machine. It provides a terminal emulator that allows you to interact with the Linux command-line interface (CLI) directly from your Windows desktop. This method involves installing Cygwin and then using it to install and configure Ansible.

To install Ansible using Cygwin, first download the latest version of Cygwin setup.exe from their website. Once downloaded, launch setup.exe and select “Install from Internet” option.

Follow the prompts in the installer until you reach “Select Packages” screen. On this screen type ansible in search bar which shows up relevant packages for ansible needs or scroll down through package list until you find package named “ansible” under category “Python”.

Check python-ansible check box in order to select package for installation along with other dependencies of ansible like python-pip or git-core. Once done click Next button at bottom right corner of window which leads you to next screen where installation starts by clicking Install button at bottom right corner again.

Method 2: Using Virtual Machines

Another way of installing Ansible on Windows is by running a virtual machine (VM) that runs a Linux operating system. This method involves installing a virtualization software on your Windows machine, such as VirtualBox or VMware Workstation Player, and then installing a Linux-based VM on top of it. To install Ansible using this method, first download and install your preferred virtualization software.

After installation, download and install a Linux distribution of your choice onto the VM. Once the Linux-based VM is running, you can then install Ansible onto it by following the same process as you would for a Linux machine.


Installing Ansible on Windows machines can be challenging but not impossible. We discussed two popular methods for installing Ansible on Windows: using Cygwin or setting up a virtual machine with a Linux distribution installed. Both methods require some technical knowledge and effort, but once installed correctly, Ansible can run smoothly on Windows machines just like it does on Linux systems.

Configuring and Testing Your Ansible Installation

Setting up your inventory file and configuring your hosts

After installing Ansible, you need to configure it correctly for it to work effectively. The first step in this process is setting up the inventory file.

The inventory file outlines the hosts that Ansible is managing. To set up the inventory file, create a text file called “inventory” in which you will list all your managed hosts.

You can also use dynamic inventories if you have a large number of hosts. Once you have created your inventory file, you need to configure your hosts properly for Ansible to manage them effectively.

The configuration involves installing Python on each host and adding SSH keys for secure communication between the control node and managed nodes. This process can be automated using playbooks which are discussed later in this article.

Running test commands to ensure successful installation

After setting up your inventory file and configuring your hosts correctly, it’s essential to test whether everything is working well before creating more complex playbooks. To do this, run a simple command such as `ansible all -m ping` which pings all the managed nodes listed in the inventory to check if they are reachable. If all goes well, you should get a `pong` response from each of them, indicating successful communication between the control node and managed nodes.

If there are any issues with connectivity or configuration settings on either end, this step should help identify them so that they can be resolved before proceeding with more extensive Ansible automation tasks. Testing commands like these will help you debug any issues before attempting more complex playbooks that may cause irreversible damage if not executed correctly due to faulty installation or configuration settings.

Advanced Topics in Ansible Installation

Customizing your installation with additional modules and plugins

As your experience with Ansible grows, you may find that the default installation is not enough to meet all of your needs. Luckily, Ansible offers an extensive library of modules and plugins that can be installed to enhance its functionality. These include community-contributed modules, as well as custom modules that can be written according to specific requirements.

To install additional modules and plugins, you can use the “ansible-galaxy” command-line tool. This tool allows you to browse and download various available modules from the official Ansible Galaxy repository.

Additionally, you can also create your own custom module repositories using GitHub or GitLab. Once installed, these new modules and plugins will be automatically detected by Ansible.

One example of a popular plugin is the “ansible-vault,” which provides encryption capabilities for sensitive data within playbooks. Another useful module is “ansible-doc,” which generates documentation for all available Ansible modules.

Tips for managing multiple versions of Ansible

It’s not uncommon for developers to work on several different projects at once, each one requiring different versions of Ansible. To manage multiple installations without affecting each other, it’s important to isolate them from each other.

One method is through virtual environments using tools like Virtualenv or Conda. These tools create isolated Python environments with their own set of libraries including an isolated version of Python itself.

Installing different versions of Ansible into separate virtual environments ensures that they do not interfere with each other. Another option is through containerization using Docker or Kubernetes allowing developers to create isolated instances where different versions of software including ansible can run independently without interfering with each other.

When running multiple versions on a single machine still seems unavoidable use the ‘–version’ flag when executing commands via terminal specifying which version you wish to run. Additionally, renaming all the ansible executables and libraries with version numbers is another option.


Installing Ansible from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but our comprehensive guide has hopefully made it a breeze for you. We have covered the basics of installation and configuration, as well as advanced topics to optimize your Ansible experience.

Here are the key takeaways from this article:

  • The benefits of installing Ansible from scratch include customization options and control over version updates.
  • Understanding system requirements and choosing the right installation method is crucial for successful implementation.
  • Step-by-step guides were provided for both Linux and Windows operating systems with troubleshooting tips.
  • Advanced topics such as customizing your installation and managing multiple versions were explored.

We hope that this guide has encouraged you to explore further resources to continue learning about using and optimizing your installed version of Ansible. With its vast capabilities in automating IT processes, mastering Ansible can greatly enhance efficiency in any organization’s daily operations. Start experimenting with Ansible today!

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