Ansible Pilot

Ansible troubleshooting - Error internal-error

How to Solve the Ansible Error internal-error Dealing with Ansible's Internal Errors

November 4, 2023
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In the world of automation and configuration management, Ansible shines as a powerful tool that simplifies the management of IT infrastructure. It allows users to define and execute tasks, known as playbooks, that automate various aspects of system administration. However, like any software, Ansible isn’t immune to errors.

One particularly challenging category of errors is the so-called “internal-error.” These errors can be caused by internal bugs within Ansible or by custom rules set by users. They might leave you scratching your head, wondering what went wrong. This article delves into internal errors, how to handle them, and provides insights into common scenarios.

The Nature of Internal Errors

Internal errors in Ansible can be frustrating to troubleshoot. They are not always straightforward, and they can result from various sources. Here are some key points to understand:

Problematic Code

In the provided code examples, we have an Ansible playbook, and we’ll break down the problematic code and the correct code, along with an associated error message:

- name: Some title {{ # <-- Ansible will not load this invalid Jinja template
  hosts: all
  tasks: []

In this scenario, the internal error occurs because of an invalid Jinja template ({{)within the playbook. It prevents the playbook from loading and executing correctly.

In the problematic code, there is an issue with the Jinja template. The code includes an invalid Jinja template, indicated by {{ # <--, which is not properly closed. Jinja templates in Ansible should always have opening and closing braces, but this template lacks a proper closing brace. As a result, Ansible won’t be able to load this invalid template correctly.

Ansible Lint Output

WARNING  Listing 1 violation(s) that are fatal
internal-error: Unexpected error code 1 from execution of: ansible-playbook -i localhost, --syntax-check internal-error.yml
internal-error.yml:1 ERROR! template error while templating string: unexpected 'end of template'. String: Some title {{. unexpected 'end of template'

Read documentation for instructions on how to ignore specific rule violations.

              Rule Violation Summary               
 count tag            profile rule associated tags 
     1 internal-error min     core                 

Failed: 1 failure(s), 0 warning(s) on 1 files.

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Correct Code

- name: Some title
  hosts: all
  tasks: []

In the corrected code, the Jinja template issue has been resolved. The template is removed, and the playbook is now written correctly.

Associated Error Message

ERROR! No hosts matched the subscripted pattern

The error message shown here indicates that Ansible encountered a problem while trying to index a host group variable. Specifically, it’s complaining that there are no hosts matching the subscripted pattern. This typically occurs when you try to access a specific element within a host group that doesn’t exist.


In the problematic code, Ansible encounters an invalid Jinja template, which causes issues during playbook execution. The correct code eliminates this problem by removing the invalid template.

The associated error message further clarifies that there is a problem with indexing a host group variable, which suggests an attempt to access an element that doesn’t exist. To avoid this error and make your code more resilient, it’s recommended to use safe fallbacks in your playbooks. This ensures that even if the index is beyond the size of the host group, your code won’t produce runtime errors.

Handling Internal Errors

Dealing with internal errors can be challenging, but there are a few strategies that can help:


Internal errors in Ansible can be mysterious and frustrating, but they offer valuable insights into your playbooks and rules. Understanding their nature and using the strategies mentioned above can help you navigate and resolve these issues effectively. As you continue to work with Ansible, embracing these challenges will make you a more skilled and adaptable automation engineer.

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