Ansible Pilot

Create user account - Ansible module user

How to create an example user with home directory, groups, password, and SSH key file with Ansible Playbook.

August 26, 2021
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How to create a user account with Ansible?

I’m going to show you a live demo with some simple Ansible code. I’m Luca Berton and welcome to today’s episode of Ansible Pilot.

Ansible create a user account

Today we’re talking about Ansible module user. The full name is ansible.builtin.user, which means that is part of the collection of modules “builtin” with ansible and shipped with it. It’s a module pretty stable and out for years. It manages user accounts. It supports a huge variety of Linux distributions, SunOS and macOS, and FreeBSD. This module uses Linux distributions useradd tool to create, on FreeBSD, this module uses pw useradd, On macOS, this module uses dscl create. For Windows, use the ansible.windows.win_user module instead.

Main Parameters

This module has some parameters to perform some tasks. The only required is “name”, which is the username. The “state” parameter allows us to create or delete a user, in our use case the default it’s already set to “present” to create a user. “password” is very often used in conjunction with the passhword_hash filter to generate a password. Please note that you could specify the encryption algorithm as well as the salt to make your password more robust. We could specify all the usual Unix properties such as like uid, comment, shell, expires, password_expire_min, password_expire_max. Other important parameters are “group” and “groups”. The first (without the “s” ending) indicate the primary group of the user, the second (with the “s” ending) set the other group members. So be very careful with the “s” ending, it could end up in a very different setup. Usually, we would like to create a user home directory so the “create_home” parameter defaults to yes, but we could override if we don’t need a home directory. Let me also highlight that we could also generate an SSH key with a lot of options. The fingerprint and the public key are available in the long list of returned values.

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Let’s jump in a real-life Ansible Playbook to create a user.

---
- name: user module demo
  hosts: all
  become: true
  tasks:
    - name: user example present
      ansible.builtin.user:
        name: example
        password: "{{ 'password' | password_hash('sha512', 'mysecretsalt') }}"
        groups:
          - wheel
          - adm
        state: "present"
        shell: "/bin/bash"
        system: false
        create_home: true
        home: "/home/example"
        comment: "Ansible example"
        generate_ssh_key: true

code with ❤️ in GitHub

Recap

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