Conditionals and Loops - Ansible Tutorial

Welcome to the tutorial on conditionals and loops in Ansible. Conditionals and loops are powerful features that allow you to add flexibility and control flow to your playbooks. In this tutorial, we will explore how to use conditionals and loops effectively in Ansible to handle different scenarios and automate complex tasks.

Introduction to Conditionals and Loops

In Ansible, conditionals and loops are used to make decisions and repeat tasks based on certain conditions. Conditionals allow you to execute specific tasks or skip them based on the evaluation of a condition. Loops, on the other hand, enable you to iterate over a set of values or elements and perform tasks repeatedly. These features are essential for handling dynamic environments and making your playbooks more adaptable.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to effectively use conditionals and loops in Ansible:

Step 1: Using Conditionals

To use conditionals in Ansible, you can utilize the `when` keyword within tasks. The `when` keyword takes a condition as its value, which can be expressed using comparison operators, logical operators, or variables. Tasks with conditions will only execute when the condition evaluates to true.

Here's an example of a conditional task:

- name: Restart Apache
    name: apache2
    state: restarted
  when: ansible_os_family == 'Debian'

Step 2: Implementing Loops

Loops in Ansible allow you to iterate over a list, dictionary, or range of values and perform tasks repeatedly. The `loop` keyword is used within tasks to define the looping behavior. You can access the current iteration's value using the `item` variable.

Here's an example of a task using a loop:

- name: Install multiple packages
    name: "{{ item }}"
    state: present
    - package1
    - package2
    - package3

Common Mistakes

  • Missing proper syntax or using incorrect operators in conditionals.
  • Forgetting to include loop variables like `item` when working with loops.
  • Not properly indenting tasks within conditionals or loops.
  • Using complex conditionals or loops unnecessarily, leading to decreased readability.
  • Not evaluating conditions correctly, leading to unexpected behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q: Can I use multiple conditions in a task?
    A: Yes, you can use logical operators like `and`, `or`, and `not` to combine multiple conditions in a task.
  2. Q: How do I break out of a loop in Ansible?
    A: Ansible does not provide a direct way to break out of a loop. However, you can use the `when` keyword with a condition to skip further iterations based on a specific condition.
  3. Q: Can I use conditionals or loops in roles?
    A: Yes, conditionals and loops can be used in Ansible roles to add flexibility and control flow to role tasks.


Conditionals and loops are essential features in Ansible that provide flexibility and control flow to your playbooks. In this tutorial, we discussed the concept of conditionals and loops, their importance, and how to effectively use them within tasks. We provided a step-by-step guide on using conditionals and implementing loops. Additionally, we highlighted common mistakes to avoid and answered frequently asked questions. By mastering conditionals and loops, you can create more dynamic and adaptable Ansible playbooks to automate your infrastructure with ease.