Template Conditionals and Loops in Ansible

Conditionals and loops are powerful constructs in Ansible templates that allow you to control the flow of your templates and iterate over data structures. With template conditionals, you can apply logic to generate content based on specific conditions. Loops, on the other hand, enable you to iterate over lists, dictionaries, and other data structures to generate repetitive content. In this tutorial, we will explore how to use conditionals and loops in Ansible templates.

Introduction to Template Conditionals and Loops

Template conditionals and loops are based on the Jinja2 templating engine, which provides a rich set of constructs to handle conditional statements and iterate over data. Conditionals allow you to include or exclude content based on certain conditions, while loops enable you to repeat content for multiple iterations.

Let's take a look at an example of using conditionals and loops in an Ansible template:

{% for item in items %}
  {% if item.enabled %}
    {{ item.name }} is enabled.
  {% else %}
    {{ item.name }} is disabled.
  {% endif %}
{% endfor %}

In this example, the template iterates over a list of items and checks if each item is enabled or disabled. Based on the condition, it generates a message indicating the status of each item.

Using Template Conditionals and Loops

Here are the steps to use conditionals and loops in Ansible templates:

1. Define Variables

Ensure that you have the necessary variables defined in your playbook or inventory file. These variables will be used in your template conditionals and loops.

2. Use Conditionals

Use the {% if %} and {% else %} tags to apply conditional logic in your templates. You can use comparison operators, logical operators, and other Jinja2 features to create complex conditions.

3. Iterate with Loops

Use the {% for %} and {% endfor %} tags to define a loop in your template. Iterate over lists, dictionaries, or other data structures to access and process the elements. Within the loop, you can apply conditionals or access specific attributes of the iterated items.

4. Generate Content

Based on the conditionals and loops, generate the desired content within your template. You can use template variables and Jinja2 tags to dynamically render content based on the condition or iteration.

Common Mistakes with Template Conditionals and Loops

  • Missing or incorrect syntax for conditional statements or loop definitions.
  • Not properly identifying the correct variable or attribute within the condition or loop.
  • Forgetting to close the loop with the {% endfor %} tag, resulting in syntax errors.
  • Using complex or nested conditionals and loops that make the template hard to understand and maintain.
  • Not handling cases where the variable or attribute being accessed is undefined, leading to errors.

FAQs about Template Conditionals and Loops in Ansible

  1. Q: Can I nest conditionals or loops within each other?

    A: Yes, you can nest conditionals or loops within each other in Ansible templates. However, it's important to keep the nesting level manageable to maintain readability and avoid complexity.

  2. Q: Can I apply multiple conditions within a single conditional statement?

    A: Yes, you can use logical operators like and and or to combine multiple conditions within a single conditional statement.

  3. Q: Can I access loop metadata within a loop?

    A: Yes, Ansible provides loop metadata that you can access within a loop using the loop keyword. Loop metadata includes information such as the current index, iteration number, and loop length.


Template conditionals and loops are powerful features in Ansible that allow you to add logic and iteration to your templates. By understanding the syntax and best practices for using conditionals and loops, you can create dynamic templates that generate content based on specific conditions or iterate over data structures. These constructs enhance the flexibility and versatility of your Ansible templates, enabling you to automate complex configurations and deployments effectively.