Ansible version 2.1

I have an inventory file hosts


And a simple playbook site.yml

- hosts: all
    - include: tasks/main.yml

If I just start the play,

ansible-playbook -i hosts site.yml -vvvv

I get this error for all hosts,

fatal: [host1]: UNREACHABLE! => {"changed": false, "msg": "Failed to connect to the host via ssh.", "unreachable": true}

However, reading Ansible Inventory doc, I added ansible_user to the hosts file,

host1    ansible_user=root
host2    ansible_user=root

This solves the SSH CONNECTION UNREACHABLE error. However, do I have to add ansible_user=root next to all the hosts? Or is there a simpler way to do this?


Check the example/default ansible.cfg file, and you'll find this:

# default user to use for playbooks if user is not specified
# (/usr/bin/ansible will use current user as default)
#remote_user = root

Uncomment remote_user and set the user to what you want to log in as.

Where does Ansible get ansible.cfg? The same file explains:

# nearly all parameters can be overridden in ansible-playbook 
# or with command line flags. ansible will read ANSIBLE_CONFIG,
# ansible.cfg in the current working directory, .ansible.cfg in
# the home directory or /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg, whichever it
# finds first
  • Thanks @Deltik, would you be able to answer this one as well? – Howard Lee May 27 '16 at 20:28
  • @HowardLee: Your other question is primarily opinion-based and not a good fit for Super User. – Deltik May 27 '16 at 20:54

Another way is to use --user to define remote ssh user. Type ansible-playbook --help to read more. This is my typical command:

ansible-playbook -i hosts site.yml --user <user> --ask-pass -vvvv

--ask-pass will prompt to enter password for --user


In addition to modifying the ansible.cfg, u can also define variables for 'all' group or other groups


ansible_user = root
ansible_port = 22

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