Terraform Beginner’s Guide : How to Install Terraform in Just Minutes

Are you a beginner and don’t know how to install Terraform but want to learn about it? If so, then you’ve landed in the right place. In this article, we’ll briefly discuss the ways to install Terraform on the various operating systems.

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that lets you create, change, and see infrastructure’s efficiency and safety.

It is only after installing Terraform that users can define and provide a data center infrastructure for different cloud providers using either JSON or Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL). Alot of operating systems support it. 

How to Download & Install Terraform on Windows vs Linux vs Mac?

When interacting with the supported services, Terraform, a command-line tool, uses APIs. Installing Terraform on your computer will enable you to manage your infrastructure in the cloud with all the necessary tools.

Let’s find out how we can install Terraform on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Steps to install Terraform on Windows

1. Download the File

  • Go to https://www.terraform.io/downloads.html to access the Terraform download page. There should be a list of Terraform downloads for different platforms. Go to the Windows section and download the appropriate version. 
  • Pick the binary you want to download. Choose AMD64 or 386, depending on whether your system is 32 or 64 bits. If the download does not begin automatically, choose where to save the zip file.
  • After downloading, unzip the file. Using C: as an example, use the Terraform path.  Consider a terraform path on C: Remember this to add the path to the environment variables.

2. Update Path Environment Variable

  • Click Edit system environment variables after typing environment into the start menu. The System Properties window opens.  
  • Click Environment Variables... from the menu.
  • To include Terraform for all accounts, choose the Path variable under System Variables. Alternatively, you can add Terraform for the user logged in only by choosing Path in the User variables section. After selecting a Path, click Edit.
  • In the edit window, select New, then type the path to the Terraform folder.
  • To make the changes, click OK on each window.

3. Verify if You Install Correct Version of Terraform 

  • Open a new command-prompt window.
  • To check the Terraform version, type this command: terraform -version

The output shows the Terraform version that you downloaded and set up on your Windows computer.

Steps to install Terraform on Mac

The Terraform binary can be downloaded and installed on Mac using either the official HashiCorp repository or the zipped file that holds it.

Let’s go over how to install Terraform on Mac. 

  • Create a folder for the Terraform executable after logging into the system.
  • Visit the new folder.
  • Copy the link to the mac Terraform zip file download from the Terraform.
  • Download the zip file from the folder you just made.
  • Unzip the Terraform files into the current directory.
  • Include Terraform in the PATH. To open and modify the bash_profile, use this command in the home folder.
  • On the opened file, insert these two lines:
    export PATH
  • To make the path changes effective, run the file.
  • After installing Terraform, check the version by launching

Steps to install Terraform on Linux

All environments have a binary distribution available. Let's download and install the most recent Linux version of it.

  • Obtain the download link from the Terraform website prior to beginning the installation.
  • Go to the appropriate OS version at https://www.terraform.io/downloads.html.
  • Get the download link and copy it.Use the following command to unzip the folder (ensure that you are in the right directory first): $ unzip terraform_0.12.26_linux_amd64.zip.
  • Use the command $ sudo mv terraform to move the extracted Terraform file to the /usr/local/bin/ directory.
  • Use the command $ terraform -v to check to see if the file has been moved and Terraform has been installed. If it returns the current version, the installation was successful.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Terraform?

Through the use of JSON, the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), or another declarative configuration language, users define and deliver the data center infrastructure.

It makes it possible to construct, modify, and upgrade infrastructure quickly and safely. It can oversee both unique in-house solutions and well-known, current service providers. Infrastructure is also provisioned for both public and private cloud platforms. 


The following are the advantages of Terraform:

  • Infrastructure as Code

    Infrastructure as code manages and provisions computer data centers using machine-readable definition files.

    Terraform gives you the ability to build, alter, and version your infrastructure using code-based techniques.

    You can set configuration files to specify your applications or infrastructure and store the current state of your infrastructure for later modification or updating.

  • Ecosystem

    Terraform has a larger and more active community thanks to the availability of numerous third-party providers, modules, and tools.

  • Flexibility

    Terraform is more adaptable and powerful than other infrastructure management tools because it allows users to define infrastructure in a more abstract and reusable manner.

  • Supports Cloud Service Providers

    It supports a wide range of well-liked service providers, such as Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud.


The following are the disadvantages of Terraform:

  • Inability to handle errors.

  • The infrastructure and the states must always work together.

  • If the user doesn't choose the alternative JSON-compatible syntax, HCL must be learned.

  • Renaming resources or moving them deeper into modules may be difficult for some users.

  • Terraform is only capable of managing resources that are tracked by Terraform state.

    As a result, Terraform state data must also be manually deleted if a resource was manually deleted.

    The "drift" of the terraform state could occur for a number of reasons, and fixing it might be difficult.  

What Are the Most Common Use Cases of Terraform?

When it comes to writing infrastructure as code, Terraform is a potent tool with a lot of advantages over the alternatives. Let's take a closer look at a few of Terraform's primary use cases.

  1. 1

    Custom Infrastructure as Code

    A provider is how Terraform wraps an existing API and transforms it into the declarative syntax of Terraform.

    However, the creation of providers is not restricted to open source use cases. Additionally, providers can be created for internal business needs, such as converting current tools or APIs into Terraform.

    Any API that allows for CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) operations can be wrapped in declarative code in the Terraform style, giving Terraform a lot of flexibility to support a variety of infrastructure configurations.

  2. 2

    Multi Cloud Deployments 

    One of Terraform's key differentiators from many of its direct competitors, such as CloudFormation, which only supports one cloud provider, is that it operates simultaneously across all cloud providers.

    If they can deploy resources across various cloud providers, software engineers won't need to learn a variety of tools and technologies and can use the same syntax and toolchain.

     Multi-cloud support can be advantageous in contract negotiations, allow businesses to benefit from specialized services.

    These services might only be provided by one cloud provider, and reduce the risks associated with having all cloud assets dependent on a single company.

  3. 3

    Public Cloud Provisioning 

    Terraform customers frequently use it for tasks such as public cloud provisioning on one of the major cloud providers. Terraform's primary focus has always been on providing infrastructure as code to these major cloud providers.

    Using these public clouds is made possible by Terraform using a feature called a provider. Similar to a plugin, a Terraform provider wraps an existing company's APIs to create declarative Terraform syntax. 

How to Get the Most Out of Terraform for Real-World Infrastructure Projects?

While using Terraform in a "Hello World" environment is simple to begin with, using it in real-world systems with multiple resources can be very difficult.


The following are some tips to follow if you want to get the most out of Terraform:

  • To divide environments, use Terraform workspaces.

  • Several smaller states are preferable to one large state.

  • Name your Terraform files logically.

  • Locals are often sufficient.


Terraform can transform a complete cloud infrastructure into configuration or code files. These files allow for quick and simple spinning up of the entire infrastructure.

A Hashicorp open source application created it. It is accessible to everyone and can be used to manage a cloud infrastructure that is hosted by any cloud provider. 

In this article, we walked readers through the process of how to install Terraform on Windows, Linux, and Mac. We hope this will help you in the installation process.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of ITCertificate.org

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