Vagrantfile

The primary function of the Vagrantfile is to describe the type of machine required for a project, and how to configure and provision these machines. Vagrantfiles are called Vagrantfiles because the actual literal filename for the file is Vagrantfile (casing doesn't matter unless your file system is running in a strict case sensitive mode).

Vagrant is meant to run with one Vagrantfile per project, and the Vagrantfile is supposed to be committed to version control. This allows other developers involved in the project to check out the code, run vagrant up, and be on their way. Vagrantfiles are portable across every platform Vagrant supports.

The syntax of Vagrantfiles is Ruby, but knowledge of the Ruby programming language is not necessary to make modifications to the Vagrantfile, since it is mostly simple variable assignment. In fact, Ruby isn't even the most popular community Vagrant is used within, which should help show you that despite not having Ruby knowledge, people are very successful with Vagrant.

Lookup Path

When you run any vagrant command, Vagrant climbs up the directory tree looking for the first Vagrantfile it can find, starting first in the current directory. So if you run vagrant in /home/mitchellh/projects/foo, it will search the following paths in order for a Vagrantfile, until it finds one:

/home/mitchellh/projects/foo/Vagrantfile
/home/mitchellh/projects/Vagrantfile
/home/mitchellh/Vagrantfile
/home/Vagrantfile
/Vagrantfile

This feature lets you run vagrant from any directory in your project.

You can change the starting directory where Vagrant looks for a Vagrantfile by setting the VAGRANT_CWD environmental variable to some other path.

Load Order and Merging

An important concept to understand is how Vagrant loads Vagrantfiles. Vagrant actually loads a series of Vagrantfiles, merging the settings as it goes. This allows Vagrantfiles of varying level of specificity to override prior settings. Vagrantfiles are loaded in the order shown below. Note that if a Vagrantfile is not found at any step, Vagrant continues with the next step.

  1. Vagrantfile packaged with the box that is to be used for a given machine.
  2. Vagrantfile in your Vagrant home directory (defaults to ~/.vagrant.d). This lets you specify some defaults for your system user.
  3. Vagrantfile from the project directory. This is the Vagrantfile that you'll be modifying most of the time.
  4. Multi-machine overrides if any.
  5. Provider-specific overrides, if any.

At each level, settings set will be merged with previous values. What this exactly means depends on the setting. For most settings, this means that the newer setting overrides the older one. However, for things such as defining networks, the networks are actually appended to each other. By default, you should assume that settings will override each other. If the behavior is different, it will be noted in the relevant documentation section.

Within each Vagrantfile, you may specify multiple Vagrant.configure blocks. All configurations will be merged within a single Vagrantfile in the order they're defined.

Available Configuration Options

You can learn more about the available configuration options by clicking the relevant section in the left navigational area.