Install Packer

Packer must first be installed on the machine you want to run it on. To make installation easy, Packer is distributed as a binary package for all supported platforms and architectures. This page will not cover how to compile Packer from source, as that is covered in the README and is only recommended for advanced users.

Installing Packer

To install packer, first find the appropriate package for your system and download it. Packer is packaged as a "zip" file.

Next, unzip the downloaded package into a directory where Packer will be installed. On Unix systems, ~/packer or /usr/local/packer is generally good, depending on whether you want to restrict the install to just your user or install it system-wide. On Windows systems, you can put it wherever you'd like.

After unzipping the package, the directory should contain a single binary program called packer. The final step to installation is to make sure the directory you installed Packer to is on the PATH. See this page for instructions on setting the PATH on Linux and Mac. This page contains instructions for setting the PATH on Windows.

Verifying the Installation

After installing Packer, verify the installation worked by opening a new command prompt or console, and checking that packer is available:

$ packer
usage: packer [--version] [--help] <command> [<args>]

Available commands are:
    build       build image(s) from template
    fix         fixes templates from old versions of packer
    inspect     see components of a template
    push        push template files to a Packer build service
    validate    check that a template is valid
    version     Prints the Packer version

If you get an error that packer could not be found, then your PATH environment variable was not setup properly. Please go back and ensure that your PATH variable contains the directory which has Packer installed.

Otherwise, Packer is installed and you're ready to go!

Alternative Installation Methods

While the binary packages is the only official method of installation, there are alternatives available.


If you're using OS X and Homebrew, you can install Packer by running:

$ brew install packer


If you're using Windows and Chocolatey, you can install Packer by running:

choco install packer


On some RedHat-based Linux distributions there is another tool named packer installed by default. You can check for this using which -a packer. If you get an error like this it indicates there is a name conflict.

$ packer
/usr/share/cracklib/pw_dict.pwd: Permission denied
/usr/share/cracklib/pw_dict: Permission denied

To fix this, you can create a symlink to packer that uses a different name like, or invoke the packer binary you want using its absolute path, e.g. /usr/local/packer.