A Cloud Architect Company
Amazon Web Services

How to install Atlantis as Docker Container in Amazon Linux 3 and Integrate with GitHub?


Atlantis is an open-source project that integrates with Terraform an Infrastructure as a Code tool and connects with popular version control systems (VCS) like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket. It provides an automated workflow for managing infrastructure as code (IaC) using Terraform in a collaborative and controlled manner.

Atlantis will work like Terraform Cloud, to manage Terraform with VCS for an automated workflow. Since Terraform Cloud has raised its price for managing resources, Atlantis can install it on your machine and manage it your way.  You can integrate Atlantis with your VCS for example GitHub repo that has your terraform code. Once you have pushed your terraform code to GitHub and created a pull request, Atlantis triggers via webhook and gives you a plan details of your terraform code in the comment section of your GitHub pull request. Once you verify and approve, it will create resources and after completion, it will automatically merge the pull request.

One of the major uses of Atlantis is that if anyone is working on a terraform code and creates a plan, Atantis locks the terraform state file for that terraform code and it won’t allow any others to run the terraform plan against the same terraform code. This will help to prevent Terraform state files from becoming corrupt.

If you’re using Terraform and want to implement better collaboration and automation practices, Atlantis could be a valuable addition to your toolset.

In this demo, I will show you how to run the Atlatis server as a Docker container in an Amazon Linux 2 machine and How it works.

We also have this in video tutorial posted on our YouTube channel.


  • Amazon Linux 3 EC2 instance with 4000, 22 ports allowed.
  • Create a S3 bucket with versioning enabled. (this is for storing the tf state file because Atlantis won’t save the tf state file locally)
  • Create a private GitHub Repository where we are going to have the terraform scripts (if there is an existing repository you can use that too)

Generate Access Token in GitHub

Before we run the Atlantis server we need to create an App password to authenticate our Private Github repository from our Atlantis server.

So log in to your GitHub Account and Click on your Profile icon followed by Settings.

Github profile settings

Click on the Developer settings button.

Github Developer settings

Click Personal access tokens –> Tokens (classic)  –> Generate new token –> Generate new token (classic)

Github Personal access tokens

Enter a name for this token inside the Note option.

For Expiration,  Select any days to expire your token for your convenience. If you want your token not to expire, you can choose No expiration also.

Github Personal access tokens


Under the Select scopes, select repo and admin:repo_hook. Leave others as non-selected.

Github Personal access tokens

Scroll down to the bottom and click Generate token.

Github Personal access tokens

Now you can able to see a token like the below image. Copy that token and save it somewhere else.

Github Personal access tokens

Once you close this section you won’t be able to get this token again.

In case you have not saved the token and closed this page, then you should have to delete this token and create a new one.

Install Docker in Amazon Linux 3

Now we are going to install Docker in the EC2 server.

Open your AWS console, navigate to the EC2 page and select the EC2 server that you have created for Atlantis. Click on the Connect button.

AWS EC2 instance

Under the EC2 Instance Connect section,

Connection Type –> Connect using EC2 Instance Connect

Click the Connect button.

AWS EC2 instance connect

It will open a terminal of the EC2 instance.

Execute the following commands to install Docker in Amazon Linux 3.

sudo yum update -y
sudo yum search docker -y
sudo yum install docker -y
sudo systemctl enable docker.service
sudo systemctl start docker.service
sudo systemctl status docker.service

Install Docker Aws

Once the installation done, run the below command to check the version of the Docker.

docker --version

Docker version

Install the Atlantis Docker server

Now create a file called Dockerfile in the EC2 server.

Add the below lines inside the Dockerfile.

FROM ghcr.io/runatlantis/atlantis:latest

USER root
RUN apk add --no-cache aws-cli

RUN mkdir /home/atlantis/.aws
RUN touch /home/atlantis/.aws/credentials

RUN chown atlantis.atlantis /home/atlantis/ -R

Atlantis docker

Run the docker build command to build the Atlantis docker file.

docker build -t atlantis .

Atlantis docker

Run the docker images command to check the image of Atlantis.

Atlantis docker

Run the following command to run the Atlantis docker container. Change the following things with your values in the below code.

docker run -itd -p 4000:4141 --name atlantis atlantis server --automerge --autoplan-modules --gh-user=<github-account-username> --gh-token=<github-usr-access-token> --repo-allowlist=<list of allowed repos>

Before you run the above command, which will run the atlantis in local port 4000 change the following details with your values.

  • github-account-username : Your GitHub Account Username

  • github-usr-access-token : The token which you have created in the previous step

  • list of allowed repos: List of the repositories that you have your terraform codes. Accepts a comma-separated list, ex. github.com/username/repo1,github.com/username/repo2

--repo-allowlist='github.com/username/*' : If you add * for the repository section it will collect all the repos in your account.

Here is an example of the above command with a single repository;

docker run -itd -p 4000:4141 --name atlantis atlantis server --automerge --autoplan-modules --gh-user=jerinrathnam --gh-token=ghp_lj8nNeckni0N#C*54urnDBUCc0h3f#BFU --repo-allowlist=github.com/easydeploy-cloud/terraform-atlantis
Here is an example of the above command with a All repositories in a single GitHub account;
docker run -itd -p 4000:4141 --name atlantis atlantis server --automerge --autoplan-modules --gh-user=jerinrathnam --gh-token=nNeckni0N#C*54urnDBUCc0h3f#BFU --repo-allowlist=github.com/easydeploy-cloud/*

Once done run the following command to list the running docker containers.

docker ps

Atlantis docker

Now Copy the public IP of your EC2 instance and paste it into a browser with add 4000 and browse. It will open shows like the below image.

The Atlantis server runs successfully.

Alantis server

Configure AWS in Atlantis docker container

Open your AWS Console and navigate to the IAM page.

Navigate to Users and click Create User. For the User name, enter Atlantis or any name that you like. Then click on Next.


For permissions options, choose Attach policies directly.

For permissions policies, search for s3 and select AmazonS3FullAccess policy.

AWS IAM User Policy

Again search for ec2full and select AmazonEC2FullAccess policy. Then click on Next.

AWS IAM User Policy

Now just review the details and policies and click Create user.


Click on the name of the user and navigate to the Security credentials section.

Under Access keys click on Create access key.

AWS Access Key

For Use case select Command Line Interface(CLI), and select the confirmation and click Next.

AWS Access Key

Leave the Description tag and click on the Create access key.

AWS Access Key

Copy the both Access key and Secret Access key and save it somewhere else. We will use them later in this tutorial.

AWS Access Key

Run the following command in your EC2 server to get into the Atlantis docker container to configure the AWS.

docker exec -it atlantis /bin/sh

Inside the container run this command to edit the AWS credentials.

vi /home/atlantis/.aws/credentials

Add the below contents into the credentials file and save it.

aws_access_key_id = <ACCESS-KEY>
aws_secret_access_key = <SECRET-KEY>

Change the following values in the above code

  • ACCESS-KEY: Access key ID of the AWS IAM user

  • SECRET-KEY: Secret Access key ID of the AWS IAM user

Note: If you have many profiles you can make entries accordingly in the above file and use it in the Terraform

Configuring webhooks in GitHub Repository

Open your GitHub repository which you’re gonna use it your terraform code repo. Go to Settings –> webhooks –> Add webhook.

GitHub repo settings

  • Set Payload URL tohttp://$URL/events, where $URL is the Public IP of the EC2 instance where Atlantis is hosted. Be sure to add  /events

  • double-check you added /events to the end of your URL.

  • Set Content type to application/json.

  • Set Which event would you like to trigger this webhook? to Let me select individual events.

GitHub repo webhooks

only select the following things and leave others unchecked.

  • Issue comments
  • Pull request reviews
  • Pull requests
  • Pushes

GitHub repo webhooks

Make sure the Active is checked and Click Add webhook.

GitHub repo webhooks

Now as you can see the Webhook has been added successfully.

GitHub repo webhooks

Create a terraform code with S3 as the backend

Copy the Clone HTTPS URL of your GitHub repository.

GitHub repo CLone

Clone the GitHub repo in your local machine.

GitHub repo CLone

Open the cloned repository folder with VS code.

Create a new file called main.tf

Copy the below code and paste it in the main.tf file.

############ PROVIDER BLOCK ############
provider "aws" {
region = "<EC2-REGION>"
profile = "default"

############ SAVING TF STATE FILE #########
terraform {
backend "s3" {
bucket = "<S3-BUCKET>"
key = "atlantis/terraform.tfstate"
region = "<S3-REGION>"
profile = "default"

################# EC2 INSTANCE CREATION #########
data "aws_ami" "ubuntu" {
most_recent = true

filter {
name = "name"
values = ["ubuntu/images/hvm-ssd/ubuntu-focal-20.04-amd64-server-*"]

filter {
name = "virtualization-type"
values = ["hvm"]

owners = ["099720109477"] # Canonical

resource "aws_instance" "web" {
ami = data.aws_ami.ubuntu.id
instance_type = "t2.micro"

tags = {
Name = "terraform-atlantis"

Change the following values in the above code:

  • EC2-REGION: the region where the resource needs to be created.

  • S3-BUCKET: Name of the S3 bucket for terraform S3 backend. This bucket should be created before you get into this tutorial.

  • S3-REGION: The region name where the S3 bucket is present.

Terraform script EC2

Open the terminal in the same folder and run the following commands to push the terraform script to the GitHub repository.

git add *
git commit -m "Create EC2 Instance"
git checkout -b develop
git push origin develop

GitHub push

To verify this Go to the repository page in the browser and switch to develop branch and you can see the main.tf file is present in the develop branch.

GitHub push

Test the Terraform Atlantis workflow

Under the Pull requests section, Create a pull request by clicking New pull request.

GitHub pull request

Make sure the compare branch is develop.

Click on Create pull request.

GitHub pull request

Add a title for your pull request and Click the Create pull request button.

GitHub pull request

After a couple of seconds, it will write a command like Show Output. Expand the output to see the detials.

Atlantis terraform plan

It will show the terraform plan details of what services are going to be created. Every time you create a pull request it shows a planned output of the terraform. You should verify that to know about what exactly is gonna happen.

Atlantis terraform plan

Once you have verified the planned output,  Add a comment in that pull request with the following command.

atlantis apply -d .

Then click on the Comment button.

Atlantis apply

Once you have added the apply comment, Atlantis will execute terraform apply to create resources.

Atlantis apply

If the resource creation in completed successfully, Atlantis will merge the Pull request automatically.

Atlantis apply merged

To verify that Atlantis created resources successfully open your AWS console and go to the EC2 section. You can able to see the new EC2 instance will be created by the Atlantis server that you mentioned in Terraform.

aws ec2 instance

Navigate to the AWS S3 console and open your S3 bucket which you have configured your terraform S3 backend.

You can find a state file created in the S3 bucket as terraform.tfstate.

atlantis s3 backend


From this demo, you will learn about what is Atlantis and how it works with Terraform to manage the workflow of managing cloud resources with Version control systems.

One of the major uses of Atlantis is It will lock the state file while a pull request uses it. this feature will enable the security to prevent multiple users from using the same state file and getting it collapsed.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned a new and exciting tool. See you soon with another tutorial. Happy learning!

Article written by:

Jerin Rathnam is a proficient DevOps engineer who is dedicated to streamlining software development and deployment processes. He has extensive knowledge of cloud infrastructure, containerization, and CI/CD pipelines, which enables him to effectively connect development and operations. Jerin specializes in creating numerous Terraform modules for multi-cloud infrastructure and possesses immense expertise in configuring and managing cloud infrastructure. His profound understanding of containerization, along with his experience in orchestration tools like Docker and Kubernetes, further supports his skills as a valuable DevOps engineer.

Join the discussion

  1. hareesh

    hi when i run container from the given Dockerfile ,container exists and not running up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

back to top

Contact Us to save your AWS bill by 40%