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On any new pull request or new commit to an existing pull request, Atlantis will attempt to run terraform plan in the directories it thinks hold modified Terraform projects.

The algorithm it uses is as follows:

  1. Get list of all modified files in pull request
  2. Filter to those containing .tf
  3. Get the directories that those files are in
  4. If the directory path doesn't contain modules/ then try to run plan in that directory
  5. If it does contain modules/ look at the directory one level above modules/. If it contains a run plan in that directory, otherwise ignore the change (see below for exceptions).


Given the directory structure:

├── modules
│   └── module1
│       └──
└── project1
    └── modules
        └── module1
  • If project1/ were modified, we would run plan in project1
  • If modules/module1/ were modified, we would not automatically run plan because we couldn't determine the location of the terraform project
    • You could use an atlantis.yaml file to specify which projects to plan when this module changed
    • You could enable module autoplanning which indexes projects to their local module dependencies.
    • Or you could manually plan with atlantis plan -d <dir>
  • If project1/modules/module1/ were modified, we would look one level above project1/modules into project1/, see that there was a file and so run plan in project1/

Bitbucket-Specific Notes

Bitbucket does not have a webhook that triggers only upon a new PR or commit. To fix this we cache the last commit to see if it has changed. If the cache is emptied, Atlantis will think your commit is new and you may see extra plans. This scenario can happen if:

  • Atlantis restarts
  • You are running multiple Atlantis instances behind a load balancer


If you would like to customize how Atlantis determines which directory to run in or disable it all together you need to create an atlantis.yaml file. See