Conftest Policy Checking

Atlantis supports running server-side conftest policies against the plan output. Common usecases for using this step include:

  • Denying usage of a list of modules
  • Asserting attributes of a resource at creation time
  • Catching unintentional resource deletions
  • Preventing security risks (ie. exposing secure ports to the public)

How it works?

Enabling "policy checking" in addition to the mergeable apply requirement blocks applies on plans that fail any of the defined conftest policies.

Policy Check Apply Failure

Policy Check Apply Status Failure

Any failures need to either be addressed in a successive commit, or approved by a blessed owner. This approval is independent of the approval apply requirement which can coexist in the policy checking workflow. After an approval, the apply can proceed.

Policy Check Approval


Any plans following the approval will discard any policy approval and prompt again for it.

Getting Started

This section will provide a guide on how to get set up with a simple policy that fails creation of null_resource's and requires approval from a blessed user.

Step 1: Enable the workflow

Enable the workflow using the following server configuration flag --enable-policy-checks

Step 2: Define the policy configuration

Policy Configuration is defined in the server-side repo configuration.

In this example we will define one policy set with one owner:

      - nishkrishnan
    - name: null_resource_warning
      path: <CODE_DIRECTORY>/policies/null_resource_warning/
      source: local
  • name - A name of your policy set.
  • path - Path to a policies directory. Note: replace <CODE_DIRECTORY> with absolute dir path to conftest policy/policies.
  • source - Tells atlantis where to fetch the policies from. Currently you can only host policies locally by using local.

By default conftest is configured to only run the main package. If you wish to run specific/multiple policies consider passing --namespace or --all-namespaces to conftest with extra_args via a custom workflow as shown in the below example.

Example Server Side Repo configuration using --all-namespaces and a local src dir.

  - id:
    workflow: custom
      - example-dev
    - name: example-conf-tests
      path: /home/atlantis/conftest_policies  # Consider separate vcs & mount into container
      source: local
        - init
        - plan
        - policy_check:
            extra_args: ["-p /home/atlantis/conftest_policies/", "--all-namespaces"]

Step 3: Write the policy

Conftest policies are based on Open Policy Agent (OPA) and written in rego. Following our example, simply create a rego file in null_resource_warning folder with following code, the code below a simple policy that will fail for plans containing newly created null_resources.

package main

resource_types = {"null_resource"}

# all resources
resources[resource_type] = all {
    some resource_type
    all := [name |
        name:= input.resource_changes[_]
        name.type == resource_type

# number of creations of resources of a given type
num_creates[resource_type] = num {
    some resource_type
    all := resources[resource_type]
    creates := [res |  res:= all[_]; res.change.actions[_] == "create"]
    num := count(creates)

deny[msg] {
    num_resources := num_creates["null_resource"]

    num_resources > 0

    msg := "null resources cannot be created"

That's it! Now your Atlantis instance is configured to run policies on your Terraform plans 🎉