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Terraform Private Registry

This blog demonstrates the role of Terraform Private Registry in an organization's project where many modules and providers are required. It gives you an in-depth knowledge of when and where to use a private registry.

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To enable the distribution of Terraform modules, the Terraform users use Terraform Registry, which has configurations that can be reused. Module sharing, the easy discovery of modules, and the reuse of modules can be made quickly as Terraform Registry

There are two variants of Registry available at present:

  1. Public Registry bestows official Terraform providers. They are the services interacting with an API to manage and expose a specific resource and modules contributed by a community.
  2. Private Registry forms a part of the Terraform Cloud that can internally host modules within an organization.

The private registry in Terraform Cloud works the same as the public Terraform Registry by helping the Terraform providers to access its modules across the organization. It includes a searchable list of available providers and modules, support for versioning, and a configuration designer that helps in building new workspaces faster.

Table of Content - Terraform Private Registry

Terraform Registry Publishing

The Terraform Registry is a collective resource to discover a wide range of integrations (providers) and configuration packages (modules) used in Terraform. The solutions developed by third-party vendors, HashiCorp, and the Terraform community are constituted in the Registry.

This Registry aims to administer plugins that maintain pre-made modules and infrastructure API, configure pre-made modules and infrastructure components, and assist in writing quality Terraform code.

The Terraform Registry is combined with Terraform to specify modules and providers directly. Anyone using Terraform can use providers and modules and publish them to the public Terraform Registry. 

The private registry is used only to publish the private modules within the organization. For this purpose, the reference repositories or other sources can also be used instead of a private registry.

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Navigating the Registry

There are various categories for both modules and providers in a registry to help navigate the many options available. The users can select a module card or a provider to obtain sorted results that belong to a specific tier and use the search field at the top of the Registry to get the desired results.

Public Providers and Modules

The public Terraform Registry and Terraform Cloud host the public providers and modules and integrate them automatically into the private registry of an organization. This gives a clear understanding of which public providers and modules can be recommended for an organization, and the supporting documentation is made available centrally and is accessed by everyone in an organization.

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Private Modules

The modules available only to the organization's members and hosted on an organization's private registry are called the private modules. Other organizations that share a similar configuration to share modules can also use this private registry available in the Terraform Enterprise. 

Adding Public Providers and Modules to the Private Registry

The private registry is responsible for synchronizing modules and public providers on a Terraform Registry. This registry monitors and controls access of the Terraform Cloud API tokens and handles the downloads, so there is no need for the access permission of the provider and module source repositories even when the Terraform is run from the command line Providers and modules can be added to the registry through the Registry Modules API, the Registry Providers API, or UI.


The members who are restricted to only that organization can use and view public providers and modules. The teams with Manage Private Registry permissions and also the members from the owner’s team can add any content to or delete any content from the private registry.

In Terraform Enterprise, the access permission to any organization that has been configured to share the modules with the organization, the owner of Terraform registry.

Publishing Modules to the Terraform Cloud Private Registry

The Configured Version Control System (VCS) is used by the private registry for integrations and extends the VCS provider to help with crucial management tasks. It also handles new version releases.

Adding a new module and deleting a previous version is the only manual done while publishing modules to the Terraform Cloud Private Registry.

Related Article: Terraform Interview Questions & Answers

Terraform Cloud's Private Registry

The private modules can be loaded directly from version control and other sources, but at times the source’s version constraints are not supported, or there is a browsable marketplace of modules that play a vital role in enabling consumers-and-producers content model in any large organization.

If an organization specializes in managing the teams that use modules created by other teams frequently, then a private module registry is a boon to that organization. The public modules in the registry are hosted by registry.terraform.io, but most organizations do not need public registries.

Terraform Cloud includes a private module registry that is freely available to all the accounts in an organization. It uses the Version Control System (VCS) to release the workflow just as the Terraform Registry, and it can also import modules from private VCS and Terraform Cloud's UI. It also provides a recognizable marketplace of private modules helping users find their required code.


The private Terraform Registry serves the custom Terraform providers stored outside Terraforms official registry with a very defined and limited functionality. The new versions of providers can be created just by adding or updating files, and these updates are addressed or served by API. Here are some challenges that a Terraform private registry can face with future implementations or for any improvements in the existing codes:

  • Relying on ngrok can be replaced with an HTTPS server.
  • POST and PUT verbs may have more endpoints while there is no manipulation in the metadata for creating new providers and versions.
  • There will be more backends required for metadata such as PostgreSQL, SQLite, and S3 for dynamic implementation of new providers.
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Last updated: 06 Nov 2023
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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