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Building Custom Terraform Providers with Go: Extending Infrastructure as Code

Atisha Shaurya
Atisha Shaurya
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Terraform, the popular Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool, empowers developers to define and manage their infrastructure using declarative code. While Terraform provides a vast array of official providers for interacting with various cloud platforms and services, you might encounter situations where you need to integrate with custom or proprietary resources. In such cases, creating a custom Terraform provider using Go becomes essential. This blog explores the process of building custom Terraform providers using Go, enabling you to extend the capabilities of Terraform to suit your unique infrastructure needs.

Custom Terraform Providers

It is an advanced feature of Terraform that allow you to extend its functionality by creating your own plugins to manage resources and interact with APIs that aren’t natively supported by official Terraform providers. This enables you to define, manage, and configure resources specific to your organization’s needs, whether they involve proprietary services, legacy systems, or other unique infrastructure components.

Why Create Custom Terraform Providers?

  1. Tailored Integrations: Organizations often have custom-built systems, services, or applications that are not covered by official Terraform providers. Creating custom providers allows you to integrate these unique resources seamlessly into your infrastructure as code workflow.
  2. Legacy Systems: Custom providers provide a way to manage and automate legacy systems that may not have modern APIs, allowing you to bring them under the umbrella of IaC practices.
  3. Efficiency and Consistency: Custom providers enable you to define your infrastructure in code, promoting consistency and reproducibility across your environment.


  1. Go Programming Language: Familiarity with Go is essential, as custom Terraform providers are developed in Go.
  2. Terraform Provider SDK: The Terraform Provider SDK provides the tools and libraries necessary to build custom providers. It includes resources, data sources, and provider configurations.

Creating a Custom Terraform Provider

  1. Setting Up Your Workspace:
    • Install Go and set up a Go workspace.
    • Create a directory for your provider, e.g., terraform-provider-custom.
  2. Writing the Provider Code:
    • Define your provider configuration in Go structs, specifying the API credentials and connection details.
    • Implement CRUD operations for resources using the SDK’s resource schema and data source definitions.
    • Define your provider’s schema, resource, and data source using the Terraform Provider SDK.
  3. Compiling the Provider:
    • Build your provider by compiling the Go code using the go build command. This generates an executable named terraform-provider-{provider_name}.
  4. Initializing Terraform Configuration:
    • In a separate Terraform configuration directory, specify the custom provider in the required_providers block and configure it with the required attributes.
  5. Testing and Debugging:
    • Write acceptance tests using Terraform’s built-in testing framework. These tests validate that your provider functions as expected.
    • Debug issues by leveraging logging and debugging tools in Go.
  6. Distribution:
    • Distribute your custom provider by sharing the compiled executable (terraform-provider-{provider_name}) with your team or community.

Benefits of Custom Providers

  1. Flexibility and Adaptability: Custom providers enable you to integrate Terraform with any system or service, regardless of whether there’s an official provider. This adaptability is particularly useful for in-house applications, legacy systems, and proprietary platforms.
  2. Centralized Management: By defining your resources and configurations in Terraform code, you centralize the management of your infrastructure, version control, and collaboration efforts.
  3. Automation and Consistency: Custom providers allow you to automate the provisioning, updating, and deletion of resources, ensuring that your infrastructure remains consistent and reproducible.
  4. Internal Systems: Use custom providers to automate the provisioning and management of internal systems and tools, improving efficiency and consistency.
  5. Legacy Systems: Modernize and manage legacy systems by creating custom providers, enabling IaC practices for older infrastructure.
  6. Reusability: Once built, custom providers can be reused across projects, streamlining the integration process.
  7. Community Contributions: Share your custom providers with the Terraform community, contributing to the ecosystem and helping others facing similar integration challenges.


Creating custom Terraform providers using Go empowers you to extend Terraform’s capabilities to interact with custom-built systems, internal tools, or platforms lacking official support. By leveraging the Terraform Provider SDK and your Go programming skills, you can seamlessly integrate these resources into your infrastructure as code practices. The ability to build custom providers not only enhances automation and consistency but also contributes to the evolution and growth of the Terraform ecosystem as a whole.

Atisha Shaurya

Atisha Shaurya

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