Say I'm debugging an Ansible playbook and want to quit after a given task (and not run through all of the following tasks). Is there any one-line magic command available, or do I have to manually create an exit/assert task?

From the ansible-playbook manual, I see that there is a --start-at-task=START_AT flag, but I don't see anything like an 'end-at' counterpart.

3 Answers 3


Using - pause: might suit.

Pauses playbook execution for a set amount of time, or until a prompt is acknowledged. All parameters are optional. The default behavior is to pause with a prompt. You can use ctrl+c if you wish to advance a pause earlier than it is set to expire or if you need to abort a playbook run entirely. To continue early: press ctrl+c and then c. To abort a playbook: press ctrl+c and then a.


Or just a straight - fail: if you will certainly not want to continue.

If you want a block of tasks to execute, you can use tags and --with-tags:. Ansible v2 will have proper code blocks so you can use a single when: for multiple tasks.


- meta: end_play

end_play (added in 2.2) causes the play to end without failing the host.

  • 6
    This ends a play not a playbook. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 22:24
  • @BradSolomon what is the difference? Because for some reason, end_play has no effect in my playbook. Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 21:53

ansible-playbook --step will let you confirm each task you want to run and stop execution whenever you want.

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