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The public documentation for the gruntwork-io/module-vpc repo, which contains packages for creating a best-practices Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) setup in AWS
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Note: This public repo contains the documentation for the private GitHub repo We publish the documentation publicly so it turns up in online searches, but to see the source code, you must be a Gruntwork customer. If you're already a Gruntwork customer, the original source for this file is at: If you're not a customer, contact us at or for info on how to get access!

VPC Modules

This repo contains modules for creating best-practices Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) on AWS.

Main Modules

The two main modules are:

  • vpc-app: Launch a VPC meant to house applications. The VPC includes 3 "tiers" of subnets (public, private app, private persistence), routing rules, security groups, network ACLs, and NAT gateways.
  • vpc-mgmt: Launch a VPC meant to house DevOps and other management services. The VPC includes 2 "tiers" of subnets (public, private), routing rules, security groups, network ACLs, and NAT gateways.

Supporting Modules

There are also several supporting modules that add extra functionality on top of vpc-app and vpc-mgmt:

  • vpc-peering: Creating peering connections between VPCs. Normally, VPCs are completely isolated from each other, but sometimes, you want to allow traffic to flow between them, such as allowing DevOps tools running in a Mgmt VPC to talk to apps in a Stage or Prod VPC. This module can create peering connections and route table entries that make this sort of cross-VPC communication possible.
  • vpc-app-network-acls: Add a default set of Network ACLs to a VPC created using the vpc-app module that control what inbound and outbound network traffic is allowed in each subnet of that VPC.
  • vpc-mgmt-network-acls: Add a default set of Network ACLs to a VPC created using the vpc-mgmt module that control what inbound and outbound network traffic is allowed in each subnet of that VPC.
  • network-acl-inbound: A simple helper for adding inbound rules to a Network ACL, along with the corresponding outbound rules for return traffic .
  • network-acl-outbound: A simple helper for adding outbound rules to a Network ACL, along with the correspoding inbound rules for return traffic.

Click on each module above to see its documentation. Head over to the examples folder for examples.

What is a module?

At Gruntwork, we've taken the thousands of hours we spent building infrastructure on AWS and condensed all that experience and code into pre-built packages or modules. Each module is a battle-tested, best-practices definition of a piece of infrastructure, such as a VPC, ECS cluster, or an Auto Scaling Group. Modules are versioned using Semantic Versioning to allow Gruntwork clients to keep up to date with the latest infrastructure best practices in a systematic way.

How do you use a module?

Most of our modules contain either:

  1. Terraform code
  2. Scripts & binaries

Using a Terraform Module

To use a module in your Terraform templates, create a module resource and set its source field to the Git URL of this repo. You should also set the ref parameter so you're fixed to a specific version of this repo, as the master branch may have backwards incompatible changes (see module sources).

For example, to use v1.0.8 of the vpc-app module, you would add the following:

module "ecs_cluster" {
  source = ""

  // set the parameters for the vpc-app module

Note: the double slash (//) is intentional and required. It's part of Terraform's Git syntax (see module sources).

See the module's documentation and file for all the parameters you can set. Run terraform get -update to pull the latest version of this module from this repo before runnin gthe standard terraform plan and terraform apply commands.

Using scripts & binaries

You can install the scripts and binaries in the modules folder of any repo using the Gruntwork Installer. For example, if the scripts you want to install are in the modules/ecs-scripts folder of the repo, you could install them as follows:

gruntwork-install --module-name "ecs-scripts" --repo "" --tag "0.0.1"

See the docs for each script & binary for detailed instructions on how to use them.

What's a VPC?

A VPC or Virtual Private Cloud is a logically isolated section of your AWS cloud. Each VPC defines a virtual network within which you run your AWS resources, as well as rules for what can go in and out of that network. This includes subnets, route tables that tell those subnets how to route inbound and outbound traffic, security groups, firewalls for the subnet (known as "Network ACLs"), and any other network components such as VPN connections.

Learn More about VPCs

See the READMEs for the vpc-app and vpc-mgmt modules for detailed info on a VPC, along with best practices.

Developing a module


We are following the principles of Semantic Versioning. During initial development, the major version is to 0 (e.g., 0.x.y), which indicates the code does not yet have a stable API. Once we hit 1.0.0, we will follow these rules:

  1. Increment the patch version for backwards-compatible bug fixes (e.g., v1.0.8 -> v1.0.9).
  2. Increment the minor version for new features that are backwards-compatible (e.g., v1.0.8 -> 1.1.0).
  3. Increment the major version for any backwards-incompatible changes (e.g. 1.0.8 -> 2.0.0).

The version is defined using Git tags. Use GitHub to create a release, which will have the effect of adding a git tag.


See the test folder for details.


Please see LICENSE.txt for details on how the code in this repo is licensed.

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