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Chef InSpec: Inspect Your Infrastructure

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Chef InSpec is an open-source testing framework for infrastructure with a human- and machine-readable language for specifying compliance, security and policy requirements.

# Disallow insecure protocols by testing

describe package('telnetd') do
  it { should_not be_installed }

describe inetd_conf do
  its("telnet") { should eq nil }

Chef InSpec makes it easy to run your tests wherever you need. More options are found in our CLI docs.

# run test locally
inspec exec test.rb

# run test on remote host via SSH
inspec exec test.rb -t ssh://user@hostname -i /path/to/key

# run test on remote host using SSH agent private key authentication. Requires Chef InSpec 1.7.1
inspec exec test.rb -t ssh://user@hostname

# run test on remote windows host via WinRM
inspec exec test.rb -t winrm://Administrator@windowshost --password 'your-password'

# run test on remote windows host via WinRM as a domain user
inspec exec test.rb -t winrm://windowshost --user 'UserName@domain' --password 'your-password'

# run test on docker container
inspec exec test.rb -t docker://container_id


  • Built-in Compliance: Compliance no longer occurs at the end of the release cycle
  • Targeted Tests: Chef InSpec writes tests that specifically target compliance issues
  • Metadata: Includes the metadata required by security and compliance pros
  • Easy Testing: Includes a command-line interface to run tests quickly


Chef InSpec requires Ruby ( >= 3.0.3 ).

All currently supported versions of Chef InSpec (4.0 and later) require accepting the EULA to use. Please visit the license acceptance page on the Chef docs site for more information.

Install as package

The Chef InSpec package is available for MacOS, RedHat, Ubuntu and Windows. Download the latest package at Chef InSpec Downloads or install Chef InSpec via script:

# RedHat, Ubuntu, and macOS
curl | sudo bash -s -- -P inspec

# Windows
. { iwr -useb } | iex; install -project inspec

Install it via

Installing Chef InSpec from source may require installing ruby build tools to manage gem dependencies. (A compiler-free variant is available with reduced functionality; use inspec-core-bin and inspec-core.)

To install build tools, use your package manager.

For CentOS/RedHat/Fedora:

yum -y install ruby ruby-devel make gcc gcc-c++

For Ubuntu:

apt-get -y install ruby ruby-dev gcc g++ make

To install the inspec executable, which requires accepting the Chef License, run:

gem install inspec-bin

You may also use inspec as a library, with no executable. This does not require accepting the license. To install the library as a gem, run:

gem install inspec

Usage via Docker

Download the image and define a function for convenience:

For Linux:

docker pull chef/inspec
function inspec { docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/share chef/inspec "$@"; }

For Windows (PowerShell):

docker pull chef/inspec
function inspec { docker run -it --rm -v "$(pwd):/share" chef/inspec $args; }

If you call inspec from your shell, it automatically mounts the current directory into the Docker container. Therefore you can easily use local tests and key files. Note: Only files in the current directory and sub-directories are available within the container.

$ ls -1

$ inspec exec test.rb -t ssh://root@ -i vagrant

Finished in 0.04321 seconds (files took 0.54917 seconds to load)
2 examples, 0 failures

To scan the docker containers running on the host using the containerized InSpec, we need to bind-mount the Unix socket /var/run/docker.sock from the host machine to the InSpec Container.

docker pull chef/inspec
function inspec { docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/share -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock chef/inspec "$@"; }

/var/run/docker.sock is the Unix socket the Docker daemon listens on by default.

Install it from source

Note that installing from OS packages from the download page is the preferred method.

That requires bundler:

bundle install
bundle exec inspec help

To install it as a gem locally, run:

gem build inspec.gemspec
gem install inspec-*.gem

On Windows, you need to install Ruby with Ruby Development Kit to build dependencies with its native extensions.

Install via Chef Habitat

Currently, this method of installation only supports Linux. See the Chef Habitat site for more information.

Download the hab binary from the Chef Habitat site.

hab pkg install chef/inspec --binlink


Run Chef InSpec

You should now be able to run:

$ inspec --help
  inspec archive PATH                                       # archive a profile to tar.gz (default) ...
  inspec check PATH                                         # verify all tests at the specified PATH
  inspec automate SUBCOMMAND ...                            # Chef Automate commands
  inspec compliance SUBCOMMAND ...                          # Chef Automate commands (backwards compatible alias)
  inspec detect                                             # detect the target OS
  inspec exec PATH(S)                                       # run all test files at the specified PATH.
  inspec help [COMMAND]                                     # Describe available commands or one spe...
  inspec init TEMPLATE ...                                  # Scaffolds a new project
  inspec json PATH                                          # read all tests in PATH and generate a ...
  inspec shell                                              # open an interactive debugging shell
  inspec supermarket SUBCOMMAND ...                         # Supermarket commands
  inspec version                                            # prints the version of this tool

  [--diagnose], [--no-diagnose]  # Show diagnostics (versions, configurations)


  • Only accept requests on secure ports - This test ensures that a web server is only listening on well-secured ports.
describe port(80) do
  it { should_not be_listening }

describe port(443) do
  it { should be_listening }
  its('protocols') {should include 'tcp'}
  • Test your kitchen.yml file to verify that only Vagrant is configured as the driver. The %w() formatting will pass rubocop linting and allow you to access nested mappings.
describe yaml('.kitchen.yml') do
  its(%w(driver name)) { should eq('vagrant') }

Also have a look at our examples for:

Or tests: Testing for a OR b

  • Using, you can test for a or b. The control will be marked as passing if EITHER condition is met.
control 'or-test' do
  impact 1.0
  title 'This is a OR test' do
    describe ssh_config do
      its('Protocol') { should eq('3') }
    describe ssh_config do
      its('Protocol') { should eq('2') }

Command Line Usage


Run tests against different targets:

# run test locally
inspec exec test.rb

# run test on remote host on SSH
inspec exec test.rb -t ssh://user@hostname

# run test on remote windows host on WinRM
inspec exec test.rb -t winrm://Administrator@windowshost --password 'your-password'

# run test on docker container
inspec exec test.rb -t docker://container_id

# run test on podman container
inspec exec test.rb -t podman://container_id --podman-url "unix:///run/user/1000/podman/podman.sock"

# run with sudo
inspec exec test.rb --sudo [--sudo-password ...] [--sudo-options ...] [--sudo_command ...]

# run in a subshell
inspec exec test.rb --shell [--shell-options ...] [--shell-command ...]

# run a profile targeting AWS using env vars
inspec exec test.rb -t aws://

# or store your AWS credentials in your ~/.aws/credentials profiles file
inspec exec test.rb -t aws://us-east-2/my-profile

# run a profile targeting Azure using env vars
inspec exec test.rb -t azure://

# or store your Azure credentials in your ~/.azure/credentials profiles file
inspec exec test.rb -t azure://subscription_id


Verify your configuration and detect

id=$( docker run -dti ubuntu:14.04 /bin/bash )
inspec detect -t docker://$id

Which will provide you with:


Supported OS

Remote Targets

Platform Versions Architectures
AIX 6.1, 7.1, 7.2 ppc64
CentOS 6, 7, 8 i386, x86_64
Debian 9, 10 i386, x86_64
FreeBSD 9, 10, 11 i386, amd64
macOS 11.0 x86_64
Oracle Enterprise Linux 6, 7, 8 i386, x86_64
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, 8, 9 i386, x86_64
Solaris 10, 11 sparc, x86
Windows* 8, 8.1, 10, 2012, 2012R2, 2016, 2019 x86, x86_64
Ubuntu Linux x86, x86_64
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, 15 x86_64
Scientific Linux 6, 7 i386, x86_64
Fedora x86_64
OpenSUSE 15 x86_64
OmniOS x86_64
Gentoo Linux x86_64
Arch Linux x86_64
HP-UX 11.31 ia64
Alpine Linux x86_64

*For Windows, PowerShell 5.0 or above is required.

In addition, runtime support is provided for:

Platform Versions Arch
macOS 11+ x86_64, arm64
Debian 9, 10 x86_64, aarch64
RHEL 7, 8, 9 x86_64, aarch64
Fedora 29+ x86_64, aarch64
Ubuntu 16.04+ x86_64, aarch64
Windows 8+ x86_64
Windows 2012+ x86_64



Learn Chef:

Relationship to other tools (RSpec, Serverspec):

Share your Profiles

You may share your Chef InSpec Profiles in the Tools & Plugins section of the Chef Supermarket. Sign in and add the details of your profile.

You may also browse the Supermarket for shared Compliance Profiles.


Chef InSpec was originally created by Christoph Hartmann (@chris-rock) and Dominik Richter (@arlimus).

Chef InSpec is inspired by the wonderful Serverspec project. Kudos to mizzy and all contributors!

The AWS resources were inspired by inspec-aws from arothian.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request

The Chef InSpec community and maintainers are very active and helpful. This project benefits greatly from this activity.

If you'd like to chat with the community and maintainers directly join us in the #inspec channel on the Chef Community Slack.

As a reminder, all participants are expected to follow the Code of Conduct.


Testing Chef InSpec

We offer unit and integration tests.

  • unit tests ensure the intended behaviour of the implementation
  • integration tests run against Docker-based VMs via test-kitchen and kitchen-inspec

Unit tests

bundle exec rake test

If you like to run only one test file:

bundle exec m test/unit/resources/user_test.rb

You may also run a single test within a file by line number:

bundle exec m test/unit/resources/user_test.rb -l 123

Integration tests

These tests download various virtual machines, to ensure Chef InSpec is working as expected across different operating systems.

These tests require the following gems:

  • test-kitchen
  • kitchen-dokken
  • kitchen-inspec

These gems are provided via the integration group in the project's Gemfile.

In addition, these test require Docker to be available on your machine or a remote Docker machine configured via the standard Docker environment variables.

Running Integration tests

List the various test instances available:

KITCHEN_YAML=kitchen.dokken.yml bundle exec kitchen list

The platforms and test suites are configured in the kitchen.dokken.yml file. Once you know which instance you wish to test, test that instance:

KITCHEN_YAML=kitchen.dokken.yml bundle exec kitchen test <INSTANCE_NAME>

You may test all instances in parallel with:

KITCHEN_YAML=kitchen.dokken.yml bundle exec kitchen test -c 3


Author: Dominik Richter (
Author: Christoph Hartmann (
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2015 Vulcano Security GmbH.
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2017-2020 Chef Software Inc.
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2020-2023 Progress Software Corp.
License: Apache License, Version 2.0
License: Chef End User License Agreement

Packaged distributions of Progress® Chef® products obtained from any authorised Progress Chef distribution source are made available pursuant to the Progress Chef EULA at, unless there is an executed agreement in effect between you and Progress that covers the Progress Chef products ("Master Agreement"), in which case the Master Agreement shall govern.

Source code obtained from the Chef GitHub repository is made available under Apache-2.0, a copy of which is included below.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.