for_each loops w/ if statements in Terraform 0.12.6+

Posted on Wed 01 December 2021 in terraform by Miguel Lopez

Technical Stack: Terraform 0.12.6+

Read: 5 minutes


  • Terraform

These days, I recommend installing terraform with tfenv and managing everything through there.

For mac users: brew install tfenv && tfenv install latest


This tutorial will help you build Terraform resources in a for_each loop with an if statement conditional. That if conditional will determine if resource is built or not.

Building the For-Each Loop

Starting in Terraform 0.12.6+ the for_each loop was supported for all resource and module blocks in Terraform.

This was an incredibly powerful feature that enabled us to build complex any blocks as inputs. You could define modules that had the same infrastructure goals but slightly different resources.


Imagine you're building a microservice with API and worker services. Each service component will require an autoscaling group. However, not every autoscaling group requires a load balancer.

How can we build a module that does not require a load balancer for each service component being defined?

Take the following input as an example:

    instance_type: t4g.medium
    min_size: 1
    max_size: 1
    desired_size: 1
    load_balancer_enabled: true
      internal: true
      <ommitted for simplicity>
    instance_type: t4g.medium
    min_size: 1
    max_size: 1
    desired_size: 1
    load_balancer_enabled: false

terraform input represented as ymlencoded input

Building the for_each loop

for_each = { for key, value in : key => value if value.load_balancer_enabled == true }

In this example, the if statement lives inside the for_each loop. Notice how I use { } around my loop. This tells Terraform we are reducing our complex object based on the if result.

The most important bit of this line is if value.load_balancer_enabled == true. If you take a look at my input above, you'll notice that the worker has load_balancer_enabled: false. This will result in the if statement in our for_each loop removing the worker object from the loop.

Now only services that require will build out the load balancers they need.

This is an extremely useful trick for building dynamic modules with configurable resources.

Here is the full example on load_balancer module:

module "load_balancer" {
  for_each  = { for key, value in : key => value if value.load_balancer_enabled == true }
  source    = "../load-balancer"  # custom module reference as an example

  name                       = "${each.key}"
  enable_deletion_protection = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "enable_deletion_protection", true)

  domain             = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "domain", null)
  security_groups    = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "security_groups", [])
  internal           = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "internal", true)
  load_balancer_type = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "load_balancer_type", "application")

  tags = merge(jsondecode(var.tags), lookup(each.value, "tags", {}), local.common_tags)

  target_groups        = { for key, value in lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "target_groups", {}) : key => merge(value, { target_group_name = format("%s-%s-%s", each.key, key, var.color) }) }
  load_balancer_listeners         = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "listeners", {})
  extra_listener_rules = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "extra_listener_rules", {})
  extra_ssl_certs      = lookup(each.value.load_balancer, "extra_ssl_certs", {})

Additional Example

The example above consumed a load_balancer module in order to build the load balancer required by each service.

In case you wanted to see this for_each loop on a resource, I also included that.

In this example, we'll be using a complex variable called extra_load_balancer to define array of objects that create Terraform load balancers. Network load balancers will always require a VPC link in this scenario.


    load_balancer_type: application
    enable_deletion_protection: false
    security_groups: [ ]
      <ommitted for simplicity>
    load_balancer_type: network
    enable_deletion_protection: false
    security_groups: [ ]
      <ommitted for simplicity>

Looping through a Resource

resource "aws_api_gateway_vpc_link" "link" {
  for_each    = { for key, value in var.extra_load_balancers : key => value if lookup(value, "load_balancer_type", "application") == "network" }
  name        = format("%s-%s", each.key)
  target_arns = [module.extra_load_balancer[each.key].lb_arn]

  depends_on = [module.extra_load_balancer.lb_arn]


Hope this helps!

-- Miguel Lopez