The MAAS CLI can do everything that the web UI can do, and more. The CLI uses the maas command exclusively which, in turn, connects to the API.

This page explains what is needed to get going with the CLI. Tasks are then separated into common, image management, DHCP snippet management, and advanced.

Note that we do not provide complete coverage of the MAAS CLI. For an exhaustive treatment, see the API documentation.

Values are represented as uppercase variables preceded with the '$' character (e.g. $PROFILE and $EMAIL_ADDRESS). These are to be replaced with actual values.

The maas command

The maas command is obtained via the maas-cli Ubuntu package which is installed on every region API server and rack controller. To manage MAAS at the CLI level from a remote workstation this package will need to be installed:

sudo apt install maas-cli

Create an administrator

MAAS requires an initial administrator, sometimes called a MAAS "superuser". When the web UI is accessed for the first time you will be prompted to create this user:

sudo maas createadmin --username=$PROFILE --email=$EMAIL_ADDRESS

Extra administrators can be created in the same way. See MAAS CLI - common tasks for creating regular users with the CLI.

Log in (required)

To use the CLI you must first log in to the API server (region controller).

You will need the API key that was generated when your MAAS account was created. To obtain it, run this command on the region controller (i.e. where the 'maas-region-controller' package was installed):

sudo maas-region apikey --username=$PROFILE > $API_KEY_FILE

Note: A user's API key can also be obtained from the web interface. Click on 'username' in the top right corner, and select 'Account'.

Log in. You will be prompted for the API key:

maas login $PROFILE $MAAS_URL

For example, to log in with the account whose username is 'admin' and where the region controller is on the localhost:

maas login admin http://localhost:5240/MAAS/api/2.0

To log in by referring to the API key file created earlier:


A handy shell script, say, is provided:


# Change these 3 values as required 



Get help

MAAS has a powerful built-in help reference, which you can access in stages to understand how to build commands.

The maas command accepts the -h or --help argument after every keyword and will display results with increasing detail.

For example, suppose you were interested in tag management, but didn't know where to start. You might try this:

maas $PROFILE --help

At this stage, you'll see all available MAAS commands, including the tag and tags commands, along with a brief explanation of what each command does. To see what the tag and tags commands have to offer, try:

maas $PROFILE tag --help


maas $PROFILE tags --help

Suppose you want to create a new rudimentary tag. Find the next level of help like this:

maas admin tags create --help

In this way, you can discover all that the MAAS CLI has to offer.

Log out

Once you are done with the CLI you can log out from the given profile, flushing the stored credentials.

maas logout $PROFILE

Next steps

The following categories are now available to be explored: