Glossary


The glossary covers terms which are used around Home Assistant.
Action

Actions are used in several places in Home Assistant. As part of a script or
automation, actions define what is going to happen once a trigger is
activated. In scripts, an action is called sequence. Actions use service
calls and/or scenes to interact with entities and cause these entities to do
something. Actions can also include conditions and a delay. An action can
call multiple services at the same time. For example, if your presence is
detected in a room, an action may call one service to turn on a light and
call another service to start playing music after a delay. Actions are also
used on the dashboard, for example as tap or hold action on a UI element.
When triggered, the action calls a service.


Read more about: Action
Add-on

Add-ons are additional standalone third-party software packages that can be installed on Home Assistant OS. Most of these, add-on provided, applications can be integrated into Home Assistant using integrations. Examples of add-ons are: an MQTT broker, database service or a file server.


Area

An area in Home Assistant is a logical grouping of devices and entities that are meant to match areas (or rooms) in the physical world: your home. For example, the living room area groups devices and entities in your living room. Areas allow you to target service calls at an entire group of devices. For example, turning off all the lights in the living room. Locations within your home such as living room, dance floor, etc. Areas can be assigned to floors. Areas can also be used for automatically generated cards, such as the Area card.


Automation

Automations connect one or more triggers to one or more actions in a ‘when trigger then do action’ fashion with additional optional conditions. For example, an automation might connect the trigger ‘sunset’ to the action ‘turn the lights on’ but only if the condition ‘someone is home’ is met. Pre-made automations for common use-cases are available via the blueprints feature.


Read more about: Automation
Backup

Home Assistant has built-in functionality to create files containing a copy of your configuration. This can be used to restore your Home Assistant as well as migrate to a new system. The backup feature is available on some installation types.


Read more about: Backup
Binary sensor

A binary sensor returns information about things that only have two states - such as on or off.


Read more about: Binary sensor
Blueprint

A blueprint is a script or automation configuration with certain parts marked as configurable. This allows users to create multiple scripts or automations based on the same blueprint, with each having its own configuration-specific settings. Blueprints are shared by the community on the blueprints exchange in the forum.


Read more about: Blueprint
Category

A category is an organization tool that allows grouping items in a table. Like labels, categories allow grouping irrespective of the items’ physical location. For example, on the automations page, you can create the categories “Notifications” or “NFC tags” to view your automations grouped or filtered. Categories are unique for each table. The automations page can have different categories than the scene, scripts, or helpers settings page.


Commissioning

In the context of Matter devices, commissioning is the process of adding a device to a Matter controller. It is the equivalent of pairing a device in Zigbee or Z-Wave. Commissioning is done by scanning a QR code or entering a code manually. The code is printed on the device or its packaging. The code contains information about the device, such as its type, manufacturer, and serial number. The controller uses this information to identify the device and to download the required information to control the device. For example, the controller downloads the device’s capabilities, such as the supported commands and the available attributes. The controller also downloads the device’s configuration, such as the device’s name and location.


Read more about: Commissioning
Component

Better known as: Integrations. Integrations used to be known as components.


Condition

Conditions are an optional part of an automation that will prevent an action from firing if they are not met.


Read more about: Condition
Configuration file

The configuration.yaml file is the main configuration file for Home Assistant. It lists the integrations to be loaded and their specific configurations. In some cases, the configuration needs to be edited manually directly in the configuration.yaml file. Most integrations can be configured in the UI.


Read more about: Configuration file
Cover

Covers are devices such as blinds, garage doors, etc that can be opened and closed and optionally set to a specific position.


Read more about: Cover
Customize

Customization allows you to overwrite the default parameters of your devices in the configuration.


Device

A device is a model representing a physical or logical unit that contains
entities. Example for a device as a physical unit A smart plug named
‘Coffee machine’ which provides 2 entities: a switch entity to turn power
on or off (‘Coffee machine power switch’) and a sensor entity for power
monitoring (‘Coffee machine power sensor’). Example for a device as a
logical unit
An ecobee thermostat with 4 room sensors. This thermostat is
seen as 5 devices in Home Assistant: 1 device for the thermostat with 4
sensors, and 1 device for each room sensor. Each device can be in a
different area and may have more than one input or output within that area.
Devices have properties such as ID, manufacturer, name, model, hardware
version, firmware version, connections, etc.


Device tracker

Device trackers are used to track the presence, or location, of a device.


Read more about: Device tracker
Discovery

Discovery is the automatic setup of zeroconf/mDNS and uPnP devices after they are discovered.


Domain

Each integration in Home Assistant has a unique identifier: a domain. All of the entities and services available in Home Assistant are provided by integrations and thus belong to such a domain. The first part of the entity or service, before the . shows the domain they belong to. For example light.kitchen is an entity in the light domain from the light integration, while hue.activate_scene is the activate_scene service for the hue domain which belongs to the Hue integration.


Entity

An entity represents a sensor, actor, or function in Home Assistant.
Entities are used to monitor physical properties or to control other
entities. An entity is usually part of a device or a service. Entities have
states. Example for entities as part of a device A combined temperature
and humidity sensor device provides two sensor entities. One for temperature
(e.g. sensor.temperature with state 21.0 and unit °C) and one for
humidity (e.g. sensor.humidity with state 65.4 and unit %). Example
for entities as part of a service
A weather service that provides 3
entities: wind speed, air pressure, and ozon level. Example of an entity
used for control
A fan that is turned on when the temperature exceeds
30 °C. There are standardized types of entities for common integrations
such as light, switch, camera, sensor, fan, or vacuum. Some entities are not
part of a device or service. Examples of standalone entities are automation,
script, scene entities, and helper entities (e.g. input helpers). Most
properties of entities are related to the state. Entities have optional
attributes such as friendly name, unit of measurement, and an icon or
picture that can be displayed in the frontend.


Read more about: Entity
Event

An event is when something happens.


Read more about: Event
Floor

A floor in Home Assistant is a logical grouping of areas that are meant to match the physical floors in your home. Devices & entities are not assigned to floors but to areas. A floor has properties such as: Floor ID, name, aliases (for use in assistants), an icon, and a floor level. Some of these properties are optional. The level number can be negative to reflect floors below the basement. Floors can be used in automations and scripts as a target for actions. For example, to turn off all the lights on the downstairs floor when you go to bed.


Frontend

The frontend is a necessary component for the UI, it is also where you can define your themes.


Read more about: Frontend
Group

Groups are a way to organize your entities into a single unit.


Read more about: Group
HASS

HASS or hass is often used as an abbreviation for Home Assistant. It is also the command-line tool.


HassOS

Another name for Home Assistant Operating System


Read more about: HassOS
Home Assistant Container

Home Assistant Container is a standalone container-based installation of Home Assistant Core. Any OCI compatible runtime can be used, but the documentation focus is on Docker.


Read more about: Home Assistant Container
Home Assistant Core

Home Assistant Core is the Python program at the heart of Home Assistant. It is part of all of the four installation types and can be run on various operating systems. It can be installed standalone (without Home Assistant Supervisor), using a Virtual Environment (typically referred to as Home Assistant Core installation method) or as a container using Docker (typically referred to as Home Assistant Container installation method).


Read more about: Home Assistant Core
Home Assistant Operating System

Home Assistant OS, the Home Assistant Operating System, is an embedded, minimalistic, operating system designed to run the Home Assistant ecosystem on single board computers (like the Raspberry Pi) or Virtual Machines. It includes Home Assistant Core, the Home Assistant Supervisor, and supports add-ons. Home Assistant Supervisor keeps it up to date, removing the need for you to manage an operating system. Home Assistant Operating System is the recommended installation method for most users.


Read more about: Home Assistant Operating System
Home Assistant Supervised

Home Assistant Supervised is a full UI managed home automation ecosystem that runs the Home Assistant Core program, the Home Assistant Supervisor and add-ons. It comes pre-installed on Home Assistant OS, but can be installed standalone on Debian Linux systems. It leverages Docker, which is managed by the Home Assistant Supervisor.


Read more about: Home Assistant Supervised
Home Assistant Supervisor

The Home Assistant Supervisor is a program that manages a Home Assistant installation, taking care of installing and updating Home Assistant, add-ons, itself, and, if used, updating the Home Assistant Operating System.


Read more about: Home Assistant Supervisor
Host

A device that can communicate with other devices on a network. During setup and configuration, an input requesting a Host typically refers to a device’s network address so that Home Assistant can attempt to connect to it. This may be in the form of a hostname, URL, IP address or some other type of network identifier. If you do not know the hostname or IP address of a device, you can find it in your router’s webinterface. For example, if your device is connected wirelessly, somewhere there is a page listing all the devices that are connected to your network. It depends on your router, where exactly this page is. It could be under Network > Wireless.


Read more about: Host
Integration

Integrations connect and integrate Home Assistant with devices, services, and more. They contain all the logic to handle vendor- and device-specific implementations, such as authentication or specific protocols. The integration brings such device-specific elements into Home Assistant in a standardized way. For example, the Hue integration integrates the Philips Hue bridge and its connected bulbs into Home Assistant, making them available as Home Assistant light entities you can control.


Read more about: Integration
Intent

Intent is a term used with voice assistants. The intent is what Home Assistant thinks you want it to do when it extracts a command from your voice or text utterance. Currently, the following intents are supported out of the box: HassTurnOn, HassTurnOff, HassGetState, and HassLightSet. These intents allow you to turn things on or off, inquire about a state, or change the brightness or color of a light.


Read more about: Intent
Label

Labels in Home Assistant allow grouping elements irrespective of their physical location or type. Labels can be assigned to areas, devices, entities, automations, scenes, scripts, and helpers. Labels can be used in automations and scripts as a target for actions and services. Labels can also be used to filter data. For example, you can filter the list of devices to show only devices with the label heavy energy usage or turn these devices off when there is not a lot of solar energy available.


Light

A light has a brightness you can control, and optionally color temperature or RGB color control.


Read more about: Light
Lovelace

Lovelace is the original code name of the UI that is now known as Home Assistant dashboards.


Matter

Matter is an open-source standard that defines how to control smart home devices on a Wi-Fi or Thread network. The aim of the standard is to improve security and to make devices interoperable across vendors, replacing proprietary protocols for smart home ecosystems. Unlike other standards, Matter allows joining the same device to multiple controllers. For example, you can add a light to Google Home, Apple Home, and Home Assistant at the same time. A bridge device can be used to connect devices running on other smart home technologies such as Zigbee or Z-Wave.


Read more about: Matter
Notification

You can use notifications to send messages, pictures, and more, to devices.


Read more about: Notification
Package

Packages allow you to bundle different component configurations together.


Read more about: Package
Platform

Platforms are building blocks provided by some integrations to be used by other integrations. For example, the Light integration provides the light platform that is utilized by all integrations providing light entities such as e.g. Hue.


Read more about: Platform
Reload

Applies the changes made to the Home Assistant configuration files. Changes are normally automatically updated. However, changes made outside of the front end will not be reflected in Home Assistant and require a reload. To perform a manual reload, go to Settings > System > Restart Home Assistant (top right) > Quick reload. If you do not see the Quick reload option in the menu, you need to enable Advanced mode in your user settings. More granular reload options are available in YAML configuration reloading section in Developer tools > YAML.


Scene

Scenes capture the states you want certain entities to be. For example, a scene can specify that light A should be turned on and light B should be bright red.


Read more about: Scene
Script

Scripts are components that allow users to specify a sequence of actions to be executed by Home Assistant when turned on.


Read more about: Script
Selector

Selectors are components for the user interface. Some selectors can, for example, show a toggle button to turn something on or off, while another select can filter a list of devices to show only devices that have motion-sensing capabilities.


Read more about: Selector
Sensor

Sensors return information about a thing, for instance the level of water in a tank.


Read more about: Sensor
Service

The term service has 2 meanings in Home Assistant: The information
service
For example, the municipal waste management service that provides
entities for organic, paper, and packaging waste. In terms of functionality,
the information service is like a device. It is called service to avoid
confusion, as it does not come with a piece of hardware. The software
function that interacts with targets to make something happen
A service
carries out one specific task, for example: turning on the light in the
living room or sending a notification to a mobile phone. A service has
targets and data. Service targets are: areas, devices, and entities. Service
data carries the information required to define the desired state change in
the target. For example, the target, together with brightness 150 and RGB
color [255,0,0], or the message “Your coffee is ready”. Services can be
used in, for example, automation, scripts, dashboards, or voice commands to
control your home. Home Assistant provides a series of predefined services,
such as homeassistant.turn_on, homeassistant.toggle, or
homeassistant.reload.


Read more about: Service
State

The state holds the information of interest of an entity. For example, if a
light is on or off, the current temperature, or the amount of energy used.
The data type of state is string (a textual value). Entities store 2
timestamps related to the state: last_updated and last_changed. Each
entity has exactly one state and the state only holds one value at a time.
However, entities can store attributes related to that state. For example,
the state of a light is on, and the related state attributes could be its
current brightness and color values. State changes can be used as the source
of triggers. The current state can be used in conditions.


Read more about: State
Switch

Switches are things that have two states you can select between, such as turning on or off a socket.


Read more about: Switch
TTS

TTS (text-to-speech) allows Home Assistant to talk to you.


Read more about: TTS
Template

A template is an automation definition that can include variables for the service or data from the trigger values. This allows automations to generate dynamic actions.


Read more about: Template
Thread

Thread is a low-power mesh networking standard that is specifically designed for smart home applications. It is a protocol that defines how devices communicate. Mesh topology means that the devices can communicate with each other directly, without going through a central controller first. Thread uses the same radio frequency (RF) technology as Zigbee, but provides IP connectivity similar to Wi-Fi. Unlike Zigbee, Thread does not specify how to control devices. How Thread-enabled devices are controlled is specified in a higher level protocol such as HomeKit or Matter.


Read more about: Thread
Thread border router

A Thread border router forwards data packets between your local network and the Thread network. This enables smart home devices within a Thread network to communicate with IPv6-capable devices in your local network. A Thread border router is connected to your network either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet and uses its radio frequency (RF) radio to communicate with the Thread mesh network. In case of Matter, the data that is forwarded is encrypted. Examples of Thread border routers are the Nest Hub (2nd gen), the HomePod mini, and the Home Assistant Connect ZBT-1 together with the OpenThread Border Router add-on.


Read more about: Thread border router
Trigger

A trigger is a set of values or conditions of a platform that are defined to cause an automation to run.


Read more about: Trigger
Valve

Valves are devices to control the flow of liquids and gases. All valves in Home Assistant can be opened and closed. Some valves can also be set to a specific position.


Read more about: Valve
Variables

Variables are used to store values in memory that can be processed for example, in a script.


Read more about: Variables
Zone

Zones are areas that can be used for presence detection.


Read more about: Zone