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envkey gem

Integrate EnvKey with your Ruby or Ruby On Rails projects to keep api keys, credentials, and other configuration securely and automatically in sync for developers and servers.


Now that EnvKey v2 has been released, you can find version 2 of this gem in a subdirectory of the EnvKey v2 monorepo. Using v2 requires an EnvKey v2 organization (it won't work with ENVKEYs generated in a v1 org).

Here's a guide on migrating from v1 to v2.

To continue using version 1 of this gem, make sure you specify ~> 1.0.0 in your Gemfile so that you don't accidentally install v2.


In your Gemfile:

gem 'envkey', '~> 1.0.0'

If you're using Rails, that's all you need. In plain Ruby, you need to require envkey at the entry point of your application.

require 'envkey'


Generate an ENVKEY in the EnvKey App. Then set ENVKEY=..., either in a gitignored .env file in the root of your project (in development) or in an environment variable (on servers).

Now all your EnvKey variables will be available on ENV.


The gem will throw an error if an ENVKEY is missing or invalid.


Assume you have STRIPE_SECRET_KEY set to sk_test_2a33b045e998d2ef60c7861d2ac22ea8 for the development environment in the EnvKey App. You generate a local development ENVKEY.

In your project's gitignored .env file:

# .env

In config/initializers/stripe.rb:

Stripe.api_key = ENV.fetch("STRIPE_SECRET_KEY")

Now STRIPE_SECRET_KEY will stay automatically in sync for all the developers on your team.

For a server, generate a server ENVKEY in the EnvKey App, then set the ENVKEY as an environment variable instead of putting it in a .env file.

Now your servers will stay in sync as well. If you need to rotate your STRIPE_SECRET_KEY you can do it in a few seconds in the EnvKey App, restart your servers, and you're good to go. All your team's developers and all your servers will have the new value.

Overriding Vars

The envkey gem will not overwrite existing environment variables or additional variables set in a .env file. This can be convenient for customizing environments that otherwise share the same configuration. You can also use sub-environments in the EnvKey app for this purpose.

Working Offline

The envkey gem caches your encrypted config in development so that you can still use it while offline. Your config will still be available (though possibly not up-to-date) the next time you lose your internet connection. If you do have a connection available, envkey will always load the latest config. Your cached encrypted config is stored in $HOME/.envkey/cache

For caching purposes, the gem assumes you're in development mode if either ENV["RAILS_ENV"] or ENV["RACK_ENV"] is "development" or "test". If you aren't using Rails or Rack, then it's assumed you're in development mode when a .env file exists in the root of your project.

envkey-fetch binaries

If you look in the ext directory of this gem, you'll find a number of envkey-fetch binaries for various platforms and architectures. These are output by the envkey-fetch Go library. It contains EnvKey's core cross-platform fetching, decryption, verification, web of trust, redundancy, and caching logic. It is completely open source.

x509 error / ca-certificates

On a stripped down OS like Alpine Linux, you may get an x509: certificate signed by unknown authority error when the envkey gem attempts to load your config. envkey-fetch tries to handle this by including its own set of trusted CAs via gocertifi, but if you're getting this error anyway, you can fix it by ensuring that the ca-certificates dependency is installed. On Alpine you'll want to run:

apk add --no-cache ca-certificates

Further Reading

For more on EnvKey in general:

Read the docs.

Read the integration quickstart.

Read the security and cryptography overview.

Need help? Have questions, feedback, or ideas?

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