Access secrets via ENV or some backend service like vault
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You have a 12 factor app. You want to configure it using environment variables. But you don't want the world to know your secrets. Or, better yet, you want your secrets to have limited-time access.

What you really want is a way to be able to configure your app via the envornment, but fall back to a secret storage service like vault!

This gem does just that.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'secret_garden'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install secret_garden


First, define a Secretfile for your project that maps environment variable names to secret key paths in your vault:

# Secretfile
AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID     secrets/services/aws:id
AWS_ACCESS_KEY_SECRET secrets/services/aws:secret

In your app, instead of always consulting ENV['AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID], you can use SecretGarden:

# In future we will move each backend out to a gem, so that you don't need to
# download a million gems like you do with Fog.
require 'secret_garden/vault'

SecretGarden.add_backend :vault

s3 = access_key_id: SecretGarden.fetch('AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID')

In Rails

Your app may need certain environment variables that should fall back to being read from vault if not set, such as DATABASE_URL. Simply modify config/application.rb to pre-load them:

# config/application.rb
require File.expand_path('../boot', __FILE__)
require File.expand_path('../preinitialize', __FILE__)

require "rails"
# etc ...
# config/preinitialize.rb
require 'secret_garden'
require 'vault'

SecretGarden.export 'DATABASE_URL'


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake spec to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in version.rb, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at