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A @hashicorp Vault token helper with support for native secret storage on macOS, Linux, and Windows.


Store and retrieve tokens for multiple Vault ($VAULT_ADDR) instances, simplifying operators' workflows when working with multiple Vaults.

Supported backends:

  • macOS Keychain
  • Linux (DBus Secret Service compatible backends, eg: Gnome Keyring)
  • Windows (WinCred)
  • pass (GPG)

Quickstart (macOS)


brew install joemiller/taps/vault-token-helper

Configure Vault to use the token helper. This will create the ~/.vault config file:

vault-token-helper enable

Authenticate to a Vault instance to encrypt and store a new token locally, for example with the Okta auth backend:

export VAULT_ADDR=https://vault:8200
vault login -method=okta username=joe@dom.tld

Or to store an existing token:

export VAULT_ADDR=https://vault:8200
vault login

Token (will be hidden): <paste token>

List saved tokens with extended status output:

vault-token-helper list -e

Keep reading for further details and installation methods.


One-line install

OS Command
macOS brew install joemiller/taps/vault-token-helper
(LinuxBrew) untested
brew install joemiller/taps/vault-token-helper

Linux packages

Format Arch
rpm amd64
deb amd64

Pre-built binaries

OS Arch binary
macOS amd64 vault-token-helper
Linux amd64 vault-token-helper
Windows amd64 vault-token-helper

From source

Clone this repo and compile for the current architecture:

make build

Verifying releases

macOS binaries are CodeSign'd with a certificate from Apple.

Additionally all releases are signed using this project's GPG key:

  • Subject: vault-token-helper ( project key) <>
  • key-ID 37F9D1272278CD32
  • fingerprint 5EF2 2550 7053 ACC2 728A A51C 37F9 D127 2278 CD32.

The key can be fetched from most keyservers:

gpg --recv-keys 37F9D1272278CD32

Download and verify the signature on the checksum file:

gpg --verify vault-token-helper_0.2.0_checksums.txt.sig vault-token-helper_0.2.0_checksums.txt

After verifying the checksum file's signature use shasum to verify the checksums of the release artifacts:

shasum --check vault-token-helper_0.2.0_checksums.txt



vault-token-helper will attempt to detect the best available token storage backend. On macOS this will be the Keychain app, on Windows the native credential store, and on most Linux distros the DBus Secret-Service API (common packages implementing this are Gnome Keyring and Seahorse).

You may need to install a compatible credential storage service on Linux. For example, on Arch Linux with a vanilla desktop you may need to install gnome-keyring.

Alternatively, the cross-platform, GPG-based pass utility can also be used. You must initialize pass (pass init) with a GPG key before using vault-token-helper.

Configure Vault

Install vault-token-helper then run:

vault-token-helper enable

This creates (overwrites) the $HOME/.vault config file used by the vault CLI.

Alternatively, edit the file and specify the full path to the vault-token-helper binary:

token_helper = "/install/path/to/vault-token-helper"

Configure vault-token-helper

For most installations the defaults should be sufficient.

An optional configuration file located at $HOME/.vault-token-helper.yaml can be used to override the defaults.

A fully annotated example config file is available in ./vault-token-helper.annotated.yaml

Login to Vault

Set VAULT_ADDR to the URL of your Vault instance and run vault commands like normal. For example, to login and store a token on a Vault instance with the Okta auth plugin enabled:

VAULT_ADDR=https://vault:8200 vault login -method=okta username=joe@dom.tld

Or to store an existing token:

$ VAULT_ADDR=https://vault:8200 vault login
Token (will be hidden): <paste token>

Upon successful authentication the Vault token will be stored securely in the platform's secrets store.

Support for storing tokens from multiple Vault instances is implemented. Change the VAULT_ADDR environment variable to switch between Vault instances.

The VAULT_NAMESPACE environment variable is also supported.

Additional commands

The standard store, get, and erase commands are implemented according to the vault token helper spec.

There are a few additional commands:

  • enable: Enable the vault-token-helper by (over)writing the ~/.vault config file.
  • backends: List the available secret storage backends on the current platform.
  • list: List tokens. Add --extended/-e flag to lookup additional details about the stored token by quering the Vault instance's token lookup API.
$ vault-token-helper list --extended

VAULT_ADDR                       display_name      ttl         renewable  policies
----------                       ------------      ---         ---------  --------
https://vault-prod.dom.tld:8200  okta-joe@dom.tld  527h46m18s  true       [admin default]
https://vault-dev.dom.tld:8200   okta-joe@dom.tld  275h13m17s  true       [admin default]
https://localhost                ** ERROR **       Get https://localhost/v1/auth/token/lookup-self: dial tcp connect: connection refused


Please open a GitHub issue.

Setting the KEYRING_DEBUG environment variable to any value will produce additional output that may be useful for debugging common issues. Please set this variable and then run a command such as vault-token-helper list. Include the debug output in your issue.



Run tests: make test.

There is test coverage in pkg/store covering all of the supported backends. Additionally, there is an integration test in the cmd package.

Some tests are platform specific and difficult to test outside of a full desktop environment due to interactive elements such as password prompts. To aid in development there are Vagrant VMs with GUIs enabled in the ./vagrant/ directory. See the ./vagrant/ for further details.

The most complete way to run all tests would be to run make test under each platform (macOS, Linux, Windows).


Github Actions is used for CI/CD.

Tests are run on pull requests and versioned releases are generated on all successful master branch builds.

Some tests are not run in CI/CD due to requiring an interactive desktop such as the Linux DBus Secret Service backend.

Release Management

Releases are cut automatically on all successful master branch builds. This project uses autotag and goreleaser to automate this process.

Semver (vMajor.Minor.Patch) is used for versioning and releases. By default, autotag will bump the patch version on a successful master build, eg: v1.0.0 -> v1.0.1.

To bump the major or minor release instead, include [major] or [minor] in the commit message. Refer to the autotag docs for more details.

Include [skip ci] in the commit message to prevent a new version from being released. Only use this for things like documentation updates.

A local release can be built and signed with a copy of the project GPG key's signing subkey:

$ GPG_KEY="$(cat vault-token-helper.signing-key.gpg | base64)" make release

# or a snapshot build:

$ GPG_KEY="$(cat vault-token-helper.signing-key.gpg | base64)" make snapshot

Apple codesign

In order to avoid macOS keychain from always prompting for passwords the macOS binaries are codesigned with a cert issued by Apple.


after v0.1.0:

  • The wincred lib used by 99designs/keyring has more configuration options available. Make these available in 99designs/keyring and vault-token-helper.
  • add a flag like --extended to list that will query vault for additional token info, eg: valid/invalid, ttl, policies
  • ci/cd:
    • sign checksum.txt and assets in goreleaser.yaml GPG key
    • apple codesign the macos binaries
    • linux tests, figure out how to test dbus secret-service in headless CI. probably need a stub to connect to Dbus and provide the 'prompt' service