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Technical References

Manage environment variables

Environment variables are a method for injecting information into a VIP Platform environment.

Environment variables are commonly used to:

  • Provide sensitive values (such as API secrets) to an application without committing the values to a site’s GitHub repository or storing the values in a site’s database.
  • Provide flags that can be used to vary behavior between environments. For example, an environment variable can be set to provide one value to a production environment and a different value to a develop environment.


Managing environment variables with VIP-CLI


Each VIP Platform environment has its own discrete set of environment variables. For an environment variable to be available on all environments, it must be set on each environment separately.

VIP-CLI commands to set environment variables require the destination app and environment to be specified, following the syntax @<app-alias>.<env>.

The examples below use the <app-alias> value wpvip, and the <env> value production.


Add or update an environment variable and assign it a value.

In this example, the new environment variable EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR is added:

vip @wpvip.production config envvar set EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR          

The value 1234567890 is assigned to the EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR variable at the next prompt:

For multiline input, use the --from-file option.

✔ Enter the value for EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR: · 1234567890

Confirm that the entered value is correct:

✔ Please confirm the input value above (y/N) · true

An environment variable and value that has been successfully added will return the output:

Successfully set environment variable "EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR"


Accepted values: A relative or absolute path to a UTF-8-encoded text file

The --from-file option extracts a string from the file existing at the relative or absolute path in the passed value.

Use of the --from-file option is required for a string that has multiple lines created by return values.

For example, to assign the multiline contents of a *.pem file as the value for the environment variable EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR:

vip @wpvip.production config envvar set EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR --from-file=/path/to/public.pem


Remove an environment variable.

vip @wpvip.production config envvar delete EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR


Retrieve the value of an environment variable.

vip @wpvip.production config envvar get EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR


Retrieve the values of all environment variables.

vip @wpvip.production config envvar get-all

If values exist, they will be returned in this format:

│ name │ value │
│ EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR │ 1234567890 │


List all environment variables.

vip @wpvip.production config envvar list

If values exist, they will be returned in this format:

│ name            │

Help menu

View the full list of commands, options, and examples for vip config envvar:

vip config envvar --help

Accessing environment variables in an application

Environment variables are always provided as strings, even if their value resembles another data type (e.g., "true""123""[1, 2, 3]"). String values can be converted or deserialized by an application into the desired data type, but they should be validated thoroughly.


New or updated environment variables will not be available until the application’s next code deployment.

On VIP, environment variables are accessed differently depending on the application type.


Environment variables are provided as actual environment variables and are accessed using process.env. For example:

const apiKey = process.env.EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR || null;


Environment variables are accessed using the Environment::get_var() helper method or vip_get_env_var helper function. For example:

// Using class method
$api_key = Automattic\VIP\Environment::get_var( 'EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR', $default_value );
// Using helper function
$api_key = vip_get_env_var( 'EXAMPLE_ENV_VAR', $default_value );


Both the the Environment::get_var() helper method and the vip_get_env_var helper function are available for use in vip-config.php.

Reserved names

Some environment variable names are reserved:

  • To avoid conflicts, names reserved for WordPress constants (e.g., DB_NAME) cannot be used as environment variables.
  • Names starting with VIP_ are reserved for use by VIP.

Last updated: November 24, 2021