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How to add and access env variables in Phoenix

Adding environment variables for a Phoenix web app is fairly straightforward but if googling it can take some time to find a simple answer. In this tutorial I will show you how to set up your environment variables using a .env file.

  1. In the root of your Phoenix directory create a new .env file.
  2. Add that file to your .gitignore so you don’t expose secrets to the outside world. If you accidentally forget to add this to your .gitignore and make a commit, anyone who gains to that commit will be able to view your secrets to that point.
  3. Add and export your env variables in the .env file:
    export STRIPE_API_KEY="some test_key"
  4. On your terminal execute source .env from the root directory of your project.

Following the execution of that last step you will be able to access environment variables throughout your project through:


In my case I made reference to this config value in config.exs:

config :stripity_stripe, api_key: System.get_env("STRIPE_API_KEY")