An encrypted environment configuration handler

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10.0.2 2024-01-24 17:26 UTC

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Last update: 2024-04-22 07:08:36 UTC


The secure_dotenv library provides an easy way to handle the encryption and decryption of the information in your .env file.

One of the generally accepted security best practices is preventing the use of hard-coded, plain-text credentials of any kind. This library allows you to store the values in your .env as encrypted strings but still be able to access them transparently without worrying about implementing your own encryption method.


Download Composer package

You can install the library easily with a Composer require call on the command line:

composer require staabm/secure_dotenv

Generate the key

First, you'll need to generate your encryption key. The library makes use of the defuse/php-encryption library for it's encryption handling.

php vendor/bin/generate-defuse-key

This will result in a randomized string to use with the php-encryption library's default encryption. This string should be placed in a file where the script can access it.

NOT: According to security best practices, this key file should remain outside of the document root (not web accessible) but should be readable by the web server user (or executing user).

Create the .env file

You'll then need to make the .env file you're wanting to place the values in:

touch /project/root/dir/.env

Loading the values

With the key file and .env created, you can now create a new instance that can be used to read the encrypted values:

require_once __DIR__.'/vendor/autoload.php';

$keyfile = __DIR__.'/keyfile';
$envFile = __DIR__.'/.env';

$d = new \staabm\SecureDotenv\Parser($keyfile, $envFile);

// The contents here is the set of all decrypted values fron the .env

You don't have to use a file as a source for the key either - you can use a string (potentially something fron an $_ENV variable or some other source):

require_once __DIR__.'/vendor/autoload.php';

$envFile = __DIR__.'/.env';

$d = new \staabm\SecureDotenv\Parser($key, $envFile);


This can be useful to help prevent the key from being read by a local file inclusion attack.

If there are values currently in your .env file that are unencrypted, the library will pass them over and just return the plain-text version as pulled directly from the .env configuration.

Setting values

You can also dynamically set values into your .env file using the save() method on the Parser class:

require_once __DIR__.'/vendor/autoload.php';

$keyfile = __DIR__.'/keyfile';
$envFile = __DIR__.'/.env';

$d = new \staabm\SecureDotenv\Parser($keyfile, $envFile);

$keyName = 'test1';
$keyValue = 'foobarbaz';

if ($d->save($keyName, $keyValue)) {
    echo 'Save successful';
} else {
    echo 'There was an error while saving the value.';

There's no need to worry about encrypting the value as the library takes care of that for you and outputs the encrypted result to the .env file.

Encrypting values via CLI

This library also comes with a handy way to encrypt values and write them out to the .env configuration automatically:

vendor/bin/encrypt-env --keyfile=/path/to/keyfile

This tool will ask a few questions about the location of the .env file and the key/value pair to set. When it completes it will write the new, encrypted, value to the .env file. If a value is already set in the configuration and you want to overwrite it, call the encrypt script with the --override command line flag.


this package is a maintained for of originally created by Chris Cornutt aka @enygma