Key Value Secrets Storage for Configuration in Tyk

Last updated: 4 minutes read.

Tyk Gateway as of v3.0 supports storing secrets in KV systems such as Vault, and Consul. You can reference these values from the KV store in your tyk.conf or API definition. This has many benefits such as:

  • Allows for ease of updating secrets across multiple machines rather than having to manually update each and everyone of them.
  • Allows for proper separation of concerns. Developers don’t have access to these secrets. DevOps and/or only authorised people do and just pass along the name used to store the secret in the KV store.
  • Using the local “secrets” section inside tyk.conf allows you to have per Gateway variables, like machine ID, and inject it as part of headers or body.

Supported KV store systems

  • Consul
  • Vault
  • Local secrets section inside config.

Connect Tyk with the KV stores

You can use all three options as shown in the example of tyk.conf below:

  "kv": {
    "consul": {
      "address": "localhost:8025",
      "scheme": "http",
      "datacenter": "dc-1",
      "timeout": 30,
      "http_auth": {
        "username": "username",
        "password": "password"
      "wait_time": 10,
      "token": "Token if available",
      "tls_config": {
        "address": "",
        "ca_path": "",
        "ca_file": "",
        "cert_file": "",
        "key_file": "",
        "insecure_skip_verify": false
    "vault": {
      "address": "http://localhost:1023",
      "agent_adress": "input if available",
      "max_retries": 3,
      "timeout": 30,
      "token": "token if available",
      "kv_version": 2
  "secrets": {
    "gateway": "secret"

Alternatively, you can configure it using the environment variables. For example, these are the environment variables you need to define for Vault:


For more details, please refer to the configuration reference page.

Usage information

The KV system can be used in the following places:

  1. Configuration file - tyk.conf
  2. Environment variables - .env which supersedes the configuration file.
  3. API Definition - currently, only the listen path and target URL
  4. Body transforms and URL rewrites

1. Using Tyk Configuration File

For use inside the Tyk configuration file, target URL and listen path, pls use the following notation:

Store Example
Consul consul://path/to/value
Vault vault://engine/path/to/secret.actual_secret_name
Configuration file secrets://value

Note about Vault

In traditional systems, secrets are typically stored individually, each with its own unique key. However, in Vault, it allows for a more flexible approach where multiple secrets can be grouped together and stored under a single key. This grouping allows for better organization and management of related secrets, making it easier to retrieve and manage them collectively. This means that for Vault you use the dot notation to retrieve the exact one we need such as below : Example for a secret gw under tyk:

  1. Enable the kv secrets engine under the path secret within Vault using:
    vault secrets enable -version=2 -path=secret kv
  2. Create an arbitrary secret tyk with the key gw and value 123 in Vault:
    vault kv put secret/tyk gw=123
  3. To retrieve the secret from within Tyk Gateway, we reference the secret using: TYK_GW_SECRET=vault://secret/

To retrieve the secret from within Vault:

curl \
  --header "X-Vault-Token: <your_vault_token>" \
  --request GET \
   "request_id": "0c7e44e1-b71d-2102-5349-b5c60c13fb02",
   "lease_id": "",
   "lease_duration": 0,
   "renewable": false,
   "data": {
      "gw": "123"
      "excited": "yes",
      "foo": "world",
      "created_time": "2019-08-28T14:18:44.477126Z",
      "deletion_time": "",
      "destroyed": false,
      "version": 1
   "auth": ...

There is no need to append /data to the secret path.

2. Tyk Environment Variable

For use inside environment variables, the following secrets are supported:


If you want to set the local “secrets” section as an environment variable, you should use the following notation: TYK_GW_SECRETS=key:value,key2:value2

3. API Definition - ListenPath and Target URL

If you wish to override either the listen path or target URL in an API definition you can store a number of secrets in this format:


where foo is stored in your API Definition as env://foo or env://bar for listen_path or target_url.


You define names of your choice for the listen path and target URL as environment variables. In this example mylistenpath for the listen path and myupstream for the target URL.


Then, in the Tyk Classic API definition, you set these names in the listen path and target URL fields, with a env:// prefix:

"proxy": {
    "preserve_host_header": false,
    "listen_path": "env://mylistenpath",
    "target_url": "env://myupstream",

This way Tyk Gateway will know to lookup environment variables named TYK_SECRET_MYLISTENPATH and TYK_SECRET_MYUPSTREAM

4. Body Transforms and URL Rewrites

For body transforms and URL rewrites, the prefixes are $secret_vault., $secret_consul. and $secret_conf.