How to Use Environment Variables in Node.js

With Node’s environment variables, we can configure our applications outside of our codebase. Environment variables provide information about the environment in which the process is running. We use Node environment variables to handle sensitive data like passwords, which we shouldn’t hard code, or configuration details that might change between runs, like what port a server should listen on. In Node.js these special variables are accessible on the global process.env object.

In this tutorial, we'll:

  • Learn what Node environment variables are, and when you should use them
  • Learn how to create and use Node environment variables
  • Learn how to configure your Node application to work with environment variables, including using .env files and the dotenv package
  • Show how to read and set environment variables with Node.js

By the end of this tutorial you will be able to explain what Node environment variables are, identify common use cases, and know where to find more information about how to get started using them in your own code.

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