"app error: Missing `secret_token` and `secret_key_base` for 'production' environment"

Posted February 10, 2015 19.7k views

Using the 1-Click Ruby on Rails on Ubuntu 14.04 Image, I’m getting the following error on initial request to the app:

ERROR: app error: Missing `secret_token` and `secret_key_base` for 'production' environment, set these values in `config/secrets.yml` (RuntimeError)

my config/secrets.yml file includes the following:

# Do not keep production secrets in the repository,
# instead read values from the environment.
  secret_key_base: <%= ENV["SECRET_KEY_BASE"] %>
  secret_token: <%= ENV["SECRET_KEY_BASE"] %>

and I’ve set ENV["SECRET_KEY_BASE"]

‘rails’, '4.2.0’
ruby '2.1.3’
unicorn (4.8.3)

all my reading says that secret_token is no longer used in Rails 4.2.


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5 answers

The only solution I found was to put the secretkeybase && secret_token values directly into secrets.yml.

apparently Unicorn can’t read from the Environment Variables. (I have nothing to back that up, only conjecture and a comment on StackOverflow which identified that as a solution to a similar issue)

The solution is to set SECRETKEYBASE in /etc/apache2/envvars (ubuntu 14.04) or wherever your
webserver’s environment variables are set.

I can refute Unicorn not being able to read environment variables.

I am using a similar stack (rbenv, nginx, Unicorn) on CentOS machines and I set environment variables with rbenv-vars (although I have been using custom scripts in /etc/profile.d and they also worked like a charm).

I published an article about Rails and environment variables yesterday ( – while it does not solve your problem, it may point you in the right direction …

I use this with capistrano. it works nice:

I create a file: config/local_env.yml, put my variables there

and then in application rb

config.beforeconfiguration do
file = File.join(Rails.root, ‘config’, 'localenv.yml’)
file)).each do |key, value|
ENV[key.tos] = value
end if File.exists?(env

Include in /etc/default/unicorn
export SECRETKEYBASE=your_code