Digital ocean app platform enviroment variable not working during building

Hello, I was following the Django deployment tutorial ( and it says to set the enviroment variables to distinguish between dev and prod enviroment and to save the database settings, I have done that but when I run the building I get this error Exception: DATABASE_URL environment variable not defined

How can I fix that?

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Jon Friesen
DigitalOcean Employee
DigitalOcean Employee badge
September 14, 2022

👋 @taaksrls

The DATABASE_URL bind variables are not available during build time. You have a couple options:

  • Do your DB operations on app startup
  • Use a Job
  • Hardcode your database URL into an environment variable (preferably as a secret) – this is not ideal for dev databases as those are managed by App Platform and can be unavailable during build time.

Hope this helps!

In the envs in the app spec the variable is defined as this

  • key: DATABASE_URL scope: RUN_AND_BUILD_TIME value: ${cashunter-db.DATABASE_URL}

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