Passing environment variables to node.js using pm2

November 11, 2015 14.2k views

I am trying to pass some arguments to my Express application which is run by pm2. There wasn't any hint in their documentation to do so, but apparently it's possible to pass some EV to your node application like

SOME_STUFF=xxx pm2 start app.js
3 Answers


Correct - You would use something such as:

USER_ID=123456 USER_KEY=foo node app.js

...to pass environment variables and then access them using




If you need to pass multiple variables, you could also use a process.json/yml file, see here:

Then start like: pm2 start process.[json|yml]

This makes me wonder, in most other cases I'm storing things like third party api keys in my .env file. When I run my app on ubuntu I do env $(cat .env) pm2 start .... Is the process.json file expected to be checked into the repo? If so, I wouldn't want to embed my api keys and what not. Would be nice if pm2 could source the .env file on start up (or specify a file that has the environment vars) so they don't have to be embeded into a checked in file...

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