Environment variables in Masonite are defined in a .env file and should contain all environment variables needed for your project.

You can have multiple environment files that are loaded when the server first starts. It is often helpful to have different variable values depending on the environment where the application is running (locally, during tests or on a production server).

Also it might be useful to have more global environment variables that can be shared across your team for 3rd party services like Stripe or Mailgun and then have more developer specific values like database connections or different storage drivers for development.

We'll walk through how to configure your environments in this documentation.


Environment variables should be set on a project per project basis inside your .env file.

Never commit any of your .env files into source control ! It would be a security risk in the event someone gained access to your repository since sensitive credentials and data would get exposed.

That is why .env and .env.* are in the project .gitignore file by default, so you should not worry about accidentally committing those files to source control.

Getting Started

In a fresh Masonite installation, a .env.example file located at project root directory will define minimum and common configuration values for a Masonite application. During the installation process, this file will be copied to .env file.

If you have installed Masonite but do not see this .env file then you can create it manually and copy and paste the contents of .env-example file.

Loading Order

Environment files are loaded in this order:

  1. Masonite will load the .env file located at your project root into the Python environment.

  2. Masonite will look for an APP_ENV variable inside the already loaded .env. If it is defined it will try to load the .env.{APP_ENV} file corresponding to this environment name.

For example, if APP_ENV is set to local, Masonite will additionally load the .env.local environment file.


When the server is ready all those variables will be loaded into the current environment ready to be accessed in the different Masonite configuration files or directly with env() helper.

Defining Variables

If some variables contain spaces you should put variable content into double quotes:

APP_NAME="Masonite test project"

Reading Variables


You can use Python standard os.getenv() method to get an environment variable value. It looks like:

import os

is_debug = os.getenv("APP_DEBUG") #== "True" (str)

Notice that this method does not cast types, so here we got a string instead of a boolean value.


You can also use Masonite helper env to read an environment variable value. It looks like:

from masonite.environment import env

is_debug = env("APP_DEBUG", False) #== True (bool)

Note that you can provide a default value if the environment variable is not defined. Default value is "". For convenience this helper is casting types. Here are different examples of variables type casting:

Env Var ValueCasts to (type)


5432 (int)


True (bool)

None (None)


"" (str)


True (bool)


False (bool)


False (bool)


smtp (string)

If you do not wish to cast the value then you can provide a third parameter cast=False:

from masonite.environment import env

env('APP_DEBUG', False, cast=False) #== "False" (str)

Getting Current Environment

The current Masonite environment is defined through the APP_ENV variable located in your .env file. You can access it easily through the Masonite app environment() helper:

app.environment() #== local

When running tests the environment will be set to testing. You can use is_running_tests() helper to check if environment is testing:

app.is_running_tests() #== True if running tests

You can also check if the environment is a production environment with:

app.is_production() #== True if APP_ENV=production

Debug Mode

The debug mode is controlled by the APP_DEBUG environment variable used in config/application.py configuration file. When crafting a new project, the debug mode is enabled (APP_ENV=True). It should stay enabled for local development.

When debug mode is enabled all exceptions (or routes not found) are rendered as an HTML debug error page containing a lot of information to help you debug the problem. When disabled, the default 500, 404, 403 error pages are rendered.

You can check if debug mode is enabled through the Masonite app is_debug() helper or with the config helper:

app.is_debug() #== True

from masonite.configuration import config

config("application.debug") #== True

Never deploy an application in production with debug mode enabled ! This could lead to expose some sensitive configuration data and environment variables to the end user.

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