Rails: How to fix "Missing secret_key_base for 'production' environment"

rails sqlite3 error windows
an error occurred while installing sqlite3 (, and bundler cannot continue.
package configuration for sqlite3 is not found
cannot install sqlite3 gem
could not find gem 'sqlite3 (~> 1.4) x64-mingw32' in any of the gem sources listed in your gemfile.
gem install sqlite3 1.4 1

I simply can't get past the message:

Missing `secret_key_base` for 'production' environment, set this string with `rails credentials:edit` (ArgumentError)

I have Rails 5.2.0, and ran

EDITOR=vim rails credentials:edit

and inside:

   secret_key_base: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Save and, in the terminal:

RAILS_ENV=production rails c

Am I missing something? I've restarted the server and got the same issue, but have no issue in development mode.

Keep default the secrets.yml file

# config/secrets.yml
  secret_key_base: <%= ENV["SECRET_KEY_BASE"] %>
RAILS_ENV=production SECRET_KEY_BASE=production_test_key rails c

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Rails 5.2.0 requires an extra stage for the production environment:

config.require_master_key = true    # in config/environments/production.rb

Without it, Rails still falls back to the legacy secret.yml mechanism (for now).

Engine Yard's Christopher Rigor has written a concise post on it. The relevant piece:

Reading the Credentials

If you want to use the credentials in the production environment, add the following to config/environments/production.rb

config.require_master_key = true

A good read to also see up and down sides.

Note: As @TomDogg found out, Rails 5.2.1 seems again different, so this answer may only apply to 5.2.0.

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There are no production: development: and test: environment tags in the credentials file. Further information in this DHH's post: https://github.com/rails/rails/pull/30067

So write directly

secret_key_base: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Please don't confuse master key with the secret key base. The master key is used to open the credentials encrypted file.

Switching back to the previous secrets system should not be the solution, nor the accepted answer.

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  some_username: XXXXXXXXX
  some_password: YYYYYYYYY

  some_username: XXXXXXXXX
  some_password: YYYYYYYYY

  some_username: XXXXXXXXX
  some_password: YYYYYYYYY

secret_key_base: ZZZZZZZZZ
# `secret_key_base:` must NOT be indented !
# It must be put at the very start of a new line.
# There is also no need for it in development or test environment,
#   since there are no attacks to be expected.

Also make sure that you respect all YAML indention rules (i.e. 2 spaces only) as failing to do so my make loading of this file fail silently.

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I experienced this same issue when working on a Rails 5.2 application in production.

The problem is not that the secret_key_base wasn't set properly, it rather because of the Passing the environment's name as a regular argument like below is deprecated

rails c RAILS_ENV=production

If you look at your error log generated closely from its top you will see this:

DEPRECATION WARNING: Passing the environment's name as a regular argument is deprecated and will be removed in the next Rails version. Please, use the -e option instead. (called from at bin/rails:9)

To run the rails console in a different environment, use the -e option like this:

rails console -e production

Note: Setting the secret_key_base in the secrets.yml file is not safe, as it's not a secure way of storing the key, please use the encrypted credential.yml file and the master key to decrypt it.

That's all.

I hope this helps

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  • Ensure that this secret file is inside config directory of your app.
  • This solution is the old way of doing things, Rails 5.2 has a better solution ("encrypted credentials").
  • The file name should be secrets.yml. By the way, this solution is not working for me.
  • @zmd94 make sure .yml file indents, This method not deprecated yet. Im running 3-5 projects in production Rails <5.1 versions.
  • Alright, nevermind. I find another solution for this problem by adding config.secret_key_base = 'YourSecretKeyHere' in my production.rb located at config/environments folder. The 'YourSecretKeyHere' can be generated by run bundle exec rake secret command.
  • No, config.require_master_key = true is not necessary (maybe it was necessary earlier). What is required now is config.read_encrypted_secrets = true
  • @TomDogg Is your comment related explictly to Rails 5.2 (the scope of the question) ? This answer is framed for 5.2, and backed by experience and the post from Rigor. It may not apply to other Rails version.
  • I have Rails 5.2.1 running in front of me. It does not have config.require_master_key anywhere, meaning my initial comment remains valid. (And the "Second:" part in my answer is crucial to make this work, you may try it out.)
  • Sorry for shortcut in the above comment. The question is about 5.2.0. I am using that version too. Good to know 5.2.1 is still different. Adding a tag to the question.
  • That's odd since Rails 5.2.2 definitely has #config.require_master_key = true in config/environments/production.rb.
  • Yes, you can have a hierarchical structure in the credentials file, using keys such as for example production:, development: and test:.
  • I didn't say that you cannot have hierarchical structure, of course you can, read the whole post. With secrets if you have a key X under production: it accessed directly by Rails.application.secrets.X Using credentials it should be something like Rails.application.credentials.dig(:production, :X). In 'secrets' the environment is automatically selected. If you use credentials is not advisable to use this categories, just use a different credentials file for each environment and forget about production, development or test. This case if use is similar to the .env file.
  • Keep it simple and Clean always! Why make the answer these much complicated ?