Environment Variables

You can utilize environment variables with Gitpod in the same way as you do locally. You can set environment variables at the user level, which will make them available in all your workspaces (or a specified subset of them). Additionally, you can also set environment variables at the repository level, which will make them available in all workspaces for that repository in your organization.

Default Environment Variables

Below are some environment variables which are set automatically by Gitpod and are guaranteed to exist:

  • GITPOD_WORKSPACE_ID: The Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) associated with the workspace.
  • GITPOD_WORKSPACE_URL: The unique URL of the workspace.
  • GITPOD_REPO_ROOT: Path to the directory where your git repository was cloned inside the workspace.

Tip: Try running env | grep GITPOD_ on a workspace terminal to see all the Gitpod specific environment variables. These can be useful for scripting dynamic workspace behavior.

Reserved Prefix

Environment variables with the prefix GITPOD_ are reserved for internal use by Gitpod and are overridden on every workspace startup. This means that a user-defined variable set with the name GITPOD_FOOBAR will be ignored and will not be accessible in the workspace.

User-Specific Environment Variables

Gitpod supports encrypted, user-specific environment variables. They are stored as part of your user settings and can be used to set access tokens, or pass any other kind of user-specific information to your workspaces.

Ways of setting user-specific environment variables

Using the command line: gp env

The Workspace CLI prints and modifies the persistent environment variables associated with your user for the current repository.

To set the persistent environment variable foo to the value bar use:

language icon bash
gp env foo=bar

Beware that this does not modify your current terminal session, but rather persists this variable for the next workspace on this repository. gp can only interact with the persistent environment variables for this repository, not the environment variables of your terminal. If you want to set that environment variable in your terminal, you can do so using -e:

language icon bash
eval $(gp env -e foo=bar)

If you’re using the fish shell:

language icon bash
eval (gp env -e foo=bar)

To update the current terminal session with the latest set of persistent environment variables, use:

language icon bash
eval $(gp env -e)

If you’re using the fish shell:

language icon bash
eval (gp env -e)

To delete a persistent environment variable use:

language icon bash
gp env -u foo

# And if you want to remove it from your shell session too:
unset foo

Note that you can only delete/unset variables if their repository pattern matches the repository of the workspace exactly. This means that you cannot delete environment variables with a repository pattern such as */foo, foo/* or */*. To remove them, you can use the account settings.

language icon bash
  gp env [flags]

  -e, --export   produce a script that can be eval'ed in Bash
  -h, --help     help for env
  -u, --unset    deletes/unsets persisted environment variables

Using the account settings

You can also configure and view the persistent environment variables in your account settings, where you can add as many environment variables as you wish.

Environment Variables in Account Settings

The repository pattern of each variable determines the workspaces they will be available in. Repository patterns follow the owner/repository pattern. You can use a wildcard on either of the parts, e.g. gitpod-io/* would make that variable available in all repositories owned by gitpod-io. Conversely, */vscode would make that variable available on all repositories called vscode, which is especially useful for forks. Subsequently, */* makes that variable available in all of your workspaces.

Note: For GitLab, which allows to have nested group/repository structures like owner/some-group/sub-group/repo, the number of segments in the pattern has to match the number of segments in the repository name. This constraint exists to avoid surprises and leaking of content into unexpected repositories. For matching arbitrary segments to the right, there is a dedicated pattern of **.

Some example patterns (for GitLab) and results for the mentioned owner/some-group/sub-group/repo repository:

  • */**: ✅
  • */*: ❌ (for GitLab)
  • owner/some-group/*/*: ✅
  • owner/some-group/*: ❌
  • owner/some-group/**: ✅
  • owner/**: ✅
  • owner/some-group/sub-group/repo: ✅
  • */some-group/sub-group/repo: ✅

Beware: While the variable values are stored encrypted, they are available as plain text inside a workspace. Be careful when sharing your live workspace or when using */* or */** as repository pattern.

Using the DOCKERD_ARGS environment variable

The DOCKERD_ARGS environment variable can be used to specify additional arguments to the docker installation running in your workspace. Currently, mapping a user in your container to the gitpod user in your workspace is supported. This helps if you are using an unprivileged user with your containers (e.g. user 1000 in a node image) but need to edit files with VS Code that have been created within the container. The content of the environment variable should look like this:

language icon json
{ "remap-user": "1000" }

Using secrets with 3rd-party services

If you use tools like aws, gcloud or vault with Gitpod, you might want to consider using OpenID Connect (OIDC) over environment variables for authentication. OIDC makes the whole process of sharing secrets between a workspace and a 3rd-party more secure and scalable.

Repository-Specific Environment Variables

Environment variables defined in a repository’s settings will be visible in prebuilds, and optionally also in workspaces. This is useful for prebuilds to access restricted services. Repository-Specific Environment Variables will take precedence over User-Specific Environment Variables. Only members of the Gitpod organization where the repository resides will be able to access the environment variables inside a running workspace. Even if the imported repository is public, people outside of your Gitpod organization will not have access to these environment variables.

Warning: Care should be taken with secrets. If your repository is public and prebuilds are enabled, ensure that neither of your init or before task commands in .gitpod.yml are exposing the sensitive environment variable values to the filesystem (i.e. persistent /workspace dir) and that pullRequestsFromForks (for GitHub) is set to false.

Task terminal-specific Environment Variables

You can set environment variables for a Gitpod task terminal by setting the env property within the task definition in your .gitpod.yml. Please note that such environment variables will be limited to the task terminal and are not globally set across the workspace.

Using the env keyword

language icon yml
    - name: Example of setting an environment variable for a task terminal
          PRINT_ME: 'Hello World!'
      command: echo "$PRINT_ME"

Note: The values should be a static string or integer, you can’t refer to an existing variable via env keyword.

Using the task SHELL

language icon yml
    - name: Example of starting yarn with a custom environment variable set
      command: |
          # Example for referring to the existing system variables
          export API_URL="$HOSTNAME"

          # Print out the environment variable
          echo "$API_URL"

          yarn start

    - name: Example of updating PATH environment variable inside a task shell
      command: |
          # Download and install `fzf` binary to ~/.local/bin/
          mkdir -p ~/.local/bin
          curl -sL "https://github.com/junegunn/fzf/releases/download/0.35.1/fzf-0.35.1-linux_amd64.tar.gz" | tar -C ~/.local/bin -xpz

          # Update PATH variable
          export PATH="$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH"

          # Now `fzf` can be called without full path from the task shell
          ls / | fzf

Note: You can use this method when you need to refer to other variables or want to use scripting to set them conditionally.

See .gitpod.yml for more details.

Providing one-time environment variables via the context URL

This feature is great for setting one-time environment variables for dynamic workspace configurations or setups but is not appropriate for configuring sensitive information, such as passwords or long-lived API tokens. Gitpod and the Open Web Application Security Project recommends that you do not pass sensitive information through query strings. Refer to CWE-598 to learn more about this recommendation.

In addition to user-specific environment variables, Gitpod also allows passing in variables through the gitpod.io/# URL. The syntax for that is:


The values are URL encoded to allow any non-ascii characters in values. In case of a conflict, e.g. in the example above if the user already had a variable var2 set, the user’s value would be used.

Exporting all the Gitpod environment variables that you created

You can run the following command in your Gitpod Workspace terminal to save your environment variables (which you have configured in Gitpod Environment Variables) in a different file (e.g.: gitpod.env):

language icon bash
gp env > gitpod.env

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