Secret files are configuration files which contain sensitive material. Additional measurements must be taken that this material is not leaked. For example protection measurements include

  • Secrets files are not in the version control.
  • Secrets files are in version control, but encrypted and reading requires a decryption key. This is so called vault approach.
  • Secrets are not in files, but passed to the process externally, e.g. in operating system environment variables.

Using secrets in your application

Example how to store Facebook app access token securely.

def get_opengraph_access_token(request: Request) -> str:
    """Get FB access_token needed to access OpenGraph API."""

    # Get access to INI secrets read during app start up
    secrets = get_secrets(request.registry)

    token = secrets.get("facebook_crawl.app_access_token")
    if not token:
        raise RuntimeError("secrets.ini [facebook_crawl] section invalid")

    return token

def crawl_facebook(request, asset: Asset):
    count = 0
    dbsession = Session.object_session(asset)
    assert dbsession

    fb_link = asset.other_data.get("facebook")
    assert fb_link

    access_token = get_opengraph_access_token(request)

    # Convert FB page link to page id
    parts = urlparse(fb_link)
    resp = requests.get("", params={"id": fb_link, "access_token": access_token})

    if resp.status_code != 200:
        raise RuntimeError("Could not translate link to page id: {}".format(fb_link))

Then test-secrets.ini has:

# Obtained from
app_access_token = xxxx

INI based secrets

Websauna currently supports simple INI based secrets.

  • File is called either development-secrets.ini, test-secrets.ini or production-secrets.ini.
  • The default scaffold makes sure this file is in .gitignore, so that it does not end up in version control.
  • The main application configuration file (development.ini) refers to this file through websauna.secrets_file configuration variable.
  • The secrets reading supports environment variable interpolation. This is useful for open continuous integration systems like Travis.
  • Random tokens are randomized during the project generation by cookiecutter-websauna-app cookiecutter template.

Example development-secrets.ini:

# This is a secret seed used in email login
secret = 3a704df1836cca928189726b4e692fe59ca41027

# This is a secret seed used in various OAuth related keys
secret = 936e70e21f1b94aa7aa5560bd6b3831c3a1da2ad

# Get Facebook consumer key and consumer secret from
class = authomatic.providers.oauth2.Facebook
consumer_key = 8955434672XXXX
consumer_secret = ef501136facXXXXXXXX
scope = user_about_me, email
mapper =

# Get Twitter consumer key and consumer secret from TODO
class = authomatic.providers.oauth1.Twitter
consumer_key =
consumer_secret =
scope =
mapper =

# The secret used to hash session keys
secret = 646c5d0fe3eebd6d8ab9b41aeefd4658db7e477a

Using environment variables

You can also use environment variable interpolation:

# Read environment variables from os.environ
class = authomatic.providers.oauth2.Facebook
consumer_secret = $FACEBOOK_API_KEY
scope = user_about_me, email
mapper =

Create a file setup-secrets with content:



Then soure it in your shell to import environment variables:

source setup-secrets


Vault based secrets do not exist yet, but is planned for future versions.