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Kevin Davin for Stack Labs

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Manage your secrets in Git with SOPS - Common operations

We saw in the previous article how to use SOPS to store our secrets in Git. Here, we will see some common operations required when you are using SOPS.

Edit a secret

Alice would like to change the value in dev_a secret. To do so, she can use the sops dev_a.encrypted.env command to open the $EDITOR and allow in-place changes.

After the edition, the secret is encrypted back, and she can commit the file in Git.

Add secret access to someone else

Alice would like to let Bobby read the dev_a secret. To do that, she will use sops --rotate --in-place --add-pgp <bobby-key-id> dev_a.encrypted.env command.

After this modification, Bobby can fetch modifications. He is now able to read (and modify) the secret.

Remove secret access to someone else

Alice now wants to remove Bobby access to dev_a secret. She is able to do this by using the sops --rotate --in-place --rm-pgp <bobby-key-id> dev_a.encrypted.env.

After this, Bobby is unable to decrypt the secret anymore.

Configure automatic key selection

Like we saw before, sops commands often requires references to key-id of people concerned by the modification... and this is error prone and hard to manage if you share access with a lot of people.

To simplify this, the team can create a file, named .sops.yaml and placed it in the root of our Git repository.


  # Specific to `dev_a` env
  - path_regex: dev_a\.encrypted\.env$
    # Here, only the `Alice` key-id
    pgp: >-

  # Specific to `int` env
  - path_regex: int\.encrypted\.env$
    # Here, we have :
    # * `Alice` key-id: 5844C613B763F4374BAB2D2FC735658AB38BF93A
    # * `Bobby` key-id: AE0D6FD0242FF896BE1E376B62E1E77388753B8E
    # * `Devon` key-id: 57E6DA39E907744429FB07871141FE9F63986243
    pgp: >-

  # Specific for new env `dev_a_and_b`
  - path_regex: dev_a_and_b\.encrypted.env$
    # Here, we have only `Alice` and `Bobby` :
    # * `Alice` key-id: 5844C613B763F4374BAB2D2FC735658AB38BF93A
    # * `Bobby` key-id: AE0D6FD0242FF896BE1E376B62E1E77388753B8E
    pgp: >-
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Here, Bobby will create a new secret for dev_a_and_b env just with the command sops dev_a_and_b.encrypted.env. No more --pgp <key-id>, sops automatically selects the closest .sops.yaml file from the CWD (see this).

Keys are selected by matching a regex againt the path of the file, so possibilities are wide and this is simpler than using parameters in command line !

Add or Remove access with .sops.yaml

If a .sops.yaml file is used, Alice can simplify the add-pgp or rm-pgp command previously seen. She just need to change the .sops.yaml and use the command sops updatekeys dev_a.encrypted.env to update who can decrypt the file.


Those are the most common operations required to use sops in your project. This is simple and still helps you to keep your secrets in sync with your code !

You can find the source code of this article, files, and scripts in this GitLab repository.

Top comments (2)

achmand profile image
Dylan Vassallo

Thank you for the whole series, very informative and helpful.

Regarding the .sops.yaml configuration file.

Would such file be committed to the git repository or should it be ignored ?

davinkevin profile image
Kevin Davin • Edited

It has to be committed to allow everyone to work with all the configuration.

I don't see any reason to not commit it, except if you don't have anything in it obviously.