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Reads the variables from .env files and adds them to environment, also automatically guesses and parses to correct types in Python.

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Reads the variables from .env files in similar way that is used in React.js and adds them to environment variables, automatically guessing and parsing to correct types in Python. It is great for managing app settings during development, tests and in production without writing additional configuration, and to hold settings separated by environment type clearly in a one place.


Call load_env on the application start, and it will load environment variables from a certain set of .env files in the selected directory and return and EnvFile object. After that, you can get values by using get method of EnvFile object, or by reading it directly from the environment variables (by using os.environ).

Example .env file looks like this:


Getting started


Install the latest version with:

pip install -U python-env-loader

First steps

Assuming you have created the .env and .env.local files inside your project root directory:

├── .env
└── .env.local

And they have the following content:

# .env
DEBUG=false  # maps to False in python
ALLOWED_HOSTS=,  # maps to empty list []
# .env.local
DEBUG=true  # maps to True in python
ALLOWED_HOSTS=,,localhost:8000  # maps to list [,, localhost:8000]

Add the following code to your settings module - for example in Django:

from env_loader import load_env
env = load_env()  # if env files are in your root directory of the project


from env_loader import load_env
env = load_env("/app")  # if your env file is stored in /app directory

Parsed key/value pairs from the .env and .env.local files are now accessible in env object:

env.get("DEBUG")  # returns True, because .env.local file has higher priority
env.get("IS_TEST_ENV", False)  # returns False, because this key is not present in any env file

or you can use them as system environment variable and they can be conveniently accessed via os.getenv(), but then every value is received as a string:

import os
DEBUG = os.getenv("DEBUG")  # returns "true" AS A STRING

Automatic parsing

python-env-loader automatically guesses the Python type of the environment variable. If a variable consists only of digits, it assumes that it's an integer. If a value consists only of a digits and has a one dot, then it's treated as a float.

More custom parsing:

Python value .env value
True true, True, y, yes
False false, False, n, no
None null, None

Empty string is mapped to None.

You can disable automatic parsing by passing auto_parse=False to load_env function:

from env_loader import load_env, EnvTypes
env = load_env(auto_parse=False)

Switching between setups

When you're loading your env settings, you can switch between 4 of a different setups of them: default, development, production and test. By default, default is used, but you can select different setup by passing a value to env_type argument of load_env function:

from env_loader import load_env, EnvTypes
env = load_env(env_type=EnvTypes.DEVELOPMENT_ENV)

Files hierarchy

For each setup, files on the left have more priority than files on the right:

  • default: .env.local, .env
  • development: .env.development.local, .env.development, .env.local, .env
  • production: .env.production.local, .env.production, .env.local, .env
  • test: .env.test.local, .env.test, .env (note .env.local is missing)

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