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While Sails dutifully adheres to the philosophy of convention-over-configuration, it is important to understand how to customize those handy defaults from time to time. For almost every convention in Sails, there is an accompanying set of configuration options that allow you to adjust or override things to fit your needs. This section of the docs includes a complete reference of the configuration options available in Sails.

Sails apps can be configured programmatically, by specifying environment variables or command-line arguments, by changing the local or global .sailsrc files, or (most commonly) using the boilerplate configuration files conventionally located in the config/ folder of new projects. The authoritative, merged-together configuration used in your app is available at runtime on the sails global as sails.config.

Standard configuration files (config/*)

A number of configuration files are included in new Sails apps by default. These boilerplate files include a number of inline comments, which are designed to provide a quick, on-the-fly reference without having to jump back and forth between the docs and your text editor.

In most cases, the top-level keys on the sails.config object (e.g. sails.config.views) correspond to a particular configuration file (e.g. config/views.js) in your app; however configuration settings may be arranged however you like across the files in your config/ directory. The important part is the name (i.e. key) of the setting- not the file it came from.

For instance, let's say you add a new file, config/foo.js:

// config/foo.js
// The object below will be merged into `sails.config.blueprints`:
module.exports.blueprints = {
  shortcuts: false

For an exhaustive reference of individual configuration options, and the file they live in by default, check out the reference pages in this section, or take a look at "config/" in The Anatomy of a Sails App for a higher-level overview.

Environment-specific files (config/env/*)

Settings specified in the standard configuration files will generally be available in all environments (i.e. development, production, test, etc.). If you'd like to have some settings take effect only in certain environments, you can use the special environment-specific files and folders:

  • Any files saved under the /config/env/<environment-name> folder will be loaded only when Sails is lifted in the <environment-name> environment. For example, files saved under config/env/production will only be loaded when Sails is lifted in production mode.
  • Any files saved as config/env/<environment-name>.js will be loaded only when Sails is lifted in the <environment-name> environment, and will be merged on top of any settings loaded from the environment-specific subfolder. For example, settings in config/env/production.js will take precedence over those in the files in the config/env/production folder.

The config/local.js file

You may use the config/local.js file to configure a Sails app for your local environment (your laptop, for example). The settings in this file take precedence over all other config files except .sailsrc. Since they're intended only for local use, they should not be put under version control (and are included in the default .gitignore file for that reason). Use local.js to store local database settings, change the port used when lifting an app on your computer, etc.

See for more information.

Accessing sails.config in your app

The config object is available on the Sails app instance (sails). By default, this is exposed on the global scope during lift, and therefore available from anywhere in your app.

// This example checks that, if we are in production mode, csrf is enabled.
// It throws an error and crashes the app otherwise.
if (sails.config.environment === 'production' && !sails.config.csrf) {
  throw new Error('STOP IMMEDIATELY ! CSRF should always be enabled in a production deployment!');

Setting sails.config values directly using environment variables

In addition to using configuration files, you can set individual configuration values on the command line when you lift Sails by prefixing the config key names with sails_, and separating nested key names with double-underscores (__). For example, you could do the following to set the CORS origin (sails.config.cors.origin) to "" on the command line:

sails_cors__origin="" sails lift

This value will be in effect only for the lifetime of this particular Sails instance, and will override any values in the configuration files.

Custom Configuration

Sails recognizes many different settings, namespaced under different top level keys (e.g. sails.config.sockets and sails.config.blueprints). However you can also use sails.config for your own custom configuration (e.g. sails.config.someProprietaryAPI.secret).

// config/linkedin.js
module.exports.linkedin = {
  apiKey: '...',
  apiSecret: '...'
// In your controller/service/model/hook/whatever:
// ...
var apiKey = sails.config.linkedin.apiKey;
var apiSecret = sails.config.linkedin.apiSecret;
// ...

Configuring the sails Command-Line Interface

When it comes to configuration, most of the time you'll be focused on managing the runtime settings for a particular app: the port, database connections, and so forth. However it can also be useful to customize the Sails CLI itself; to simplify your workflow, reduce repetitive tasks, perform custom build automation, etc. Thankfully, Sails v0.10 added a powerful new tool to do just that.

The .sailsrc file is unique from other configuration sources in Sails in that it may also be used to configure the Sails CLI-- either system-wide, for a group of directories, or only when you are cd'ed into a particular folder. The main reason to do this is to customize the generators that are used when sails generate and sails new are run, but it can also be useful to install your own custom generators or apply hard-coded config overrides.

And since Sails will look for the "nearest" .sailsrc in the ancestor directories of the current working directory, you can safely use this file to configure sensitive settings you can't check in to your cloud-hosted code repository (like your database password.) Just include a .sailsrc file in your "$HOME" directory. See the docs on .sailsrc files for more information.


The built-in meaning of the settings in sails.config are, in some cases, only interpreted by Sails during the "lift" process. In other words, changing some options at runtime will have no effect. To change the port your app is running on, for instance, you can't just change sails.config.port-- you'll need to change or override the setting in a configuration file or as a command-line argument, etc., then restart the server.

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