Quickstart: Set and retrieve a secret from Azure Key Vault using a Node Web App

This Quickstart shows how to store a secret in Key Vault and how to retrieve it using a Web app. This web app may be run locally or in Azure. The Quickstart uses Node.js and Azure Managed Identities

  • Create a Key Vault.
  • Store a secret in Key Vault.
  • Retrieve a secret from Key Vault.
  • Create an Azure Web Application.
  • Enable Azure Managed Identities.
  • Grant the required permissions for the web application to read data from Key vault.

Before you proceed make sure that you are familiar with the Key Vault Concepts.

SDK Versions

In this sample, you will find the following folders:


Log in to Azure

  1. Open a command prompt, i.e. cmd, terminal, etc
  2. Execute the following command to log in to Azure
az login

Create Resource Group

1. What is a Resource Group

An Azure Resource Group is a logical container into which Azure resources are deployed and managed.

2. How to create a Resource Group

Create a Resource Group with the az group create command.

When you create a Resource Group you have give it a unique custom name. Please think of a custom name for your Resource Group and replace the text below "<MyResourceGroupName>" with the custom name you created.

The following example creates a Resource Group named in the eastus location.

# To list locations: az account list-locations --output table
az group create --name "<MyResourceGroupName>" --location eastus

The Resource Group you just created is used throughout this tutorial.

Create an Azure Key Vault

Next you will create a Key Vault using the Resource Group created in the previous step. Provide the following information:

  • Vault name - Create a custom name and replace "<MyKeyVaulName>" below.
  • Resource group name - Use the same Resource Group Name you used above.
  • The location - Use the same location that you created the Resource Group in above.
az keyvault create --name "<MyKeyVaultName>" --resource-group "<MyResourceGroupName>" --location eastus

Add a Secret to Key Vault

Next, we'll add a secret to Key Vault to help illustrate how Secret Value works. You could store an SQL connection string or any other information that you need to keep secure and make it available to your application.

In this tutorial, the password will be called AppSecret and will store the value of MySecret in it:

az keyvault secret set --vault-name "<MyKeyVaultName>" --name AppSecret --value MySecret

To view the value contained in the Secret as plain text, please type the following command. This command shows the Secret Information including the URI. After completing these steps, you should have a URI to a Secret in an Azure Key Vault. Copy the output from the previous command to text editor. You will need it later:

az keyvault secret show --name AppSecret --vault-name "<MyKeyVaultName>"

Clone the repo

Run the following command to clone this Quickstart code to your local machine:

git clone https://github.com/Azure-Samples/key-vault-node-quickstart.git

Install dependencies

Run the following command to install dependencies for "SDK version 3.0" and "SDK version 4.0":

  • SDK version 4.0
cd key-vault-node-quickstart-v4 
npm install
  • SDK version 3.0
cd key-vault-node-quickstart-v3 
npm install

Publish the web application to Azure

To publish this web application to Azure, we need to create an Azure App Service, Azure Web App, and create a Deployment User.

1. Azure App Service

The first step is to create an Azure App Service Plan. You can store multiple web apps in this plan. Use the Resource Group that you created earlier in the following command:

az appservice plan create --name "<MyAppServicePlan>" --resource-group "<MyResourceGroup>"

2. Azure Web App

Next we create a web app. In the following example, replace with a globally unique app name (valid characters are a-z, 0-9, and -). The runtime is set to NODE|6.9. To see all supported runtimes, run az webapp list-runtimes:

# Bash
az webapp create --resource-group "<MyResourceGroup>" --plan "<MyAppServicePlan>" --name "<AppName>" --runtime "NODE|6.9" --deployment-local-git
# PowerShell
az webapp create --resource-group "<MyResourceGroup>" --plan "<MyAppServicePlan>" --name "<AppName>" --runtime "NODE|6.9"

After the web app is created, the Azure CLI outputs something similar to the following:

  "availabilityState": "Normal",
  "clientAffinityEnabled": true,
  "clientCertEnabled": false,
  "cloningInfo": null,
  "containerSize": 0,
  "dailyMemoryTimeQuota": 0,
  "defaultHostName": "<AppName>.azurewebsites.net",
  "enabled": true,
  "deploymentLocalGitUrl": "https://<UserName>@<AppName>.scm.azurewebsites.net/<AppName>.git"
  < JSON data removed for brevity. >

Browse to your newly created web app, and you should see a functioning web app. Replace <AppName> with the unique app name that you chose previously.


The above command also creates a Git-enabled app which allows you to deploy to Azure from your local git. Local Git repository is configured with this url:


3. Deployment User

After running the previous command, you can add an Azure Remote to your local Git repository. Replace <url> with the URL of the Git Remote that you got from enabling Git for your app.

git remote add azure <url>

Configuring your Key Vault

  • Create a service principal and configure its access to Azure resources:

    az ad sp create-for-rbac -n "<AppName>" --skip-assignment


      "appId": "generated-app-ID",
      "displayName": "<AppName>",
      "name": "http://<AppName>",
      "password": "random-password",
      "tenant": "tenant-ID"
  • Use the above returned credentials information to set AZURE_CLIENT_ID(appId), AZURE_CLIENT_SECRET(password) and AZURE_TENANT_ID(tenant) environment variables. The following example shows a way to do this in Bash:

      export AZURE_CLIENT_ID="generated-app-ID"
      export AZURE_CLIENT_SECRET="random-password"
      export AZURE_TENANT_ID="tenant-ID"
  • Grant the above mentioned application authorization to perform secret operations on the Key Vault:

    az keyvault set-policy --name "<MyKeyVaultName>" --spn $AZURE_CLIENT_ID --secret-permissions backup delete get list set

    --secret-permissions: Accepted values: backup, delete, get, list, purge, recover, restore, set

  • Use the above mentioned Key Vault name to retrieve details of your Vault which also contains your Key Vault URL:

    az keyvault show --name "<MyKeyVaultName>"

Enable Azure Managed Identities

Azure Key Vault provides a way to securely store credentials and other keys and secrets, but your code needs to be authenticated to Key Vault before retrieving them. Azure Managed Identities simplify this need by giving Azure services an automatically managed identity in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). You can use this identity to authenticate to any service that supports Azure AD authentication, including Key Vault, without having to store any credentials in your code.

Run the "identity assign" command to create an identity for this application, this command is the equivalent of going to the portal and switching Azure Managed Identities to On in the web application properties:

az webapp identity assign --name "<AppName>" --resource-group "<MyResourceGroupName>"

Assign permissions to your application to read secrets from Key Vault

Copy the output to text editor for later use. It should be in the following format:

      "principalId": "xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx",
      "tenantId": "xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx",
      "type": "SystemAssigned"

Then, run this command using the name of your Key Vault and the value of PrincipalId copied from above:

az keyvault set-policy --name "<MyKeyVaultName>" --object-id "<PrincipalId>" --secret-permissions get

Deploy the Node App to Azure and retrieve the secret value

Now that everything is deployed and configured, run the following command to deploy the app to Azure. This will push your local master branch to the git remote called 'azure' that you created earlier:

git push azure master

When the git push command has completed you can now navigate to https://<AppName>.azurewebsites.net to see the secret value.

Make sure that you replaced the name <AppName> with your vault name.

Next steps


This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact opencode@microsoft.com with any additional questions or comments.