7. Spring Cloud Config Client

A Spring Boot application can take immediate advantage of the Spring Config Server (or other external property sources provided by the application developer), and it will also pick up some additional useful features related to Environment change events.

7.1 Config First Bootstrap

This is the default behaviour for any application which has the Spring Cloud Config Client on the classpath. When a config client starts up it binds to the Config Server (via the bootstrap configuration property spring.cloud.config.uri) and initializes Spring Environment with remote property sources.

The net result of this is that all client apps that want to consume the Config Server need a bootstrap.yml (or an environment variable) with the server address in spring.cloud.config.uri (defaults to "http://localhost:8888").

7.2 Discovery First Bootstrap

If you are using a `DiscoveryClient implementation, such as Spring Cloud Netflix and Eureka Service Discovery or Spring Cloud Consul (Spring Cloud Zookeeper does not support this yet), then you can have the Config Server register with the Discovery Service if you want to, but in the default "Config First" mode, clients won’t be able to take advantage of the registration.

If you prefer to use DiscoveryClient to locate the Config Server, you can do that by setting spring.cloud.config.discovery.enabled=true (default "false"). The net result of that is that client apps all need a bootstrap.yml (or an environment variable) with the appropriate discovery configuration. For example, with Spring Cloud Netflix, you need to define the Eureka server address, e.g. in eureka.client.serviceUrl.defaultZone. The price for using this option is an extra network round trip on start up to locate the service registration. The benefit is that the Config Server can change its co-ordinates, as long as the Discovery Service is a fixed point. The default service id is "configserver" but you can change that on the client with spring.cloud.config.discovery.serviceId (and on the server in the usual way for a service, e.g. by setting spring.application.name).

The discovery client implementations all support some kind of metadata map (e.g. for Eureka we have eureka.instance.metadataMap). Some additional properties of the Config Server may need to be configured in its service registration metadata so that clients can connect correctly. If the Config Server is secured with HTTP Basic you can configure the credentials as "username" and "password". And if the Config Server has a context path you can set "configPath". Example, for a Config Server that is a Eureka client:


      user: osufhalskjrtl
      password: lviuhlszvaorhvlo5847
      configPath: /config

7.3 Config Client Fail Fast

In some cases, it may be desirable to fail startup of a service if it cannot connect to the Config Server. If this is the desired behavior, set the bootstrap configuration property spring.cloud.config.failFast=true and the client will halt with an Exception.

7.4 Config Client Retry

If you expect that the config server may occasionally be unavailable when your app starts, you can ask it to keep trying after a failure. First you need to set spring.cloud.config.failFast=true, and then you need to add spring-retry and spring-boot-starter-aop to your classpath. The default behaviour is to retry 6 times with an initial backoff interval of 1000ms and an exponential multiplier of 1.1 for subsequent backoffs. You can configure these properties (and others) using spring.cloud.config.retry.* configuration properties.


To take full control of the retry add a @Bean of type RetryOperationsInterceptor with id "configServerRetryInterceptor". Spring Retry has a RetryInterceptorBuilder that makes it easy to create one.

7.5 Locating Remote Configuration Resources

The Config Service serves property sources from /{name}/{profile}/{label}, where the default bindings in the client app are

  • "name" = ${spring.application.name}
  • "profile" = ${spring.profiles.active} (actually Environment.getActiveProfiles())
  • "label" = "master"

All of them can be overridden by setting spring.cloud.config.* (where * is "name", "profile" or "label"). The "label" is useful for rolling back to previous versions of configuration; with the default Config Server implementation it can be a git label, branch name or commit id. Label can also be provided as a comma-separated list, in which case the items in the list are tried on-by-one until one succeeds. This can be useful when working on a feature branch, for instance, when you might want to align the config label with your branch, but make it optional (e.g. spring.cloud.config.label=myfeature,develop).

7.6 Security

If you use HTTP Basic security on the server then clients just need to know the password (and username if it isn’t the default). You can do that via the config server URI, or via separate username and password properties, e.g.


     uri: https://user:[email protected]



     uri: https://myconfig.mycompany.com
     username: user
     password: secret

The spring.cloud.config.password and spring.cloud.config.username values override anything that is provided in the URI.

If you deploy your apps on Cloud Foundry then the best way to provide the password is through service credentials, e.g. in the URI, since then it doesn’t even need to be in a config file. An example which works locally and for a user-provided service on Cloud Foundry named "configserver":


     uri: ${vcap.services.configserver.credentials.uri:http://user:[email protected]:8888}

If you use another form of security you might need to provide a RestTemplate to the ConfigServicePropertySourceLocator (e.g. by grabbing it in the bootstrap context and injecting one).

7.6.1 Health Indicator

The Config Client supplies a Spring Boot Health Indicator that attempts to load configuration from Config Server. The health indicator can be disabled by setting health.config.enabled=false. The response is also cached for performance reasons. The default cache time to live is 5 minutes. To change that value set the health.config.time-to-live property (in milliseconds).

7.6.2 Providing A Custom RestTemplate

In some cases you might need to customize the requests made to the config server from the client. Typically this involves passing special Authorization headers to authenticate requests to the server. To provide a custom RestTemplate follow the steps below.

  1. Create a new configuration bean with an implementation of PropertySourceLocator.


public class CustomConfigServiceBootstrapConfiguration {
    public ConfigServicePropertySourceLocator configServicePropertySourceLocator() {
        ConfigClientProperties clientProperties = configClientProperties();
       ConfigServicePropertySourceLocator configServicePropertySourceLocator =  new ConfigServicePropertySourceLocator(clientProperties);
        return configServicePropertySourceLocator;

  1. In resources/META-INF create a file called spring.factories and specify your custom configuration.


org.springframework.cloud.bootstrap.BootstrapConfiguration = com.my.config.client.CustomConfigServiceBootstrapConfiguration

7.6.3 Vault

When using Vault as a backend to your config server the client will need to supply a token for the server to retrieve values from Vault. This token can be provided within the client by setting spring.cloud.config.token in bootstrap.yml.


      token: YourVaultToken

7.7 Vault

7.7.1 Nested Keys In Vault

Vault supports the ability to nest keys in a value stored in Vault. For example

echo -n '{"appA": {"secret": "appAsecret"}, "bar": "baz"}' | vault write secret/myapp -

This command will write a JSON object to your Vault. To access these values in Spring you would use the traditional dot(.) annotation. For example

String name = "World";

The above code would set the name variable to appAsecret.