»operator rekey

The operator rekey command generates a new set of unseal keys. This can optionally change the total number of key shares or the required threshold of those key shares to reconstruct the master key. This operation is zero downtime, but it requires the Vault is unsealed and a quorum of existing unseal keys are provided.

An unseal key may be provided directly on the command line as an argument to the command. If key is specified as "-", the command will read from stdin. If a TTY is available, the command will prompt for text.

Please see the rotating and rekeying for step-by-step instructions.


Initialize a rekey:

$ vault operator rekey \
    -init \
    -key-shares=15 \

Initialize a rekey and activate the verification process:

$ vault operator rekey \
    -init \
    -key-shares=15 \
    -key-threshold=9 \

Rekey and encrypt the resulting unseal keys with PGP:

$ vault operator rekey \
    -init \
    -key-shares=3 \
    -key-threshold=2 \

Rekey an Auto Unseal vault and encrypt the resulting recovery keys with PGP:

$ vault operator rekey \
    -target=recovery \
    -init \

Store encrypted PGP keys in Vault's core:

$ vault operator rekey \
    -init \
    -pgp-keys="..." \

Retrieve backed-up unseal keys:

$ vault operator rekey -backup-retrieve

Delete backed-up unseal keys:

$ vault operator rekey -backup-delete

Perform the verification of the rekey using the verification nonce:

$ vault operator rekey -verify -nonce="..."


The following flags are available in addition to the standard set of flags included on all commands.

»Output Options

  • -format (string: "table") - Print the output in the given format. Valid formats are "table", "json", or "yaml". This can also be specified via the VAULT_FORMAT environment variable.

»Command Options

  • -cancel (bool: false) - Reset the rekeying progress. This will discard any submitted unseal keys or configuration. The default is false.

  • -init (bool: false) - Initialize the rekeying operation. This can only be done if no rekeying operation is in progress. Customize the new number of key shares and key threshold using the -key-shares and -key-threshold flags.

  • -key-shares (int: 5) - Number of key shares to split the generated master key into. This is the number of "unseal keys" to generate. This is aliased as -n

  • -key-threshold (int: 3) - Number of key shares required to reconstruct the master key. This must be less than or equal to -key-shares. This is aliased as -t.

  • -nonce (string: "") - Nonce value provided at initialization. The same nonce value must be provided with each unseal key.

  • -pgp-keys (string: "...") - Comma-separated list of paths to files on disk containing public GPG keys OR a comma-separated list of Keybase usernames using the format keybase:<username>. When supplied, the generated unseal keys will be encrypted and base64-encoded in the order specified in this list.

  • -status (bool: false) - Print the status of the current attempt without providing an unseal key. The default is false.

  • -target (string: "barrier") - Target for rekeying. "recovery" only applies when HSM support is enabled or using Auto Unseal.

  • -verify (bool: false) - Indicate during the phase -init that the verification process is activated for the rekey. Along with -nonce option it indicates that the nonce given is for the verification process.

»Backup Options

  • -backup (bool: false) - Store a backup of the current PGP encrypted unseal keys in Vault's core. The encrypted values can be recovered in the event of failure or discarded after success. See the -backup-delete and -backup-retrieve options for more information. This option only applies when the existing unseal keys were PGP encrypted.

  • -backup-delete (bool: false) - Delete any stored backup unseal keys.

  • -backup-retrieve (bool: false) - Retrieve the backed-up unseal keys. This option is only available if the PGP keys were provided and the backup has not been deleted.