The server command starts a Vault server that responds to API requests. By default, Vault will start in a "sealed" state. The Vault cluster must be initialized before use, usually by the vault operator init command. Each Vault server must also be unsealed using the vault operator unseal command or the API before the server can respond to requests.

For more information, please see:


Start a server with a configuration file:

$ vault server -config=/etc/vault/config.hcl
$ vault server -config=/etc/vault/config.hcl

Run in "dev" mode with a custom initial root token:

$ vault server -dev -dev-root-token-id="root"
$ vault server -dev -dev-root-token-id="root"


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

»Command Options

  • -config (string: "") - Path to a configuration file or directory of configuration files. This flag can be specified multiple times to load multiple configurations. If the path is a directory, all files which end in .hcl or .json are loaded.

  • -log-level (string: "info") - Log verbosity level. Supported values (in order of detail) are "trace", "debug", "info", "warn", and "err". This can also be specified via the VAULT_LOG_LEVEL environment variable.

  • -log-format (string: "standard") - Log format. Supported values are "standard" and "json". This can also be specified via the VAULT_LOG_FORMAT environment variable.

»Dev Options

  • -dev (bool: false) - Enable development mode. In this mode, Vault runs in-memory and starts unsealed. As the name implies, do not run "dev" mode in production.

  • -dev-listen-address (string: "") - Address to bind to in "dev" mode. This can also be specified via the VAULT_DEV_LISTEN_ADDRESS environment variable.

  • -dev-root-token-id (string: "") - Initial root token. This only applies when running in "dev" mode. This can also be specified via the VAULT_DEV_ROOT_TOKEN_ID environment variable.

    Note: The token ID should not start with the s. prefix.

  • -dev-no-store-token (string: "") - Do not persist the dev root token to the token helper (usually the local filesystem) for use in future requests. The token will only be displayed in the command output.

  • -dev-plugin-dir (string: "") - Directory from which plugins are allowed to be loaded. Only applies in "dev" mode, it will automatically register all the plugins in the provided directory.