Using auth tokens in .npmrc

UPDATE 2021-05-02

This answer remains questionable - see the comments below. I no longer have access to a private ($paid) npm account anymore, so I can no longer test to answer questions.

Perhaps try @konyak's answer.

It is definitely NOT a safe behavior to put the token in any git checked file, including .npmrc.

Below are the steps your team can take to safely leverage your npm token.

There are two different environments to consider:

  1. each developer's local dev machine
  2. the app's deployment platform

local dev

Following the Global Set Up instructions you linked to in your question, is not the solution.

Create the .npmrc file similar to the "Per project" instructions, but substitute your real token with a variable name, prefixed by $. ie:


npm will detect an environment variables file named .env. So, in a .gitignored .env file, add your secret key value pair, ie:


You can also prefix the variable name with "NPM_CONFIG_", according to the npm-config docs, ie:


Now, when the dev runs npm i, font-awesome dependencies will load from the private repo.

NOTE: Don't follow the current npm-config docs about the environment variables syntax! See this stack overflow answer, ie:




app deployment platform

Do all the steps from the local dev section above, PLUS:

  • create an environment variable on the platform with the same name as in the .npmrc file.

If your app host is Netlify, see their Build Environment Variables docs.

Export your secret token into your session, e.g., export NPM_TOKEN="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"

Inside your ~/.npmrc, add //${NPM_TOKEN}