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Profiles & Configuration

Prefect's local settings are documented and type-validated.

By modifying the default settings, you can customize various aspects of the system. You can override a setting with an environment variable or by updating the setting in a Prefect profile.

Prefect profiles are persisted groups of settings on your local machine. A single profile is always active.

Initially, a default profile named default is active and contains no settings overrides.

All currently active settings can be viewed from the command line by running the following command:

prefect config view --show-defaults

When you switch to a different profile, all of the settings configured in the newly activated profile are applied.

Commonly configured settings

This section describes some commonly configured settings. See Configuring settings for details on setting and unsetting configuration values.


The PREFECT_API_KEY value specifies the API key used to authenticate with Prefect Cloud.


Generally, you will set the PREFECT_API_URL and PREFECT_API_KEY for your active profile by running prefect cloud login. If you're curious, read more about managing API keys.


The PREFECT_API_URL value specifies the API endpoint of your Prefect Cloud workspace or a self-hosted Prefect server instance.

For example, if using Prefect Cloud:


You can view your Account ID and Workspace ID in your browser URL when at a Prefect Cloud workspace page. For example:

If using a local Prefect server instance, set your API URL like this:


PREFECT_API_URL setting for workers

If using a worker (agent and block-based deployments are legacy) that can create flow runs for deployments in remote environments, PREFECT_API_URL must be set for the environment in which your worker is running.

If you want the worker to communicate with Prefect Cloud or a Prefect server instance from a remote execution environment such as a VM or Docker container, you must configure PREFECT_API_URL in that environment.

Running the Prefect UI behind a reverse proxy

When using a reverse proxy (such as Nginx or Traefik) to proxy traffic to a locally-hosted Prefect UI instance, the Prefect server instance also needs to be configured to know how to connect to the API. The PREFECT_UI_API_URL should be set to the external proxy URL (e.g. if your external URL is then set PREFECT_UI_API_URL= for the Prefect server process). You can also accomplish this by setting PREFECT_API_URL to the API URL, as this setting is used as a fallback if PREFECT_UI_API_URL is not set.


The PREFECT_HOME value specifies the local Prefect directory for configuration files, profiles, and the location of the default Prefect SQLite database.



The PREFECT_LOCAL_STORAGE_PATH value specifies the default location of local storage for flow runs.


CSRF Protection Settings

If using a local Prefect server instance, you can configure CSRF protection settings.

PREFECT_SERVER_CSRF_PROTECTION_ENABLED - Activates CSRF protection on the server, requiring valid CSRF tokens for applicable requests. Recommended for production to prevent CSRF attacks. Defaults to False.


PREFECT_SERVER_CSRF_TOKEN_EXPIRATION - Sets the expiration duration for server-issued CSRF tokens, influencing how often tokens need to be refreshed. The default is 1 hour.

PREFECT_SERVER_CSRF_TOKEN_EXPIRATION='3600'  # 1 hour in seconds

By default clients expect that CSRF protection is enabled on the server. If you are running a server without CSRF protection, you can disable CSRF support in the client.

PREFECT_CLIENT_CSRF_SUPPORT_ENABLED - Enables or disables CSRF token handling in the Prefect client. When enabled, the client manages CSRF tokens for state-changing API requests. Defaults to True.


Database settings

If running a self-hosted Prefect server instance, there are several database configuration settings you can read about here.

Logging settings

Prefect provides several logging configuration settings that you can read about in the logging docs.

Configuring settings

The prefect config CLI commands enable you to view, set, and unset settings.

Command Description
set Change the value for a setting.
unset Restore the default value for a setting.
view Display the current settings.

Viewing settings from the CLI

The prefect config view command will display settings that override default values.

$ prefect config view

You can show the sources of values with --show-sources:

$ prefect config view --show-sources

You can also include default values with --show-defaults:

$ prefect config view --show-defaults
PREFECT_AGENT_QUERY_INTERVAL='5.0' (from defaults)
PREFECT_API_KEY='None' (from defaults)
PREFECT_API_REQUEST_TIMEOUT='60.0' (from defaults)
PREFECT_API_URL='None' (from defaults)

Setting and clearing values

The prefect config set command lets you change the value of a default setting.

A commonly used example is setting the PREFECT_API_URL, which you may need to change when interacting with different Prefect server instances or Prefect Cloud.

# use a local Prefect server
prefect config set PREFECT_API_URL=""

# use Prefect Cloud
prefect config set PREFECT_API_URL="[ACCOUNT-ID]/workspaces/[WORKSPACE-ID]"

If you want to configure a setting to use its default value, use the prefect config unset command.

prefect config unset PREFECT_API_URL

Overriding defaults with environment variables

All settings have keys that match the environment variable that can be used to override them.

For example, configuring the home directory:

# environment variable
export PREFECT_HOME="/path/to/home"
# python
import prefect.settings
prefect.settings.PREFECT_HOME.value()  # PosixPath('/path/to/home')

Configuring the a server instance's port:

# environment variable
# python
prefect.settings.PREFECT_SERVER_API_PORT.value()  # 4242

Configuration profiles

Prefect allows you to persist settings instead of setting an environment variable each time you open a new shell. Settings are persisted to profiles, which allow you to move between groups of settings quickly.

The prefect profile CLI commands enable you to create, review, and manage profiles.

Command Description
create Create a new profile.
delete Delete the given profile.
inspect Display settings from a given profile; defaults to active.
ls List profile names.
rename Change the name of a profile.
use Switch the active profile.

If you configured settings for a profile, prefect profile inspect displays those settings:

$ prefect profile inspect

You can pass the name of a profile to view its settings:

$ prefect profile create test
$ prefect profile inspect test

Creating and removing profiles

Create a new profile with no settings:

$ prefect profile create test
Created profile 'test' at /Users/terry/.prefect/profiles.toml.

Create a new profile foo with settings cloned from an existing default profile:

$ prefect profile create foo --from default
Created profile 'cloud' matching 'default' at /Users/terry/.prefect/profiles.toml.

Rename a profile:

$ prefect profile rename temp test
Renamed profile 'temp' to 'test'.

Remove a profile:

$ prefect profile delete test
Removed profile 'test'.

Removing the default profile resets it:

$ prefect profile delete default
Reset profile 'default'.

Change values in profiles

Set a value in the current profile:

$ prefect config set VAR=X
Set variable 'VAR' to 'X'
Updated profile 'default'

Set multiple values in the current profile:

$ prefect config set VAR2=Y VAR3=Z
Set variable 'VAR2' to 'Y'
Set variable 'VAR3' to 'Z'
Updated profile 'default'

You can set a value in another profile by passing the --profile NAME option to a CLI command:

$ prefect --profile "foo" config set VAR=Y
Set variable 'VAR' to 'Y'
Updated profile 'foo'

Unset values in the current profile to restore the defaults:

$ prefect config unset VAR2 VAR3
Unset variable 'VAR2'
Unset variable 'VAR3'
Updated profile 'default'

Inspecting profiles

See a list of available profiles:

$ prefect profile ls
* default

View all settings for a profile:

$ prefect profile inspect cloud

Using profiles

The profile named default is used by default. There are several methods to switch to another profile.

The recommended method is to use the prefect profile use command with the name of the profile:

$ prefect profile use foo
Profile 'test' now active.

Alternatively, you can set the environment variable PREFECT_PROFILE to the name of the profile:


Or, specify the profile in the CLI command for one-time usage:

prefect --profile "foo" ...

Note that this option must come before the subcommand. For example, to list flow runs using the profile foo:

prefect --profile "foo" flow-run ls

You may use the -p flag as well:

prefect -p "foo" flow-run ls

You may also create an 'alias' to automatically use your profile:

$ alias prefect-foo="prefect --profile 'foo' "
# uses our profile!
$ prefect-foo config view  

Conflicts with environment variables

If setting the profile from the CLI with --profile, environment variables that conflict with settings in the profile will be ignored.

In all other cases, environment variables will take precedence over the value in the profile.

For example, a value set in a profile will be used by default:

$ prefect config set PREFECT_LOGGING_LEVEL="ERROR"
$ prefect config view --show-sources

But, setting an environment variable will override the profile setting:

$ prefect config view --show-sources

Unless the profile is explicitly requested when using the CLI:

$ prefect --profile default config view --show-sources

Profile files

Profiles are persisted to the file location specified by PREFECT_PROFILES_PATH. The default location is a profiles.toml file in the PREFECT_HOME directory:

$ prefect config view --show-defaults

The TOML format is used to store profile data.