Environment Variables

Rsbuild supports injecting environment variables or expressions into the code during compilation, which is helpful for distinguishing the running environment or replacing constants. This chapter introduces how to use environment variables.

Default Variables


By default, Rsbuild will automatically set the process.env.NODE_ENV environment variable to 'development' in development mode and 'production' in production mode.

You can use process.env.NODE_ENV directly in Node.js and in the client code.

if (process.env.NODE_ENV === 'development') {
  console.log('this is a development log');

In the development build, the above code will be compiled as:

if (true) {
  console.log('this is a development log');

In the production build, the above code will be compiled as:

if (false) {
  console.log('this is a development log');

After code minification, if (false) { ... } will be recognized as invalid code and removed automatically.


You can use process.env.ASSET_PREFIX in the client code to access the URL prefix of static assets.

  • In development, it is equivalent to the value set by dev.assetPrefix.
  • In production, it is equivalent to the value set by output.assetPrefix.
  • Rsbuild will automatically remove the trailing slash from assetPrefix to make string concatenation easier.

For example, we copy the static/icon.png image to the dist directory through output.copy configuration:

export default {
  dev: {
    assetPrefix: '/',
  output: {
    copy: [{ from: './static', to: 'static' }],
    assetPrefix: 'https://example.com',

Then we can access the image URL in the client code:

const Image = <img src={`${process.env.ASSET_PREFIX}/static/icon.png`} />;

In the development build, the above code will be compiled as:

const Image = <img src={`/static/icon.png`} />;

In the production build, the above code will be compiled as:

const Image = <img src={`https://example.com/static/icon.png`} />;

.env File

When a .env file exists in the project root directory, Rsbuild will automatically use dotenv to load these environment variables and add them to the current Node.js process.

You can access these environment variables through import.meta.env.[name] or process.env.[name].

File Types

Rsbuild supports reading the following types of env files:

File Name Description
.env Loaded by default in all scenarios.
.env.local Local usage of the .env file, should be added to .gitignore.
.env.development Read when process.env.NODE_ENV is 'development'.
.env.production Read when process.env.NODE_ENV is 'production'.
.env.development.local Local usage of the .env.development file, should be added to .gitignore.
.env.production.local Local usage of the .env.production file, should be added to .gitignore.

If several of the above files exist at the same time, they will all be loaded, with the files listed at the bottom of the table having higher priority.

Env Mode

Rsbuild also supports reading .env.[mode] and .env.[mode].local files. You can specify the env mode using the --env-mode <mode> CLI option.

For example, set the env mode as test:

npx rsbuild dev --env-mode test

Rsbuild will then read the following files in sequence:

  • .env
  • .env.local
  • .env.test
  • .env.test.local

The --env-mode option takes precedence over process.env.NODE_ENV.

It is recommended to use --env-mode to set the env mode, and not to modify process.env.NODE_ENV.

Env Directory

By default, the .env file is located in the root directory of the project. You can specify the env directory by using the --env-dir <dir> option in the CLI.

For example, to specify the env directory as config:

npx rsbuild dev --env-dir config

In this case, Rsbuild will read the ./config/.env and other env files.


For example, create a .env file and add the following contents:


Then in the rsbuild.config.ts file, you can access the above environment variables using import.meta.env.[name] or process.env.[name]:

console.log(import.meta.env.FOO); // 'hello'
console.log(import.meta.env.BAR); // '1'

console.log(process.env.FOO); // 'hello'
console.log(process.env.BAR); // '1'

Now, create a .env.local file and add the following contents:


The value of BAR is overwritten to '2':

console.log(import.meta.env.BAR); // '2'
console.log(process.env.BAR); // '2'

Public Variables

All environment variables starting with PUBLIC_ can be accessed in client code. For example, if the following variables are defined:


In the client code, you can access these environment variables through import.meta.env.PUBLIC_* or process.env.PUBLIC_*. Rsbuild will match the identifiers and replace them with the corresponding values.

console.log(import.meta.env.PUBLIC_NAME); // -> 'jack'
console.log(import.meta.env.PASSWORD); // -> undefined

console.log(process.env.PUBLIC_NAME); // -> 'jack'
console.log(process.env.PASSWORD); // -> undefined
  • The content of public variables will be exposed to your client code, so please avoid including sensitive information in public variables.
  • Public variables are replaced through source.define. Please read "Using define" to understand the principles and notes of define.

Replacement Scope

Public variables will replace identifiers in the client code, with the replacement scope including:

  • JavaScript files, and files that can be converted into JavaScript code, such as .js, .ts, .tsx, etc.
  • HTML template files, for example:
<div><%= process.env.PUBLIC_NAME %></div>

Note that public variables will not replace identifiers in the following files:

  • CSS files, such as .css, .scss, .less, etc.

Custom Prefix

Rsbuild provides the loadEnv method, which can inject environment variables with any prefix into client code.

For example, when migrating a Create React App project to Rsbuild, you can read environment variables starting with REACT_APP_ and inject them through the source.define config as follows:

import { defineConfig, loadEnv } from '@rsbuild/core';

const { publicVars } = loadEnv({ prefixes: ['REACT_APP_'] });

export default defineConfig({
  source: {
    define: publicVars,

Using define

By using source.define, you can replace global identifiers with some expressions or values in compile time.

define is similar to the macro definition capabilities provided by other languages. It is often used to inject environment variables and other information to the code during build time.

Replace Identifiers

The most basic use case for define is to replace global identifiers in compile time.

The value of the environment variable NODE_ENV will change the behavior of many vendor packages. Usually, we need to set it to production.

export default {
  source: {
    define: {
      'process.env.NODE_ENV': JSON.stringify(process.env.NODE_ENV),

Note that the value provided here must be a JSON string, e.g. process.env.NODE_ENV with a value of "production" should be passed in as "\"production\"" to be processed correctly.

Similarly { foo: "bar" } should be converted to "{\"foo\":\"bar\"}", which if passed directly into the original object would mean replacing the identifier process.env.NODE_ENV.foo with the identifier bar.

For more about source.define, just refer to API References.


The environment variable NODE_ENV shown in the example above is already injected by the Rsbuild, and you usually do not need to configure it manually.

Identifiers Matching

Note that source.define can only match complete global identifiers. You can think of it as a text replacement process.

If the identifier in the code does not exactly match the key defined in define, Rsbuild will not be able to replace it.

// Good
console.log(process.env.NODE_ENV); // 'production'

// Bad
console.log(process.env['NODE_ENV']); // process is not defined!

// Bad
console.log(process.env?.NODE_ENV); // process is not defined!

// Bad
const { NODE_ENV } = process.env;
console.log(NODE_ENV); // process is not defined!

// Bad
const env = process.env;
console.log(env.NODE_ENV); // process is not defined!

process.env Replacement

When using source.define, please avoid replacing the entire process.env object, e.g. the following usage is not recommended:

export default {
  source: {
    define: {
      'process.env': JSON.stringify(process.env),

If the above usage is adopted, the following problems will be caused:

  1. Some unused environment variables are additionally injected, causing the environment variables of the development environment to be leaked into the front-end code.
  2. As each process.env code will be replaced by a complete environment variable object, the bundle size of the front-end code will increase and the performance will decrease.

Therefore, please inject the environment variables on process.env according to actual needs and avoid replacing them in its entirety.

Type of Environment Variable

When you access an environment variable in a TypeScript file, TypeScript may prompt that the variable lacks a type definition, and you need to add the corresponding type declaration.

For example, if you reference a PUBLIC_FOO variable, the following prompt will appear in the TypeScript file:

TS2304: Cannot find name 'PUBLIC_FOO'.

To fix this, you can create a src/env.d.ts file in your project and add the following content:

declare const PUBLIC_FOO: string;


You can extend the type of import.meta.env like this:

interface ImportMetaEnv {
  // import.meta.env.PUBLIC_FOO
  readonly PUBLIC_FOO: string;

interface ImportMeta {
  readonly env: ImportMetaEnv;


If the type for process.env is missing, please install the dependency @types/node:

npm add @types/node -D

Then extend the type of process.env:

declare namespace NodeJS {
  interface ProcessEnv {
    // process.env.PUBLIC_FOO
    PUBLIC_FOO: string;

Tree Shaking

define can also be used to mark dead code to assist the Rspack with tree shaking optimization.

Build artifacts for different languages is achieved by replacing import.meta.env.LANGUAGE with a specific value, for example.

export default {
  source: {
    define: {
      'import.meta.env.LANGUAGE': JSON.stringify(import.meta.env.LANGUAGE),

For an internationalized code:

const App = () => {
  if (import.meta.env.LANGUAGE === 'en') {
    return <EntryFoo />;
  } else if (import.meta.env.LANGUAGE === 'zh') {
    return <EntryBar />;

Specifying the environment variable LANGUAGE=zh and then running build will eliminate the dead code.

const App = () => {
  if (false) {
  } else if (true) {
    return <EntryBar />;

Unused components will not be bundled, and their dependencies will be removed accordingly, resulting in smaller build outputs.