Table of Contents
HashiCorp Vault 101 - Certified Vault Associate
Get started with HashiCorp Vault and prepare for your Vault Associate Exam
Terraform 101 - Certified Terraform Associate
Learn all you need to know to ace the Terraform Associate Exam and go beyond the certification

HashiCorp Vault API Tutorial and Pro Tips

Learning how to use the Vault API is key to really understanding how Vault works

Created: June 27, 2022 | Updated: January 27, 2023


Below is a video explanation and demo.

Vault API Tutorial

Video Chapters

You can skip to the relevant chapters below:


This blog post is a Vault API Tutorial for beginners. Learning how to use the Vault API is key to understanding Vault. I also share with you a couple of pro tips that will help you use the API faster and better.

HashiCorp Vault is the prominent secrets management solution today. It is currently used by the top financial institutions and enterprises in the world. I've created this HashiCorp Vault API tutorial for you!

This tutorial is a subset of a much larger course that is eight hours long. That course is called HashiCorp Vault 101 - Certified Vault Associate. It will help you dig deeper and be ready for the vault associate exam. You can find this course and others by going to the TeKanAid courses site.


Get FREE access to the source code by subscribing to my newsletter
You only need to subscribe once. Already subscribed? Enter your email to get instant access to the code.


The following is required to follow along:

  • A terminal running HashiCorp Vault OSS
  • GitLab Free Account

Pro Tips for the Vault API

I trust you'll find these two tips helpful.

  1. The first one allows you to access the OpenAPI documentation for the Vault API
  2. The second is a helpful CLI command to get the curl API equivalent for the Vault CLI command

Remember to also consult the API documentation. It's extremely helpful when you are writing policies and trying to figure out the paths.

1. Try out the Vault API Explorer in the UI

This uses the OpenAPI standard to allow you to try different commands in the UI. It's very helpful when testing.

How to access the Vault API Explorer

This is what the Vault API Explorer looks like:

The Vault API Explorer

You can try out an endpoint using the Authentication mechanism you've used to authenticate in the UI:

Trying out an Endpoint

Now you can find out what curl command to use:

Getting the curl Command to Use

Finally, you can see the server response and server response codes:

Server Response and Response Codes

2. The -output-curl-string Flag

This flag helps you figure out what API curl command to use if you know the equivalent Vault CLI command. Instead of executing the request, print an equivalent curl command string and exit. The default is false.

Run this command:

vault secrets list -output-curl-string

Expected Output:

curl -H "X-Vault-Request: true" -H "X-Vault-Token: $(vault print token)"

Run this command:

vault kv put -output-curl-string secret/test foo=bar

Expected Output:

curl -X PUT -H "X-Vault-Request: true" -H "X-Vault-Token: $(vault print token)" -d '{"data":{"foo":"bar"},"options":{}}' 


This blog post was a quick tutorial on how to use the Vault API. We also saw a couple of pro tips when using the Vault API. If you're interested in learning more about Vault and perhaps even becoming Vault certified, check out my HashiCorp Vault 101 - Certified Vault Associate


Other Posts
Terraform for Beginners - A Beginner's Guide to Automating Cloud Infrastructure
Terraform vs Ansible - Demo the Differences - Part 2
Terraform vs Ansible - Learn the Differences - Part 1
HashiCorp Vault Backup and Restore Raft Snapshots from Kubernetes to AWS S3
AWS Lambda - Terraform Configuration Example with API Gateway
Securing the Future - DevSecOps Trends for 2023
36 Top DevOps Questions to Get You Started in 2023
Terraform to Create a Ubuntu 22.04 VM in VMware vSphere ESXi
HashiCorp Packer to Build a Ubuntu 22.04 Image Template in VMware vSphere
Migrate Secrets from AWS Secrets Manager to HashiCorp Vault with Python, Docker, and GitLab
Migrate Secrets from AWS Secrets Manager to HashiCorp Vault with Terraform
env0 - A Terraform Cloud Alternative
Terraform Import Example - AWS EC2 Instance
DevOps Engineer NOT on Linux? You're MISSING OUT!
HashiCorp Vault API Tutorial and Pro Tips
HashiCorp Vault Tutorial for Beginners
Create a Pihole Docker Ad Blocker with Ansible and Terraform
Terraform vSphere Windows Example to Join an AD Domain
Build a Kubernetes k3s Cluster in vSphere with Terraform and Packer
HashiCorp Packer to Build a Ubuntu 20.04 Image Template in VMware
Consul-Template to Automate Certificate Management for HashiCorp Vault PKI
HashiCorp Vault PKI Secrets Engine Demo for Certificate Management
Jenkins, Vault, Terraform, Ansible, and Consul Delivering an End-to-End CI/CD Pipeline
Secret Zero Problem Solved for HashiCorp Vault
Hashicorp Packer, Terraform, and Ansible to Set Up Jenkins
Hashicorp Vault Azure Secrets Engine - Secure Your Azure Resources
HashiCorp Waypoint - Will it Replace Your CI/CD?
HashiCorp Boundary - Make Sure Your Human To Machine Access Is Secure
HashiCorp Packer for VMware Ubuntu Templates and Terraform for building VMs
HashiCorp Packer VMware Windows Templates and Terraform for VMs
Webblog App Part 4 – HashiStack – Nomad Consul Vault Terraform
Webblog App Part 3 - Consul Connect Service Mesh
Webblog App Part 2 - Secrets Development Phases with Vault
Webblog App Part 1 - Infrastructure as Code with Terraform
Microservices Applications'​ Life Cycle
HashiCorp Vault 201 - Vault for Apps in Kubernetes
Learn how to use HashiCorp Vault for your applications in Kubernetes