How to use Spring Profiles – Tutorial with Examples

Introduction to Spring Profiles – Learn Spring and Spring Boot Profiles to set environment specific configurations. with the help of real-life examples.

What is Spring Profile

Spring Profiles helps segregating your application configurations, and make them available only in certain environments. 

An application run on many different environments. For example, Dev, QA, Test, Stage, Production etc. Therefore, an application may need different configurations on different environments.. In other words, configurations like databases, messaging systems, server ports, security will be different from environment to environment.

Spring Profiles helps to easily set right configurations on right environments. Otherwise, without having Spring Profiles it is a big pain to manage environment specific configurations. For example, your application may have to rely on the configurations externalised on the environments. Obviously, that is fairly difficult to keep in-sync. Otherwise, you will have to write bunch of factory like components to make certain things available based on certain environment specific parameters parameters.

Finally, It’s time for looking at Spring Profile Code Samples.
Firstly, we will see various ways to add profile specific components. Then, We will see how to enable certain profile in an application. Finally, we will see how Spring Boot goes one step further and provides environment specific properties files.

Using @Profile on Configuration Class

Let’s have a look at the three Configuration classes below. The DefaultConfigurations doesn’t have any Profile configured. Therefore, it will be available on all environments. However, the other configurations will be available only the specific active profiles.

@Configuration public class DefaultConfigurations { // Skipped Configurations } @Configuration @Profile("dev") public class DevConfigurations { // Skipped Configurations } @Configuration @Profile("prod") public class ProdConfigurations { // Skipped Configurations }
Code language: Java (java)

Using @Profile on @Bean Methods

Spring Profiles are not limited to deployment environments. In other words, It can be used to bring any variation in application profile.

For example, consider your application has oracle and mysql profiles and you need to create different datasources. Now below is the way to have two different datasources tied up to specific profiles.

@Bean @Profile("oracle") public DataSource oracleDataSource(){ DataSource dataSource; // implementation skipped return dataSource; } @Bean @Profile("mysql") public DataSource mySqlDataSource(){ DataSource dataSource; // implementation skipped return dataSource; }
Code language: Java (java)

Profile in XML Bean Configurations

Spring profiles are not only bound to @Profile Annotation. If you use XML configurations, below is an example of declaring profile specific beans.

<beans profile="dev"> <bean id="configuration" class="com.amitph.spring.DevConfigurations" /> ... <!-- more beans --> </beans>
Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

Set Active Profiles

By now, you know how to make use of Spring Profiles for injecting various configurations. In this section you will learn how to start an application in a specific Profile.

Environment Variable

Set up an environment variable spring_profiles_active.

~ export spring_profiles_active="mySql"
Code language: Bash (bash)

Programatically during Application Init

This is a programatic way of setting up active profile.

@Configuration public class InitConfigurations implements WebApplicationInitializer { @Override public void onStartup(ServletContext servletContext) throws ServletException { // Skipped other initialisations servletContext.setInitParameter("", "mySql"); } }
Code language: Java (java)

Spring Boot Active Profiles

The Spring Boot supports @Profie annotations on the configurations and as well as Bean Methods. In addition, Spring Boot supports environment specific properties files. Because of these properties files properties management becomes really easy.

Spring Boot Environment Specific Properties

For example, you can declare properties files like or

Application properties naming scheme: application-{spring_active_profile}.properties.

Once, you have a set of environment specific properties files, Spring Boot picks up the one that matches the current active profile. Spring Boot finds a key in default properties file if it is not available in the profile specific properties files. The default properties file is represented as

For example, take a look at three different properties file below spring.datasource.driver-class-name= com.mysql.jdbc.Driver spring.datasource.username= songs_service_user
Code language: Properties (properties)

spring.datasource.url= jdbc:mysql://dev_db_host:3306/songsDB spring.datasource.password= <password>
Code language: Properties (properties)

spring.datasource.url= jdbc:mysql://prod_host:3306/songsDB spring.datasource.password= <password>
Code language: Properties (properties)

What happened here?

These are simple datasource related properties. The default properties has common things like driver and database username. Moreover, Spring Boot reads the default properties file in all profiles. The other two files contains environment specific properties, such as database url and database password.

The default properties file has an additional entry If you don’t set active profile anywhere else, Spring Boot will use this. Note, this setting has the the lease priority.

Spring Boot Active Profiles Command Line Argument

Before we end, it is interesting to know that the Environment variable can override application level active profile. Alternatively, you can also set the active profile as command line arguments.

For example, when you run Spring Boot application as a JAR, you can pass the Active profile as command line argument.

~ java -jar song-service.jar
Code language: Bash (bash)


So, you are at the end of this detailed tutorial on Spring and Spring Boot Profiles. Firstly, we started with understanding what is Spring Profiles and why it is required. Then we saw how to use @Profile annotation on the Configuration class as well as Bean Method. Also, we saw profile specific beans can be defined in XML configuration.

After that, we saw how to set Active Profiles using an Environment Variable and Programatically. Finally, we saw Spring Boot profile specific properties files. Also, we saw Active Profiles can be set as Command Line argument while running Spring Boot Jar.