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[Deprecated] Import & Export


The import and export API first appeared in Unleash 3.3.0.

Removal notice

Api admin state is deprecated from version 5 and removed from version 6. We recommend using the new Environment Import & Export.

Unleash supports import and export of feature flags and strategies at startup and during runtime. The main purpose of the import/export feature is to bootstrap new Unleash instances with feature flags and their configuration. If you are looking for a granular way to keep separate Unleash instances in sync we strongly recommend that you take a look at the Unleash Admin APIs.

The import mechanism guarantees that:

  • all imported features will be non-archived
  • existing updates to strategies and features are included in the event history

All import mechanisms support a drop parameter which will clean the database before import (all strategies and features will be removed).

Dropping in production

Be careful when using the drop parameter in production environments: cleaning the database could lead to unintended loss of data.

Runtime import & export

State Service

Removal notice

State Service has been removed as of Unleash 6

Unleash returns a StateService when started, you can use this to import and export data at any time.

const unleash = require('unleash-server');

const { services } = await unleash.start({...});
const { stateService } = services;

const exportedData = await stateService.export({includeStrategies: false, includeFeatureToggles: true, includeTags: true, includeProjects: true});

await stateService.import({data: exportedData, userName: 'import', dropBeforeImport: false});

await stateService.importFile({file: 'exported-data.yml', userName: 'import', dropBeforeImport: true})

If you want the database to be cleaned before import (all strategies and features will be removed), set the dropBeforeImport parameter.

It is also possible to not override existing feature flags (and strategies) by using the keepExisting parameter.

API Export

Removal notice

State API has been removed as of Unleash 6

The api endpoint /api/admin/state/export will export feature-toggles and strategies as json by default. You can customize the export with query parameters:

formatjsonExport format, either json or yaml
downloadfalseIf the exported data should be downloaded as a file
featureTogglestrueInclude feature-toggles in the exported data
strategiestrueInclude strategies in the exported data
tagstrueInclude tagtypes, tags and feature_tags in the exported data
projectstrueInclude projects in the exported data

For example if you want to download just feature-toggles as yaml:

Export features (and nothing else) as YAML.
GET <unleash-url>/api/admin/state/export?format=yaml&featureToggles=1&strategies=0&tags=0&projects=0&download=1
Authorization: <API-token>
content-type: application/json

API Import

Removal notice

State API has been removed as of Unleash 6

Importing environments in Unleash 4.19 and below

This is only relevant if you use Unleash 4.19 or earlier:

If you import an environment into an instance that already has that environment defined, Unleash will delete any API keys created specifically for that environment. This is to prevent unexpected access to the newly imported environments.

You can import feature-toggles and strategies by POSTing to the /api/admin/state/import endpoint (keep in mind this will require authentication).\ You can either send the data as JSON in the POST-body or send a file parameter with multipart/form-data (YAML files are also accepted here).

You can customize the import with query parameters:

dropfalseIf the database should be cleaned before import (see comment below)
keeptrueIf true, the existing feature flags and strategies will not be overridden

If you want the database to be cleaned before import (all strategies and features will be removed), specify a drop query parameter.


You should be cautious about using the drop query parameter in production environments.

Example usage:

Import data into Unleash.
POST <unleash-url>/api/admin/state/import
Authorization: <API-token>
content-type: application/json

"version": 3,
"features": [
"name": "a-feature-flag",
"enabled": true,
"description": "#1 feature-flag"

Startup import

Removal notice

State service startup import has been removed as of Unleash 6

You can import flags and strategies on startup by using an import file in JSON or YAML format. As with other forms of imports, you can also choose to remove the current flag and strategy configuration in the database before importing.

Unleash lets you do this both via configuration parameters and environment variables. The relevant parameters/variables are:

config parameterenvironment variabledefaultvalue
importFileIMPORT_FILEnonepath to the configuration file
dropBeforeImportIMPORT_DROP_BEFORE_IMPORTfalsewhether to clean the database before importing the file

Importing files

To import strategies and flags from a file (called configuration.yml in the examples below), either

  • use the importFile parameter to point to the file (you can also pass this into the unleash.start() entry point)

    unleash-server --databaseUrl [...] \
    --importFile configuration.yml
  • set the IMPORT_FILE environment variable to the path of the file before starting Unleash


Drop before import


You should never use this in production environments.

To remove pre-existing feature flags and strategies in the database before importing the new ones, either:

  • add the dropBeforeImport flag to the unleash-server command (or to unleash.start())

    unleash-server --databaseUrl [...] \
    --importFile configuration.yml \
  • set the IMPORT_DROP_BEFORE_IMPORT environment variable (note the leading IMPORT_) to true, t, or 1. The variable is case-sensitive.