AWS Secrets Manager
User Guide

Calling the API by Using HTTP Query Requests

This section contains general information about using the Query API for AWS Secrets Manager. For details about the API operations and errors, see the AWS Secrets Manager API Reference.


Instead of making direct calls to the AWS Secrets Manager Query API, you can use one of the AWS SDKs. The AWS SDKs consist of libraries and sample code for various programming languages and platforms (Java, Ruby, .NET, iOS, Android, and more). The SDKs provide a convenient way to create programmatic access to Secrets Manager and AWS. For example, the SDKs can be used for tasks such as cryptographically signing requests, managing errors, and retrying requests automatically. For information about the AWS SDKs, including how to download and install them, see Tools for Amazon Web Services.

The Query API for AWS Secrets Manager allows you to call service operations. Query API requests are HTTPS requests that must contain an Action parameter to indicate the operation to be performed. AWS Secrets Manager supports GET and POST requests for all operations. The API doesn't require you to use GET for some operations and POST for others. However, GET requests might be subject to the limitation size of a URL. Although this limit is browser dependent, a typical limit is 2048 bytes. Therefore, for Query API requests that require larger sizes, you must use a POST request.

The API responds with an XML document. For details about the response, see the individual API description pages in the AWS Organizations API Reference.


AWS Secrets Manager has endpoints in most AWS Regions. For the complete list, see the endpoint list for AWS Secrets Manager in the AWS General Reference.

For more information about AWS Regions and endpoints for all services, see Regions and Endpoints, also in the AWS General Reference.

HTTPS Required

Because the Query API returns sensitive information such as security credentials, you must use HTTPS to encrypt all API requests.

Signing API Requests for Secrets Manager

You must sign API requests by using an access key ID and a secret access key. We strongly recommend that you don't use your AWS account's root user credentials for everyday work with Secrets Manager. Instead, you can use the credentials for an IAM user, or temporary credentials like you use with an IAM role.

To sign your API requests, you must use AWS Signature Version 4. For information about using Signature Version 4, see Signature Version 4 Signing Process in the AWS General Reference.

For more information, see the following:

  • AWS Security Credentials. Provides general information about the types of credentials that you can use to access AWS.

  • IAM Best Practices. Offers suggestions for using the IAM service to help secure your AWS resources, including those in Secrets Manager.

  • Temporary Credentials. Describes how to create and use temporary security credentials.