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dqlite is a C library that implements an embeddable and replicated SQL database engine with high availability and automatic failover.

The acronym "dqlite" stands for "distributed SQLite", meaning that dqlite extends SQLite with a network protocol that can connect together various instances of your application and have them act as a highly-available cluster, with no dependency on external databases.

Design highlights

  • Asynchronous single-threaded implementation using libuv as event loop.
  • Custom wire protocol optimized for SQLite primitives and data types.
  • Data replication based on the Raft algorithm and its efficient C-raft implementation.


The dqlite library is released under a slightly modified version of LGPLv3, that includes a copyright exception allowing users to statically link the library code in their project and release the final work under their own terms. See the full license text.


dqlite runs on Linux and requires a kernel with support for native async I/O (not to be confused with POSIX AIO), which is used by the libuv backend of C-raft.

Try it

The simplest way to see dqlite in action is to use the demo program that comes with the Go dqlite bindings. Please see the relevant documentation in that project.


A talk about dqlite was given at FOSDEM 2020, you can watch it here.

Here is a blog post from 2022 comparing dqlite with rqlite and Litestream, other replication software for SQLite.

Wire protocol

If you wish to write a client, please refer to the wire protocol documentation.


If you are on a Debian-based system, you can get the latest development release from dqlite's dev PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dqlite/dev
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libdqlite-dev


To build libdqlite from source you'll need:

  • A reasonably recent version of libuv (v1.8.0 or beyond).
  • A reasonably recent version of sqlite3-dev
  • A build of the C-raft Raft library.

Your distribution should already provide you with a pre-built libuv shared library and libsqlite3-dev.

To build the raft library:

git clone
cd raft
autoreconf -i
sudo make install
cd ..

Once all the required libraries are installed, in order to build the dqlite shared library itself, you can run:

autoreconf -i
sudo make install

Usage Notes

Detailed tracing will be enabled when the environment variable LIBDQLITE_TRACE is set before startup.