a postgres plugin for dokku
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Official postgres plugin for dokku. Currently defaults to installing postgres 10.2.


  • dokku 0.4.x+
  • docker 1.8.x


# on 0.4.x+
sudo dokku plugin:install https://github.com/dokku/dokku-postgres.git postgres


postgres:app-links <app>          List all postgres service links for a given app
postgres:backup <name> <bucket> (--use-iam) Create a backup of the postgres service to an existing s3 bucket
postgres:backup-auth <name> <aws_access_key_id> <aws_secret_access_key> (<aws_default_region>) (<aws_signature_version>) (<endpoint_url>) Sets up authentication for backups on the postgres service
postgres:backup-deauth <name>     Removes backup authentication for the postgres service
postgres:backup-schedule <name> <schedule> <bucket> Schedules a backup of the postgres service
postgres:backup-schedule-cat <name> Show the backup schedule for the service
postgres:backup-set-encryption <name> <encryption_key> Sets up GPG encryption for future backups of the postgres service
postgres:backup-unschedule <name> Unschedules the backup of the postgres service
postgres:backup-unset-encryption <name> Removes backup encryption for future backups of the postgres service
postgres:clone <name> <new-name>  Create container <new-name> then copy data from <name> into <new-name>
postgres:connect <name>           Connect via psql to a postgres service
postgres:create <name>            Create a postgres service with environment variables
postgres:destroy <name>           Delete the service, delete the data and stop its container if there are no links left
postgres:enter <name> [command]   Enter or run a command in a running postgres service container
postgres:exists <service>         Check if the postgres service exists
postgres:export <name> > <file>   Export a dump of the postgres service database
postgres:expose <name> [port]     Expose a postgres service on custom port if provided (random port otherwise)
postgres:import <name> < <file>   Import a dump into the postgres service database
postgres:info <name>              Print the connection information
postgres:link <name> <app>        Link the postgres service to the app
postgres:linked <name> <app>      Check if the postgres service is linked to an app
postgres:list                     List all postgres services
postgres:logs <name> [-t]         Print the most recent log(s) for this service
postgres:promote <name> <app>     Promote service <name> as DATABASE_URL in <app>
postgres:restart <name>           Graceful shutdown and restart of the postgres service container
postgres:start <name>             Start a previously stopped postgres service
postgres:stop <name>              Stop a running postgres service
postgres:unexpose <name>          Unexpose a previously exposed postgres service
postgres:unlink <name> <app>      Unlink the postgres service from the app


# create a postgres service named lolipop
dokku postgres:create lolipop

# you can also specify the image and image
# version to use for the service
# it *must* be compatible with the
# official postgres image
export POSTGRES_IMAGE="postgres"
dokku postgres:create lolipop

# you can also specify custom environment
# variables to start the postgres service
# in semi-colon separated form
dokku postgres:create lolipop

# get connection information as follows
dokku postgres:info lolipop

# you can also retrieve a specific piece of service info via flags
dokku postgres:info lolipop --data-dir
dokku postgres:info lolipop --dsn
dokku postgres:info lolipop --exposed-ports
dokku postgres:info lolipop --id
dokku postgres:info lolipop --internal-ip
dokku postgres:info lolipop --links
dokku postgres:info lolipop --service-root
dokku postgres:info lolipop --status
dokku postgres:info lolipop --version

# a bash prompt can be opened against a running service
# filesystem changes will not be saved to disk
dokku postgres:enter lolipop

# you may also run a command directly against the service
# filesystem changes will not be saved to disk
dokku postgres:enter lolipop ls -lah /

# a postgres service can be linked to a
# container this will use native docker
# links via the docker-options plugin
# here we link it to our 'playground' app
# NOTE: this will restart your app
dokku postgres:link lolipop playground

# the following environment variables will be set automatically by docker (not
# on the app itself, so they won’t be listed when calling dokku config)
# and the following will be set on the linked application by default
#   DATABASE_URL=postgres://postgres:SOME_PASSWORD@dokku-postgres-lolipop:5432/lolipop
# NOTE: the host exposed here only works internally in docker containers. If
# you want your container to be reachable from outside, you should use `expose`.

# another service can be linked to your app
dokku postgres:link other_service playground

# since DATABASE_URL is already in use, another environment variable will be
# generated automatically
#   DOKKU_POSTGRES_BLUE_URL=postgres://postgres:ANOTHER_PASSWORD@dokku-postgres-other_service:5432/other_service

# you can then promote the new service to be the primary one
# NOTE: this will restart your app
dokku postgres:promote other_service playground

# this will replace DATABASE_URL with the url from other_service and generate
# another environment variable to hold the previous value if necessary.
# you could end up with the following for example:
#   DATABASE_URL=postgres://postgres:ANOTHER_PASSWORD@dokku-postgres-other_service:5432/other_service
#   DOKKU_POSTGRES_BLUE_URL=postgres://postgres:ANOTHER_PASSWORD@dokku-postgres-other_service:5432/other_service
#   DOKKU_POSTGRES_SILVER_URL=postgres://postgres:SOME_PASSWORD@dokku-postgres-lolipop:5432/lolipop

# you can also unlink a postgres service
# NOTE: this will restart your app and unset related environment variables
dokku postgres:unlink lolipop playground

# you can tail logs for a particular service
dokku postgres:logs lolipop
dokku postgres:logs lolipop -t # to tail

# you can dump the database
dokku postgres:export lolipop > lolipop.dump

# you can import a dump
dokku postgres:import lolipop < database.dump

# you can clone an existing database to a new one
dokku postgres:clone lolipop new_database

# finally, you can destroy the container
dokku postgres:destroy lolipop

Changing database adapter

It's possible to change the protocol for DATABASE_URL by setting the environment variable POSTGRES_DATABASE_SCHEME on the app:

dokku config:set playground POSTGRES_DATABASE_SCHEME=postgres2
dokku postgres:link lolipop playground

Will cause DATABASE_URL to be set as postgres2://postgres:SOME_PASSWORD@dokku-postgres-lolipop:5432/lolipop

CAUTION: Changing POSTGRES_DATABASE_SCHEME after linking will cause dokku to believe the postgres is not linked when attempting to use dokku postgres:unlink or dokku postgres:promote. You should be able to fix this by

  • Changing DATABASE_URL manually to the new value.


  • Set POSTGRES_DATABASE_SCHEME back to its original setting
  • Unlink the service
  • Change POSTGRES_DATABASE_SCHEME to the desired setting
  • Relink the service


At the moment a database can’t be upgraded (or downgraded) inplace. Instead a clone has to be made, like this:

# Our original DB using PG 9.5
$ dokku postgres:create db9.5

# Migrate it like this for example
$ POSTGRES_IMAGE_VERSION=9.6 dokku postgres:clone db9.5 db9.6

# If it was linked to an application, first link the new DB
$ dokku postgres:link db9.6 my_app
# Then unlink the old one
$ dokku postgres:unlink db9.5 my_app

# And last, destroy the old container
$ dokku postgres:destroy db9.5


If you wish to tune the postgres instances various .conf files, you can find them by using the postgres:info command.

dokku postgres:info lolipop 
# or
dokku postgres:info lolipop --data-dir


Datastore backups are supported via AWS S3 and S3 compatible services like minio.

You may skip the backup-auth step if your dokku install is running within EC2 and has access to the bucket via an IAM profile. In that case, use the --use-iam option with the backup command.

Backups can be performed using the backup commands:

# setup s3 backup authentication
dokku postgres:backup-auth lolipop AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY

# remove s3 authentication
dokku postgres:backup-deauth lolipop

# backup the `lolipop` service to the `BUCKET_NAME` bucket on AWS
dokku postgres:backup lolipop BUCKET_NAME

# schedule a backup
# CRON_SCHEDULE is a crontab expression, eg. "0 3 * * *" for each day at 3am
dokku postgres:backup-schedule lolipop CRON_SCHEDULE BUCKET_NAME

# cat the contents of the configured backup cronfile for the service
dokku postgres:backup-schedule-cat lolipop

# remove the scheduled backup from cron
dokku postgres:backup-unschedule lolipop

Backup auth can also be set up for different regions, signature versions and endpoints (e.g. for minio):

# setup s3 backup authentication with different region
dokku postgres:backup-auth lolipop AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY AWS_REGION
# setup s3 backup authentication with different signature version and endpoint
# more specific example for minio auth
dokku postgres:backup-auth lolipop MINIO_ACCESS_KEY_ID MINIO_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY us-east-1 s3v4 https://YOURMINIOSERVICE

Importing Data

The import command should be used with any non-plain-text files exported by pg_dump. To import a SQL file, use connect like this:

dokku postgres:connect db < ./dump.sql


The connection to the database is done over SSL. A self-signed certificate is automatically generated when creating the service. It can be replaced by a custom certificate by overwriting the server.crt and server.key files in /var/lib/dokku/services/postgres/<DB_NAME>/data. The server.key must be chmoded to 600 and must be owned by the postgres user or root.

Disabling docker pull calls

If you wish to disable the docker pull calls that the plugin triggers, you may set the POSTGRES_DISABLE_PULL environment variable to true. Once disabled, you will need to pull the service image you wish to deploy as shown in the stderr output.

Please ensure the proper images are in place when docker pull is disabled.