Automates archival of Heroku PGBackups to S3
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A means of automating Heroku PGBackups and archiving them to Amazon S3.

This Project is No Longer Active

As of June 29, 2018, Heroku has yanked the older versions of the Heroku Legacy CLI that the pgbackups-archive gem depends on. As a result, you should discontinue use of pgbackups-archive.

If you're looking for a similar means of replicating Heroku database backups to Amazon S3, please see the heroku-database-backups project.


The pgbackups:archive rake task this gem provides will capture a Heroku PGBackup, wait for it to complete, then store it within the Amazon S3 bucket you specify. This rake task can be scheduled via the Heroku Scheduler, thus producing automated, offsite, backups.

This gem doesn't interfere with or utilze automated backups, so feel free to schedule those with the pg:backups schedule command as you desire.

You can configure how many manual backups (created by you or this gem) you'd like to keep at the Heroku PGBackups level to ensure there is always space to capture a new backup.

You can configure retention settings at the Amazon S3 bucket level from within the AWS Console if you like.


Install the gem

Add the gem to your Gemfile and bundle:

gem "pgbackups-archive"
bundle install

Install Heroku Scheduler add-on

heroku addons:create scheduler

Setup an AWS IAM user, S3 bucket and policy

A good security measure would be to use a dedicated set of AWS credentials with a security policy only allowing access to the bucket you're specifying. See this Pro Tip on Assigning an AWS IAM user access to a single S3 bucket.

Apply Environment Variables

# Required
heroku config:add HEROKU_API_KEY="collaborator-api-key"
heroku config:add PGBACKUPS_APP="myapp"
heroku config:add PGBACKUPS_BUCKET="myapp-backups"
heroku config:add PGBACKUPS_REGION="us-west-2"

# Optional: If you wish to backup a database other than the one that
# DATABASE_URL points to, set this to the name of the variable for that
# database (useful for follower databases).

Add the rake task to scheduler

heroku addons:open scheduler

Then specify rake pgbackups:archive as a task you would like to run at any of the available intervals.

In case you would like to make backups at different intervals simply "protect" a daily task using a bash if-statement, for example to run a task every 1st day in a month:

if [ "$(date +%d)" = 01 ]; then rake pgbackups:archive; fi

Loading the Rake task

If you're using this gem in a Rails 3+ app the rake task will be automatically loaded via a Railtie.

If you're using this gem with a Rails 2 app, or non-Rails app, add the following to your Rakefile:

require "pgbackups-archive"


To run the test suite, use the guard command and save a file or hit enter to run the full suite.

Use the pgbackups-archive-dummy test harness to setup a dummy database on Heroku to test against.


I shouldn't have to say this, but I will. Your backups are your responsibility. Take charge of ensuring that they run, archive and can be restored periodically as expected. Don't rely on Heroku, this gem, or anything else out there to substitute for a regimented database backup and restore testing strategy.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create a Pull Request


Many thanks go to the following who have contributed to making this gem even better:

  • Robert Bousquet (@bousquet)
    • Autoload rake task into Rails 2.x once the gem has been loaded
  • Daniel Morrison (@danielmorrison)
    • Ruby 1.8-compatible hash syntax
  • Karl Baum (@kbaum)
    • Custom setting for database to backup
    • Streaming support to handle large backup files
  • Conroy Whitney (@conroywhitney)
    • Use S3 server-side encryption by default
  • Chris Gaffney (@gaffneyc)
    • Switch from fog to fog-aws
    • Gem config improvements
  • Juraj Masar (@jurajmasar)
    • Fix for reading env var
    • Cutom multipart chunk size
  • Jan Stastny (@jstastny)
    • Custom multipart chunk size