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Using Postgres

Postgres version 9.5 or later is known to work.

Install postgres client libraries

Synapse will require the python postgres client library in order to connect to a postgres database.

  • If you are using the debian/ubuntu packages, the necessary python library will already be installed, but you will need to ensure the low-level postgres library is installed, which you can do with apt install libpq5.

  • For other pre-built packages, please consult the documentation from the relevant package.

  • If you installed synapse in a virtualenv, you can install the library with:

    ~/synapse/env/bin/pip install matrix-synapse[postgres]

    (substituting the path to your virtualenv for ~/synapse/env, if you used a different path). You will require the postgres development files. These are in the libpq-dev package on Debian-derived distributions.

Set up database

Assuming your PostgreSQL database user is called postgres, first authenticate as the database user with:

su - postgres
# Or, if your system uses sudo to get administrative rights
sudo -u postgres bash

Then, create a user synapse_user with:

createuser --pwprompt synapse_user

Before you can authenticate with the synapse_user, you must create a database that it can access. To create a database, first connect to the database with your database user:

su - postgres # Or: sudo -u postgres bash

and then run:

 OWNER synapse_user;

This would create an appropriate database named synapse owned by the synapse_user user (which must already have been created as above).

Note that the PostgreSQL database must have the correct encoding set (as shown above), otherwise it will not be able to store UTF8 strings.

You may need to enable password authentication so synapse_user can connect to the database. See

Tuning Postgres

The default settings should be fine for most deployments. For larger scale deployments tuning some of the settings is recommended, details of which can be found at

In particular, we've found tuning the following values helpful for performance:

  • shared_buffers
  • effective_cache_size
  • work_mem
  • maintenance_work_mem
  • autovacuum_work_mem

Note that the appropriate values for those fields depend on the amount of free memory the database host has available.

Synapse config

When you are ready to start using PostgreSQL, edit the database section in your config file to match the following lines:

    name: psycopg2
        user: <user>
        password: <pass>
        database: <db>
        host: <host>
        cp_min: 5
        cp_max: 10

All key, values in args are passed to the psycopg2.connect(..) function, except keys beginning with cp_, which are consumed by the twisted adbapi connection pool.

Porting from SQLite


The script synapse_port_db allows porting an existing synapse server backed by SQLite to using PostgreSQL. This is done in as a two phase process:

  1. Copy the existing SQLite database to a separate location (while the server is down) and running the port script against that offline database.
  2. Shut down the server. Rerun the port script to port any data that has come in since taking the first snapshot. Restart server against the PostgreSQL database.

The port script is designed to be run repeatedly against newer snapshots of the SQLite database file. This makes it safe to repeat step 1 if there was a delay between taking the previous snapshot and being ready to do step 2.

It is safe to at any time kill the port script and restart it.

Using the port script

Firstly, shut down the currently running synapse server and copy its database file (typically homeserver.db) to another location. Once the copy is complete, restart synapse. For instance:

./synctl stop
cp homeserver.db homeserver.db.snapshot
./synctl start

Copy the old config file into a new config file:

cp homeserver.yaml homeserver-postgres.yaml

Edit the database section as described in the section Synapse config above and with the SQLite snapshot located at homeserver.db.snapshot simply run:

synapse_port_db --sqlite-database homeserver.db.snapshot \
    --postgres-config homeserver-postgres.yaml

The flag --curses displays a coloured curses progress UI.

If the script took a long time to complete, or time has otherwise passed since the original snapshot was taken, repeat the previous steps with a newer snapshot.

To complete the conversion shut down the synapse server and run the port script one last time, e.g. if the SQLite database is at homeserver.db run:

synapse_port_db --sqlite-database homeserver.db \
    --postgres-config homeserver-postgres.yaml

Once that has completed, change the synapse config to point at the PostgreSQL database configuration file homeserver-postgres.yaml:

./synctl stop
mv homeserver.yaml homeserver-old-sqlite.yaml
mv homeserver-postgres.yaml homeserver.yaml
./synctl start

Synapse should now be running against PostgreSQL.

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