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Export your PostgreSQL database anonymized. Replace all sensitive data thanks to faker. Output to a file that you can easily import with psql.

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Run this command by giving a connexion string and an output file name (no need to install first thanks to npx):

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://user:secret@localhost:1234/mydb -o dump.sql

☝️ This command requires pg_dump. It may already be installed as soon as PostgreSQL is installed.

Output can also be stdout ('-') so you can pipe the output to zip, gz, or to psql:

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://user:secret@localhost:1234/mydb -o - | psql DATABASE_URL


--columns | -c

Specify list of columns to anonymize

Use --columns option with a comma separated list of column name:

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb \

Specifying another list via --columns replace the default automatically anonymized values:


You can also specify the table for a column using the dot notation:,public.product.description,email,name

Customize replacements

You can also choose which faker function you want to use to replace data (default is faker.random.word):

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb \,

👉 You don't need to specify faker function since the command will try to find correct function via column name.

You can use plain text too for static replacements:

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb \


Use an extension file to create your own custom replacements

Create an extension file, written in javascript

// myExtension.js
module.exports = {
  maskEmail: (email) => {
   const [name, domain] = email.split('@');
   const { length: len } = name;
   const maskedName = name[0] + '...' + name[len - 1];
   const maskedEmail = maskedName + '@' + domain;
   return maskedEmail;

Pass the path to --extension and use the module exports in --columns

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb \
  --extension ./myExtension.js \

--config | -f

Use a configuration file

You can use the --config option to specify a file with a list of column names and optional replacements, one per line:

Create a configuration file:


Pass the path to the file into --config

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb \
  --config /path/to/file


Skip tables

Use --skip to skip anonymizing entire tables

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb --skip public.posts

--preserve-null | -n

Preserve NULL values

Use --preserve-null to skip anonymization on fields with NULL values.

npx pg-anonymizer postgres://localhost/mydb --preserve-null


Set fakers locale (i18n)

Use --faker-locale to change the locale used by faker (default: en)

Import the anonymized file

The anonymized output file is plain SQL text, you can import it with psql.

psql -d mylocaldb < output.sql


There are a bunch of competitors, still I failed to use them:

  • postgresql_anonymizer may be hard to setup and may be cumbersome for simple usage. Still, I guess it's the best solution.
  • pganonymize fails when it does not use public schema or columns have uppercase characters
  • pganonymizer also fails with simple cases. Errors are not explicit and silent.