PostgreSQL Backups with Docker


For brevity it is assumed that you will be running the below commands against local environment, however, this is by no means mandatory so feel free to switch to production.yml when needed.


  1. the project was generated with use_docker set to y;
  2. the stack is up and running: docker-compose -f local.yml up -d postgres.

Creating a Backup

To create a backup, run:

$ docker-compose -f local.yml exec postgres backup

Assuming your project’s database is named my_project here is what you will see:

Backing up the 'my_project' database...
SUCCESS: 'my_project' database backup 'backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz' has been created and placed in '/backups'.

Keep in mind that /backups is the postgres container directory.

Viewing the Existing Backups

To list existing backups,

$ docker-compose -f local.yml exec postgres backups

These are the sample contents of /backups:

These are the backups you have got:
total 24K
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 5.2K Mar 13 09:05 backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 5.2K Mar 12 21:13 backup_2018_03_12T21_13_03.sql.gz
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 5.2K Mar 12 21:12 backup_2018_03_12T21_12_58.sql.gz

Copying Backups Locally

If you want to copy backups from your postgres container locally, docker cp command will help you on that.

For example, given 9c5c3f055843 is the container ID copying all the backups over to a local directory is as simple as

$ docker cp 9c5c3f055843:/backups ./backups

With a single backup file copied to . that would be

$ docker cp 9c5c3f055843:/backups/backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz .

Restoring from the Existing Backup

To restore from one of the backups you have already got (take the backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz for example),

$ docker-compose -f local.yml exec postgres restore backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz

You will see something like

Restoring the 'my_project' database from the '/backups/backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz' backup...
INFO: Dropping the database...
INFO: Creating a new database...
INFO: Applying the backup to the new database...

(1 row)

# ...
SUCCESS: The 'my_project' database has been restored from the '/backups/backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz' backup.

Backup to Amazon S3

For uploading your backups to Amazon S3 you can use the aws cli container. There is an upload command for uploading the postgres /backups directory recursively and there is a download command for downloading a specific backup. The default S3 environment variables are used.

$ docker-compose -f production.yml run --rm awscli upload
$ docker-compose -f production.yml run --rm awscli download backup_2018_03_13T09_05_07.sql.gz