Quick Start

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This section walks you through basic pgBackRest configuration process and how to take a first backup of the database cluster running locally. It also gives a brief introduction of the backup, restore, and info commands.

The installation procedure must be followed before proceeding to this section.


The default pgBackRest configuration file location is /etc/pgbackrest/pgbackrest.conf. If it does not exist, then /etc/pgbackrest.conf is used next.

For more information about configuration parameters, see the appendix section.

The following example configures a demo stanza to take a backup of a database cluster running on the local host.

For EDB Postgres Advanced Server:



For PostgreSQL:



Once pgBackRest is configured, set up the database archiver process:

# postgresql.conf
archive_mode = on
archive_command = 'pgbackrest --stanza=demo archive-push %p'

As changing the archive_mode parameter requires a service restart, and changing the archive_command only requires a configuration reload, we recommend enabling archive_mode with an empty archive_command (or pointing to /bin/true) when initiating a new database cluster.

Assume the identity of a system user (postgres or enterprisedb) and initiate the pgBackRest repository:

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo --log-level-console=info stanza-create

Check the configuration and the archiving process:

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo --log-level-console=info check


When invoking pgBackRest, you can specify any one of the backup type:

  • Full backup - full
    • Copies all database cluster files.
    • No dependencies on previous backups.

For example:

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo --type=full backup
  • Incremental backup - incr
    • Copies only the database cluster files that have changed since the last backup.
    • Depends on other backups to restore the incremental backup.

For example:

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo --type=incr backup
  • Differential backup - diff
    • Copies only the database cluster files that have changed since the last full backup.
    • Similar to an incremental backup, but always depends on the last full backup.

For example:

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo --type=diff backup

If there is no full backup to base an incremental or differential backup on, pgBackRest will run in full backup mode instead.

Backup Information

Use the info command to get information about backups.

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo info
stanza: demo
    status: ok
    cipher: none

    db (current)
        wal archive min/max (13-1): 000000010000000000000001/000000010000000000000007

        full backup: 20201019-162148F
            timestamp start/stop: 2020-10-19 16:21:48 / 2020-10-19 16:21:58
            wal start/stop: 000000010000000000000003 / 000000010000000000000003
            database size: 23.9MB, backup size: 23.9MB
            repository size: 2.9MB, repository backup size: 2.9MB

By default, the info command provides a human-readable summary of backups for the stanza requested. Without specifying --stanza, the info command will operate on all stanzas.


Use the restore command to restore a backup. The --delta option allows to keep the existing database cluster files and only recover as required, where as without the --delta option all files will be restored. Before running the restore command, stop the database cluster and (unless the --delta option is used) remove all files from the data directory, and from tablespaces.

$ pgbackrest --stanza=demo restore

Currently, the only way to verify the consistency of a backup is to restore it. We then recommend to try restore backups on a regular basis.

Recovery target

By default, the restore command will restore the latest backup and apply all of the archived WAL files found in the repository.

To choose the recovery target type for the restore, include the --type command-line option with one of the following keywords:

  • default - recover to the end of the archive stream.
  • immediate - recovery only until the database becomes consistent.
  • name - recover to the restore point.
  • xid - recover to the transaction ID.
  • time - recover to a specific timestamp.
  • preserve - preserve the existing recovery settings.
  • standby - add standby_mode=on or standby.signal.
  • none - no recovery settings provided.

When --type is set to name, transaction ID (xid), or time, use the --target option to specify a restore point.

pgBackRest will automatically select the correct backup set to restore if a recovery target time is specified. Otherwise, the latest backup set will be used. To restore a specific backup set, use the --set option.

To change the recovery_target_action PostgreSQL setting, use the restore --target-action option:

  • pause - pause when recovery target is reached (default).
  • promote - promote and switch timeline when recovery target is reached.
  • shutdown - shutdown server when recovery target is reached.



delta log-level-console pg-path pg-port pg-user repo-path

restore command

restore --set restore --target restore --target-action restore --type


archive_command archive_mode recovery_target_action standby_mode

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