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Getting Started/Import data

Import data from Postgres with the @neondatabase/pg-import CLI

This topic describes migrating data from another Postgres database to Neon using the @neondatabase/pg-import CLI. This tool is built on top of the Postgres pg_dump and pg_restore client utilities. It is intended to simplify data migrations for smaller, less complex databases compared to using the pg_dump and pg_restore client utilities directly, as described in Import data from Postgres.


The @neondatabase/pg-import CLI is experimental. There may be bugs, and the API is subject to change.

The@neondatabase/pg-import utility supports all Neon Postgres versions.

Before you begin

  • Make sure your Neon plan supports your database size. The Neon Free Tier offers 0.5 GiB of storage. For larger data sizes, upgrade to the Launch or Scale plan. See Neon plans. If you are on the Neon Launch or Scale plan, you can optimize for the migration by configuring a larger compute size or enabling autoscaling for additional CPU and RAM. See How to size your compute.

  • Retrieve the connection string for your source Postgres database.

  • Optionally, create a role in Neon to perform the restore operation. The role that performs the restore operation becomes the owner of restored database objects. For example, if you want role sally to own database objects, create role sally in Neon and perform the restore operation as sally.

  • Create the target database in Neon. For example, if you are migrating a database named pagila, create a database named pagila in Neon. For instructions, see Create a database.

  • Retrieve the connection string for your Neon database. You can find it in the Connection Details widget on the Neon Dashboard. If you created a role to perform the restore operation, make sure to select that role. Your connection string will look something like this:


    Avoid using a pooled Neon connection string (see PgBouncer issues 452 & 976 for details). Use an unpooled connection string instead.

  • The pg-import utility uses pg_dump and pg_restore. A generated dump file containing any of the following statements will produce a warning or error when data is restored to Neon:

    • ALTER OWNER statements
    • CREATE EVENT TRIGGER statements
    • Any statement requiring the PostgreSQL superuser privilege or a privilege not held by the role running the migration.

    ALTER OWNER warnings can be ignored (see Database object ownership considerations). CREATE EVENT TRIGGER or other statements requiring a privilege not held by the role performing the restore operation may require that you exclude those statements from the dump file.

Export data with @neondatabase/pg-import

Export your data from the source database with @neondatabase/pg-import:

npx @neondatabase/pg-import --source <source_database_connection_string> --backup-file-path <dump_file_name>

The @neondatabase/pg-import command above includes these arguments:

  • --source: Specifies the source database name or connection string.
  • --backup-file-path: The dump file name. It can be any name you choose (./mydumpfile.bak, for example).

For more command options, see all @neondatabase/pg-import options.

Restore data to Neon with @neondatabase/pg-import

Restore your data to the target database in Neon with @neondatabase/pg-import.

npx @neondatabase/pg-import --destination <neon_database_connection_string> --backup-file-path <dump_file_name>

The @neondatabase/pg-import command above includes these arguments:

  • --destination: Specifies the destination database name or connection string.
  • --backup-file-path: The dump file name. It can be any name you choose (./mydumpfile.bak, for example).

For more command options, see all @neondatabase/pg-import options.

@neondatabase/pg-import example

The following example shows how data from a pagila source database is dumped and restored to a pagila database in Neon using the commands described in the previous sections. (A database named pagila was created in Neon before running the restore operation.)

~$ cd mydump
~/mydump$ npx @neondatabase/pg-import --source postgres://[user]:[password]@[neon_hostname]/pagila --backup-file-path ./mydumpfile.bak

~/mydump$ ls

~/mydump$ npx @neondatabase/pg-import --destination postgres://[user]:[password]@[neon_hostname]/pagila --backup-file-path ./mydumpfile.bak

Piped import with @neondatabase/pg-import

For small databases, the standard output of pg_dump can be piped directly into a pg_restore command to minimize migration downtime. @neondatabase/pg-import makes it easier for you with a single command.

For example:

npx @neondatabase/pg-import --source <source_database_connection_string> --destination <neon-database-connection-string>

This method is not recommended for large databases, as it is susceptible to failures during lengthy migration operations.

Post-migration steps

After migrating your data, update your applications to connect to your new database in Neon. You will need the Neon database connection string that you used in the restore operation. If you run into any problems, see Connect from any application. After connecting your applications, test them thoroughly to ensure they function correctly with your new database.


Need help?

Join our Discord Server to ask questions or see what others are doing with Neon. Users on paid plans can open a support ticket from the console. For more detail, see Getting Support.

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