Create a File Server for Imports and Backups

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CockroachDB v1.1 is no longer supported. For more details, see the Release Support Policy.

If you need a location to store files for the IMPORT process or CockroachDB enterprise backups, but do not have access to (or simply cannot use) cloud storage providers, you can easily create your own file server. You can then use this file server by leveraging support for our HTTP Export Storage API.

This is especially useful for:

  • Implementing a compatibility layer in front of custom or proprietary storage providers for which CockroachDB does not yet have built-in support
  • Using on-premises storage

HTTP Export Storage API

CockroachDB tasks that require reading or writing external files (such as IMPORT and BACKUP) can use the HTTP Export Storage API by prefacing the address with http, e.g., http://fileserver/mnt/cockroach-exports.

This API uses the GET, PUT and DELETE methods. This behaves like you would expect typical HTTP requests to work. After a PUT request to some path, a subsequent GET request should return the content sent in the PUT request body, at least until a DELETE request is received for that path.


You can use any file server software that supports GET, PUT and DELETE methods, but we've included code samples for common ones:

We do not recommend using any machines running cockroach as file servers. Using machines that are running cockroach as file servers could negatively impact performance if I/O operations exceed capacity.

Using Caddy as a File Server

  1. Download a caddy binary that includes the http.upload plugin.

  2. Run caddy with an upload directive, either in the command line or via Caddyfile.

    • Command line example (with no TLS):

      caddy -root /mnt/cockroach-exports "upload / {" 'to "/mnt/cockroach-exports"' 'yes_without_tls' "}"
    • Caddyfile example (using a key and cert):

      tls key cert
      root "/mnt/cockroach-exports"
      upload / {
        to "/mnt/cockroach-exports"

Using nginx as a File Server

  1. Install nginx with the webdav module (often included in -full or similarly named packages in various distributions).

  2. In the nginx.conf file, add a dav_methods PUT DELETE directive. For example:

    events {
        worker_connections  1024;
    http {
      server {
        listen 20150;
        location / {
          dav_methods  PUT DELETE;
          root /mnt/cockroach-exports;
          sendfile           on;
          sendfile_max_chunk 1m;

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