cockroach userfile upload

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CockroachDB v21.1 is no longer supported. For more details, see the Release Support Policy.

The cockroach userfile upload command uploads a file to the user-scoped file storage using a SQL connection.

This command takes in a source file to upload and a destination filename. It will then use a SQL connection to upload the file to the destination.


A userfile uses storage space in the cluster, and is replicated with the rest of the cluster's data. We recommended using cockroach userfile upload for quick uploads from your client (about 15MB or smaller).


If you would like to upload and import data from a dump file, consider using cockroach import instead.

Required privileges

The user must have the CREATE privilege on the target database. CockroachDB will proactively grant the user GRANT, SELECT, INSERT, DROP, DELETE on the metadata and file tables.

A user can only upload files to their own user-scoped storage, which is accessed through the userfile URI. CockroachDB will revoke all access from every other user in the cluster except users in the admin role.


Upload a file:

$ cockroach userfile upload <location/of/file> <destination/of/file> [flags]

You must specify a source path.

View help:

$ cockroach userfile upload --help

File destination

Userfile operations are backed by two tables: files (which holds file metadata) and payload (which holds the file payloads). To reference these tables, you can:

  • Use the default URI: userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/.
  • Provide a fully qualified userfile URI that specifies the database, schema, and table name prefix you want to use.

    • If you do not specify a destination URI/path, then CockroachDB will use the default URI scheme and host, and the basename from the source argument as the path. For example: userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/local
    • If the destination is a well-formed userfile URI (i.e., userfile://db.schema.tablename_prefix/path/to/file), then CockroachDB will use that as the final URI. For example: userfile://
    • If destination is not a well-formed userfile URI, then CockroachDB will use the default userfile URI schema and host (userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/), and the destination as the path. For example: userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/destination/path

Userfile is not a filesystem and does not support filesystem semantics. The destination file path must be the same after normalization (i.e., if you pass any path that results in a different path after normalization, it will be rejected).


Files are uploaded with a .tmp suffix and are renamed once the userfile upload transaction has committed (i.e, the process ends gracefully). Therefore, if a file you believed had finished uploading has a .tmp suffix, then the upload should be retried.


Flag Description
--cert-principal-map A comma-separated list of <cert-principal>:<db-principal> mappings. This allows mapping the principal in a cert to a DB principal such as node or root or any SQL user. This is intended for use in situations where the certificate management system places restrictions on the Subject.CommonName or SubjectAlternateName fields in the certificate (e.g., disallowing a CommonName like node or root). If multiple mappings are provided for the same <cert-principal>, the last one specified in the list takes precedence. A principal not specified in the map is passed through as-is via the identity function. A cert is allowed to authenticate a DB principal if the DB principal name is contained in the mapped CommonName or DNS-type SubjectAlternateName fields.
--certs-dir The path to the certificate directory containing the CA and client certificates and client key.

Default: ${HOME}/.cockroach-certs/
--echo-sql Reveal the SQL statements sent implicitly by the command-line utility.
--url A connection URL to use instead of the other arguments.

Default: no URL
The SQL user that will own the client session.

Default: root


Upload a file

To upload a file to the default storage (userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/):

$ cockroach userfile upload /Users/maxroach/Desktop/test-data.csv /test-data.csv --certs-dir=certs
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/test-data.csv

Also, a file can be uploaded to the default storage if the destination is not specified:

$ cockroach userfile upload /Users/maxroach/Desktop/test-data2.csv --certs-dir=certs
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/test-data2.csv

Then, you can use the file to IMPORT or IMPORT INTO data.

Upload a file to a specific directory

To upload a file to a specific destination, include the destination in the command:

$ cockroach userfile upload /Users/maxroach/Desktop/test-data.csv /test-upload/test-data.csv --cert-dir=certs
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/test-upload/test-data.csv

Then, you can use the file to IMPORT or IMPORT INTO data.

Upload a file to a non-default userfile URI

cockroach userfile upload /Users/maxroach/Desktop/test-data.csv userfile://testdb.public.uploads/test-data.csv
successfully uploaded to userfile://testdb.public.uploads/test-data.csv

Upload a backup directory recursively

Currently in v21.1 and prior, it's not possible to use cockroach userfile upload recursively when uploading a directory of files. When you need to upload a directory (such as a backup) to userfile storage, it is possible to programmatically upload your files.

The following example uses userfile storage and its features to backup a database and then restore it to a cluster. This workflow provides a way to recover backup data when using userfile as your storage option.


Only database and table-level backups are possible when using userfile as storage. Restoring cluster-level backups will not work because userfile data is stored in the defaultdb database, and you cannot restore a cluster with existing table data.

After connecting to the cluster that contains the data you would like to backup, run the BACKUP statement:

BACKUP DATABASE movr TO 'userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/database-backup' AS OF SYSTEM TIME '-10s';

This will make a backup of the database under database-backup in the default userfile space.

job_id             |  status   | fraction_completed | rows | index_entries | bytes
679645548255936513 | succeeded |                  1 | 2997 |          1060 | 492713
(1 row)

Next, on the command line, use the following cockroach userfile get command to fetch the files stored in the userfile storage and download them to your local directory:

cockroach userfile get 'userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/database-backup' --url {CONNECTION STRING}

Note that without passing a specific directory this command will fetch all files stored within the default user space in userfile.

The output will show the files downloading:

downloaded database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-679645548255936513-CHECKSUM to database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-679645548255936513-CHECKSUM (4 B)
downloaded database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-CHECKSUM to database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-CHECKSUM (4 B)
downloaded database-backup/BACKUP-STATISTICS to database-backup/BACKUP-STATISTICS (53 KiB)
downloaded database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST to database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST (2.6 KiB)
downloaded database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST-CHECKSUM to database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST-CHECKSUM (4 B)
downloaded database-backup/data/679645557047099393.sst to database-backup/data/679645557047099393.sst (5.8 KiB)
. . .
downloaded database-backup/data/679645558404448257.sst to database-backup/data/679645558404448257.sst (5.8 KiB)
downloaded database-backup/data/679645558408249345.sst to database-backup/data/679645558408249345.sst (41 KiB)

At this point, you have two copies of the data:

  • One in the database's userfile storage
  • One on your local machine

Your backup will contain files similar to the following structure:

├── BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-679645548255936513-CHECKSUM
└── data
    ├── 679645557047099393.sst
    ├── 679645557048475649.sst
    ├── 679645557048868865.sst
    ├── 679645558151741442.sst
. . .

Use DROP to remove the movr database:


Next, use cockroach userfile delete to remove this from userfile:

cockroach userfile delete 'userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/database-backup' --url 'postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable'
successfully deleted database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-679645548255936513-CHECKSUM
successfully deleted database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-CHECKSUM
successfully deleted database-backup/BACKUP-STATISTICS
successfully deleted database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST
successfully deleted database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST-CHECKSUM
successfully deleted database-backup/data/679645557047099393.sst
. . .
successfully deleted database-backup/data/679645558154264579.sst

cockroach userfile upload will not recursively upload files from a directory. It is possible to programmatically upload your files from the command line.

For example, the following command finds all files under database-backup and runs cockroach userfile upload on each file:

find database-backup -type f | xargs -I{} cockroach userfile upload {} {} --url='postgresql://root@localhost:26257?sslmode=disable'
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST-CHECKSUM
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-CHECKSUM
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/BACKUP-STATISTICS
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/BACKUP-CHECKPOINT-679678586269007873-CHECKSUM
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/BACKUP_MANIFEST
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/data/679678597597560835.sst
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/data/679678594426601474.sst
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/data/679678592925335554.sst
. . .
successfully uploaded to userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_root/database-backup/data/679678594438758403.sst

Now, with the backup files present in userfile storage, you can RESTORE the database to the cluster:

RESTORE DATABASE movr FROM 'userfile:///database-backup';

Note that userfile:/// refers to the default path userfile://defaultdb.public.userfiles_$user/.

Known limitation

  • cockroach userfile upload does not currently allow for recursive uploads from a directory. This feature will be present with the --recursive flag in future versions. Tracking GitHub Issue

See also

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