Import data into Supabase

You can import data into Supabase in multiple ways. The best method depends on your data size and app requirements.

If you're working with small datasets in development, you can experiment quickly using CSV import in the Supabase dashboard. If you're working with a large dataset in production, you should plan your data import to minimize app latency and ensure data integrity.

How to import data into Supabase

You have multiple options for importing your data into Supabase:

  1. CSV import via the Supabase dashboard
  2. Bulk import using pgloader
  3. Using the Postgres COPY command
  4. Using the Supabase API

Option 1: CSV import via Supabase dashboard

Supabase dashboard provides a user-friendly way to import data. However, for very large datasets, this method may not be the most efficient choice, given the size limit is 100MB. It's generally better suited for smaller datasets and quick data imports. Consider using alternative methods like pgloader for large-scale data imports.

  1. Navigate to the relevant table in the Table Editor.
  2. Click on “Insert” then choose "Import Data from CSV" and follow the on-screen instructions to upload your CSV file.

Option 2: Bulk import using pgloader

pgloader is a powerful tool for efficiently importing data into a PostgreSQL database that supports a wide range of source database engines, including MySQL and MS SQL.

You can use it in conjunction with Supabase by following these steps:

  1. Install pgloader on your local machine or a server. For more info, you can refer to the official pgloader installation page.

    $ apt-get install pgloader

  2. Create a configuration file that specifies the source data and the target Supabase database (e.g., config.load). Here's an example configuration file:

    INTO postgres://postgres.xxxx:[email protected]:6543/postgres
    ALTER SCHEMA 'public' OWNER TO 'postgres';
    set wal_buffers = '64MB', max_wal_senders = 0, statement_timeout = 0, work_mem to '2GB';

    Customize the source and Supabase database URL and options to fit your specific use case:

    • wal_buffers: This parameter is set to '64MB' to allocate 64 megabytes of memory for write-ahead logging buffers. A larger value can help improve write performance by caching more data in memory before writing it to disk. This can be useful during data import operations to speed up the writing of transaction logs.
    • max_wal_senders: It is set to 0, to disable replication connections. This is done during the data import process to prevent replication-related conflicts and issues.
    • statement_timeout: The value is set to 0, which means it's disabled, allowing SQL statements to run without a time limit.
    • work_mem: It is set to '2GB', allocating 2 GB of memory for query operations. This enhances the performance of complex queries by allowing larger in-memory datasets.
  3. Run pgloader with the configuration file.

    pgloader config.load

For databases using the Postgres engine, we recommend using the pg_dump and psql command line tools.

Option 3: Using Postgres copy command

Read more about Bulk data loading.

Option 4: Using the Supabase API

The Supabase API allows you to programmatically import data into your tables. You can use various client libraries to interact with the API and perform data import operations. This approach is useful when you need to automate data imports, and it gives you fine-grained control over the process. Refer to our API guide for more details.

Preparing to import data

Large data imports can affect your database performance. Failed imports can also cause data corruption. Importing data is a safe and common operation, but you should plan ahead if you're importing a lot of data, or if you're working in a production environment.

1. Back up your data

Backups help you restore your data if something goes wrong. Databases on Pro and Enterprise plans are automatically backed up on schedule, but you can also take your own backup. See Database Backups for more information.

2. Increase statement timeouts

By default, Supabase enforces query statement timeouts to ensure fair resource allocation and prevent long-running queries from affecting the overall system. When importing large datasets, you may encounter timeouts. To address this:

  • Increase the Statement Timeout: You can adjust the statement timeout for your session or connection to accommodate longer-running queries. Be cautious when doing this, as excessively long queries can negatively impact system performance. Read more about Statement Timeouts.

3. Estimate your required disk size

Large datasets consume disk space. Ensure your Supabase project has sufficient disk capacity to accommodate the imported data. If you know how big your database is going to be, you can manually increase the size in your projects database settings.

Read more about disk management.

4. Disable triggers

When importing large datasets, it's often beneficial to disable triggers temporarily. Triggers can significantly slow down the import process, especially if they involve complex logic or referential integrity checks. After the import, you can re-enable the triggers.

To disable triggers, use the following SQL commands:

-- Disable triggers on a specific table
-- To re-enable triggers

5. Rebuild indices after data import is complete

Indexing is crucial for query performance, but building indices while importing a large dataset can be time-consuming. Consider building or rebuilding indices after the data import is complete. This approach can significantly speed up the import process and reduce the overall time required.

To build an index after the data import:

-- Create an index on a table
create index index_name on table_name (column_name);

Read more about Managing Indexes in PostgreSQL.