Backup PostgreSQL to Amazon S3

In this guide we’ll show you how to backup your PostgreSQL instance to Amazon S3.

Every Render PostgreSQL instance has daily backups that are retained for at least 7 days, but you may want more control over backups. Backing up your PostgreSQL instance to Amazon S3 with a Cron Job gives you full control over the frequency and retention of your backups.

You will need a Render PostgreSQL instance and an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account for this guide.

By following this guide, you’ll be able to:

  1. Create AWS credentials that will enable working with Amazon S3.
  2. Configure and create a backup Cron Job for your database.
  3. Validate that the backup is working.

Create AWS Credentials

We will create credentials with AWS IAM to enable working with Amazon S3.

  1. Open the AWS console and navigate to the IAM service. Open the Users view and select the Add Users button.

    A screenshot of the AWS Dashboard creating a new IAM user

  2. Enter a descriptive username, such as <database name>-render-postgres-backup-cron.

  3. For Select AWS credential type* select Access key - Programmatic access.

  4. Select the Next: Permissions button to move to the Set Permissions view.

    A screenshot of the AWS Dashboard selecting the AmazonS3FullAccess policy for new IAM user

  5. In the Set Permissions view, select Attach existing policies directly and search for AmazonS3FullAccess. Check the box to select AmazonS3FullAccess.

It's possible to use finer-grained policies to authorize the Cron Job. We recommend Litestream's guide if you'd like to further lock down permissions.
  1. Skip through the next two views with the Next buttons to move to the Review view. Confirm the details of your user.

  2. Select the Create User button.

  3. Record the access key ID (AKIAXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) and the secret access key.

Configure and Create the Backup Cron Job

  1. Fork render-examples/postgres-s3-backups.

  2. In the render.yaml file, edit the fromDatabase name in the Cron Job’s DATABASE_URL environment variable to be the name of your PostgreSQL instance.

    Do not use PGBouncer as your DATABASE_URL when performing a backup. For details, see this GitHub issue.

  3. In the render.yaml file, edit the Cron Job’s region to match the region of your database.

  4. By default, the Cron Job will run the backup daily at 3 a.m. UTC. You can change the time and frequency by modifying the Cron Job’s schedule in the render.yaml file.

  5. Commit and push your changes.

  6. On the Render Dashboard, go to Blueprints and click the New Blueprint Instance button. Select your repository (after giving Render permission to access it, if you haven’t already). Alternatively, you can click the Deploy To Render button in the Readme of the forked repo.

    A screenshot of the Render Dashboard filling out the new Blueprint form

  7. Enter a descriptive Service Group Name such as Backup <database name> to S3.

  8. Fill in the environment variables:

    Environment VariableValue
    AWS_REGIONChoose the AWS region closest to the region of your database. For example, a PostgreSQL instance in Render’s Oregon region would use us-west-2 for the AWS Region US West (Oregon).
    S3_BUCKET_NAMEChoose a globally unique name for your bucket. For example <your-username>-<database name>-render-postgres-backups. The name must follow Bucket naming rules.
    AWS_ACCESS_KEY_IDCopy the Access key ID (AKIAXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) we saved when creating the User.
    AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEYCopy the secret access key we saved when creating the User.
    POSTGRES_VERSIONEnter your PostgreSQL Version. You can see the version when viewing your PostgreSQL instance. For example, 14.
  9. Select Apply to create the Cron Job.

Validate the Cron Job

  1. View the newly created Cron Job and wait for the first build to finish.

  2. Select the Trigger Run button and wait for the job to finish with a Cron job succeeded event.

  3. Verify the backup by inspecting the contents of your S3 bucket.

That’s it! Your Cron Job will now periodically backup your PostgreSQL instance to Amazon S3.


Large Databases

The aws CLI tool requires additional configuration when uploading large files to S3. If your compressed backup file exceeds 50 GB, add an --expected-size flag in the the upload_to_bucket function in

Credential Errors

You may have an error with your IAM user if your Cron Job fails and you see an error message similar to:

An error occurred (SignatureDoesNotMatch) when calling the CreateBucket operation:
The request signature we calculated does not match the signature you provided.
Check your key and signing method.

Check over the Create AWS Credentials instructions.