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Using a PostgreSQL database

By default, Gramps uses a file-based SQLite database to store the family tree. This works perfectly fine for Gramps Web and is recommended for most users. However, starting with Gramps Web API version 0.3.0, also a PostgreSQL server with a single family tree per database is supported, powered by the Gramps PostgreSQL Addon.

Setting up the PostgreSQL server

You can follow the instructions in the Gramps Wiki to set up the PostgreSQL server.

Alternatively, you can also use Docker Compose to run the PostgreSQL server in a container on the same docker host as Gramps Web.

Using a dockerized PostgreSQL with Gramps is only complicated by the fact the the default PostgreSQL images do not have any locales installed, which are however needed by Gramps for localized collation of objects. Thus, it is necessary to use a custom Dockerfile.

Create a Dockerfile with the following contens in a directory postgres next to your docker-compose.yml:

FROM postgres:14

RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y locales-all \
    && rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*

Next, add the following section to your docker-compose.yml:

    build: ./postgres
    restart: unless-stopped
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: your_postgres_password
      POSTGRES_USER: postgres
      - postgres_data:/var/lib/postgresql/data
and also add postgres_data: as key under the volumes: section of this YAML file.

Importing a Gramps family tree

Again, if you have set up the PostgreSQL server yourself, you can follow the instructions in the Gramps Wiki to import a family tree into the database.

Alternatively, if you have followed the Docker Compose instructions above, you can use the following command to import a Gramps XML file located on your docker host:

docker-compose run --entrypoint "" grampsweb \
    gramps -C postgres \
    -i /root/.gramps/grampsdb/my_tree.gramps \
    --config=database.backend:postgresql \ \
    --config=database.port:5432 \
    --username=postgres --password=your_postgres_password

Configuring Web API for use with the database

To configure Web API for use with the PostgreSQL database, add the following under the environment: key of the grampsweb service in docker-compose.yml:

      # the PostgreSQL addon assumes the tree name to be
      # equal to the database name and here the default 
      # database name of the PostgreSQL image is used
      TREE: postgres
      # The credentials must agree with the ones used for
      # the PostgreSQL container
      POSTGRES_USER: postgres
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: your_postgres_password


In case of issues, please monitor the log output of Gramps Web and the PostgreSQL server. In the case of docker, this is achieved with

docker-compose logs grampsweb
docker-compose logs postgres_grampsweb

If you suspect there is an issue with Gramps Web (or the documentation), please file an issue on Github.