Configuring a custom database server

Package-based installation

Simply run sudo openproject reconfigure, and when the database wizard is displayed, select the Use an existing PostgreSQL database option and fill in the required details (cf the initial configuration section).

Setting a custom database URL

In some cases, you need flexibility in how you define the URL (e.g., specifying more options specific to PostgreSQL or using SSL certificates). In that case, you can pass the database URL as an environment variable instead:

openproject config:set DATABASE_URL=postgres://user:pass@host:port/dbname

Then, you need to run openproject reconfigure and select “Skip” for the database wizard. Otherwise the wizard will override your DATABASE_URL environment variable again.

Docker-based installation

If you run the all-in-one container, you can simply pass a custom DATABASE_URL environment variable on the docker command-line, which could point to an external database.


docker run -d ... -e DATABASE_URL=postgres://user:pass@host:port/dbname openproject/community:13

Best practice is using the file docker-compose.override.yml. If you run the Compose based docker stack, you can simply override the DATABASE_URL environment variable, and remove the db service from the docker-compose.yml file, but because by pulling a new version docker-compose.yml might get replaced. Then you can restart the stack with:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up -d

In both cases the seeder will be run when you (re)launch OpenProject to make sure that the database gets the migrations and demo data as well.

Setting DATABASE_URL and options separately

OpenProject will merge the settings from DATABASE_URL with manually specified environment options. Here are the supported options:

Environment variable Default Description Documentation
none URL style passing of database options
OPENPROJECT_DB_ENCODING unicode Encoding of the database Should be left at unicode unless you really know what you’re doing.
OPENPROJECT_DB_POOL none Connection pool count
OPENPROJECT_DB_USERNAME none Database username, if not presented in URL above
OPENPROJECT_DB_PASSWORD none Database password, if not presented in URL above
OPENPROJECT_DB_APPLICATION_NAME openproject PostgreSQL application name option
OPENPROJECT_DB_STATEMENT_TIMEOUT 90s Default statement timeout before connection statements are terminated

Using SSL/TLS with a PostgreSQL database

By default, the packaged installation installs a local database and does not use SSL encryption. If you provide a custom PostgreSQL database that supports SSL/TLS connections for servers and/or clients, you can pass the options as part of the DATABASE_URL. See the above guides on how to set this environment variable for Docker or packaged installations.

The most import option is the sslmode parameter. Set this to the appropriate mode as defined in the PostgreSQL documentation. For example, to require a SSL connection with full verification of the server certificate, you can add it to the database URL:


Alternatively, for better readability, you can set these parameters with separate environment variables:

Environment variable Default Description PostgreSQL documentation
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLMODE prefer connection mode for SSL. See sslmode
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLCOMPRESSION 0 If set to 1, data sent over SSL connections will be compressed sslcompression
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLCERT ~/.postgresql/postgresql.crt Path to certificate sslcert
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLKEY ~/.postgresql/postgresql.key Path to certificate key sslkey
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLPASSWORD Password to certificate key sslpassword
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLROOTCERT ~/.postgresql/root.crt Path to CA sslrootcert
OPENPROJECT_DB_SSLCRL ~/.postgresql/root.crl Path to revocation list sslcrl
="prefer" # disable, allow, prefer, require, verify-ca, verify-full
="0" # 0 or 1
="~/.postgresql/postgresql.crt" # Path to the certificate
="~/.postgresql/postgresql.key" # Path to the certificate private key
="" # Password for the certificate key, if any
="~/.postgresql/root.crt" # Path to CA
="~/.postgresql/root.crl" # Path to revocation list

PostgreSQL supports a wide variety of options in its connection string. This is not specific to OpenProject or Rails. See the following guide for more information: