15 Database

RStudio supports multiple database options. Currently, the supported databases are SQLite and PostgreSQL. When running RStudio Workbench in a load balanced configuration, you must use a PostgreSQL database, as SQLite is insufficient for managing state between multiple nodes.

15.1 Configuration

In order to set up a database connection, modify the file /etc/rstudio/database.conf. The file contains documentation about how to use it, and you can simply uncomment any lines that are relevant to your configuration. Note that because the file can contain password data, this file must be user read/write only (file mask 600).

15.1.1 SQLite

By default, RStudio creates a SQLite database for you automatically under the /var/lib/rstudio-server directory. For single-node installations, this is sufficient, but as stated before, will not be sufficient for load balanced deployments.

You should never specify a SQLite directory that is on shared storage, such as NFS. Per the SQLite documentation, this can cause data corruption.

Sample configuration:

/etc/rstudio/database.conf

provider=sqlite

# Directory in which the sqlite database will be written
directory=/var/lib/rstudio-server

15.1.2 PostgreSQL

If you wish to use PostgreSQL, you must create an empty database for RStudio to connect to. You must not share this database with other products or services. If running an HA setup, it is strongly recommended to run the database on a separate server than the RStudio services to ensure maximum availability. The minimum supported PostgreSQL version is 9.5.

Sample configuration:

/etc/rstudio/database.conf

# Note: when connecting to a PostgreSQL database, a default empty rstudio database must first be created!
provider=postgresql

# Specifies the host (hostname or IP address) of the database host
host=localhost

# Specifies the database to connect to
database=rstudio

# Specifies the TCP port where the database is listening for connections
port=5432

# Specifies the database connection username
username=postgres

# Specifies the database connection password. This may be encrypted with the secure-cookie-key.
# The encrypted password can be generated using the helper command rstudio-server encrypt-password.
# It is strongly recommended that you encrypt the password!
password=postgres

PostgreSQL connection URIs are also supported if preferred. If specifying additional options other than the ones provided above, such as sslmode, the use of a URI is required.

For example:

/etc/rstudio/database.conf

provider=postgresql

# Specifies the connection URL in the form of a postgresql:// connection URL. This can be used if you need
# to set special database settings that are not available with the other parameters. If set, this parameter will
# override any other postgresql parameters that have been set, with the exception of the password. A password in 
# the URI is supported as a convenience but we strongly recommend using the separate password field, which will
# always replace any password specified in the URI.
connection-uri=postgresql://postgres@localhost:5432/rstudio?sslmode=allow&options=-csearch_path=public

Available PostgreSQL connection string parameters are documented in the official PostgreSQL documentation.

Note: The password in connection-uri may contain characters that may need to be URL-encoded to work properly. Avoid encoding the password by using the separate password field in the configuration.

15.1.2.1 SSL

SSL for the PostgreSQL database can be used with RStudio by specifying sslmode=allow within the connection-uri parameter. The connection-uri mode of configuration must be used to specify additional database connection options such as these, beyond the simple name/value pairs that are supported.

For example:

/etc/rstudio/database.conf

provider=postgresql
connection-uri=postgresql://postgres@localhost:5432/rstudio?sslmode=allow

15.1.2.2 Schemas

If you need to, you can tell RStudio to restrict itself to keeping its tables within a specific schema. You control this by giving PostgreSQL a search path as part of the URL by adding options=-csearch_path=<schema-name> to the connection-uri. If it’s the only item you’re adding, separate it from the rest of the URL with ? (just like the sslmode item above). Otherwise, separate it from other items with ‘&’.

For example:

provider=postgresql
connection-uri=postgresql://postgres@localhost:5432/rstudio?sslmode=allow&options=-csearch_path=rstudio_schema

RStudio will refuse to start when given a schema that does not already exist. The schema must be owned by the connecting user or by a group that contains the connecting user.

15.1.2.3 PostgreSQL Account

When setting up your PostgreSQL database for use with RStudio, ensure that you do not use the default postgres user account that comes with a standard installation. This is to ensure that your database is secure. Always ensure that whichever account that is used to access the database contains a strong password - do not use an account that has no password! You should also ensure that only one PostgreSQL user has access to the RStudio database for maximum security.

15.1.2.4 PostgreSQL Password Encryption

A plain-text password in the password or connection-uri options of the /etc/rstudio/database.conf file must only be used temporarily for testing purposes. A warning will be present in RStudio log output when a plain-text password is being used.

We strongly recommend encrypting the password using the command rstudio-server encrypt-password. This way, if you have to backup your configuration, save it to a repository or share it with RStudio Support, your PostgreSQL password will be protected.

Use the following steps to encrypt the PostgreSQL password:

  • Remove the password from the connection-uri option if defined in the database.conf file.
  • Run the command sudo rstudio-server encrypt-password and enter the PostgreSQL password.
  • Copy the resulting encrypted password printed in the terminal.
  • Add or replace the password option in the database.conf file using the encrypted password copied above.
  • Restart RStudio. Confirm it operates normally. You should no longer see a warning about plain-text password in RStudio logs.

Note: Alternatively, you can also “pipe” your password to the rstudio-server encrypt-password command to skip the prompt. Useful when the password is already stored elsewhere. For example:

cat passwordfile | sudo rstudio-server encrypt-password

The password encryption uses the secure-cookie-key value. By default RStudio generates this key during installation and stores it in /var/lib/rstudio-server/secure-cookie-key.

The same key value must be used for both encryption and decryption. If the key value used to encrypt the PostgreSQL password changes, the password must be re-encrypted with the new key and updated in /etc/rstudio/database.conf.

If preparing RStudio configuration files on one system for deployment on other system(s), you must manually generate a key and store it in /etc/rstudio/secure-cookie-key, then encrypt the password again, update /etc/rstudio/database.conf, and ensure this secure-cookie-key file is deployed along with other RStudio configuration files. The technique for creating this file is described in Generating a Key.

15.1.2.5 PostgreSQL Connection Testing and Troubleshooting

Once the settings have been entered in /etc/rstudio/database.conf, use the sudo rstudio-server verify-installation command to test connectivity and quickly view errors and warnings.

15.2 Migration

When changing database providers, you must migrate your existing database data from your current database provider to the new provider to prevent unexpected data loss.

The following steps should be taken to perform a successful migration from SQLite to PostgreSQL:

  1. Create an empty database called rstudio in PostgreSQL (or any custom name according to your RStudio configuration below). Ensure the connection credentials work for the new database.
  2. Stop RStudio.
  3. Switch to PostgreSQL by modifying the /etc/rstudio/database.conf file. If you are storing the SQLite database in a different location be sure to keep the directory option in the file during the migration.
  4. Run the command sudo rstudio-server migrate-db. Watch for the output and confirm that the migration was successful.
  5. Once the data has been imported to the new database, restart RStudio.

Note: The migration from PostgreSQL to SQLite is not currently supported.