Skip to content

Database Management

DDEV provides lots of flexibility for managing your databases between your local, staging and production environments. Most people know about ddev import-db and ddev export-db, but those tools now have more flexibility and there are plenty of other adaptable ways to work with your databases.


Remember, you can run ddev [command] --help for more info on many of the topics below.

Database Imports

Import a database with one command, from one of the following file formats:
.sql, .sql.gz, .mysql, .mysql.gz, .tar, .tar.gz, and .zip.

Here’s an example of a database import using DDEV:

ddev import-db --src=dumpfile.sql.gz

You can also:

  • Use ddev mysql or ddev psql or the mysql and psql commands inside the web and db containers.
  • Use phpMyAdmin for database imports—just be aware it’s much slower.


Many database backends: You can use a vast array of different database types, including MariaDB (5.5–10.8) and MySQL (5.5–8.0) PostgreSQL (9–14), see (docs). Note that if you want to change database type, you need to export your database and then ddev delete the project (to kill off the existing database), make the change to a new database type, start again, and import.

Default database: DDEV creates a default database named db and default permissions for the db user with password db, and it’s on the (inside Docker) hostname db.

Extra databases: You can easily create and populate additional databases. For example, ddev import-db --target-db=backend --src=backend.sql.gz will create the database named backend with permissions for that same db user and import from the backend.sql.gz dumpfile.

Exporting extra databases: You can export in the same way: ddev export-db -f mysite.sql.gz will export your default database (db). ddev export-db --target-db=backend -f backend-export.sql.gz will dump the database named backend.

Database snapshots: Snapshots let you easily save the entire status of all of your databases, which can be great when you’re working incrementally on migrations or updates and want to save state so you can start right back where you were.

Snapshots can be named for easier reference later on. For example, ddev snapshot --name=two-dbs would make a snapshot named two-dbs in the .ddev/db_snapshots directory. It includes the entire state of the db server, so in the case of our two databases above, both databases and the system level mysql or postgres database will all be snapshotted. Then if you want to delete everything with ddev delete -O (omitting the snapshot since we have one already), and then ddev start again, we can ddev snapshot restore two-dbs and we’ll be right back where we were.

Use ddev snapshot restore to interactively choose among snapshots, or append --latest to restore the most recent snapshot: ddev snapshot restore --latest.

ddev mysql and ddev psql: These commands give you direct access to the mysql and psql clients in the database container, which can be useful for quickly running commands while you work. You might run ddev mysql to use interactive commands like DROP DATABASE backend; or SHOW TABLES;, or do things like echo "SHOW TABLES;" | ddev mysql or ddev mysql -uroot -proot to get root privileges.

mysql/psql clients in containers: The web and db containers are each ready with MySQL/PostgreSQL clients, so you can ddev ssh or ddev ssh -s db and use mysql or psql.

mysqldump: The web and db containers also come with mysqldump. You could ddev ssh into the web container, for example, then mkdir /var/www/html/.tarballs and mysqldump db >/var/www/html/.tarballs/db.sql or mysqldump db | gzip >/var/www/html/.tarballs/db.sql.gz to create database dumps. Because /var/www/html is mounted into the container from your project root, the .tarballs directory will also show up in the root of the project on your host machine.

pgdump and related commands: The PostgreSQL database container includes normal pg commands like pgdump.

Other database explorers: There are lots of alternatives for GUI database explorers:

  • macOS users can use ddev sequelace to launch the free Sequel Ace database browser, ddev tableplus to launch TablePlus, and the obsolete Sequel Pro is also supported with ddev sequelpro. (Each must be installed before running the command.)
  • ddev describe displays the URL for the built-in phpMyAdmin GUI. (Something like https://<yourproject>
  • PhpStorm (and all JetBrains tools) have a nice database browser. (If you use the DDEV Integration plugin this is all done for you.)
    • Choose a static host_db_port for your project. For example host_db_port: 59002 (each project’s database port should be different if you’re running more than one project at a time). Use ddev start for it to take effect.
    • Use the “database” tool to create a source from “localhost”, with the proper type “mysql” or “postgresql” and the port you chose, username db + password db.
    • Explore away!
  • There’s a sample custom command that will run the free MySQL Workbench on macOS, Windows or Linux. To use it, run:
    • cp ~.ddev/commands/host/mysqlworkbench.example ~.ddev/commands/host/mysqlworkbench
    • ddev mysqlworkbench

Last update: October 5, 2022