Getting Started

This tutorial will get you up and running with Litestream locally and replicating an SQLite database to an S3-compatible store called MinIO. This works the same as Amazon S3 but it’s easier to get started.

By the end, you’ll understand the replicate and restore commands and be able to continuously backup your database. It assumes you’re comfortable on the command line and have Docker installed.


Install Litestream & SQLite

Before continuing, please install Litestream on your local machine.

You will also need SQLite installed for this tutorial. It comes packaged with some operating systems such as macOS but you may need to install it separately.

Setting up MinIO

We’ll use a Docker instance of MinIO for this example. This gets us up and running quickly but it will only persist the data for as long as the Docker container is running. That’s good enough for this tutorial but you’ll want to use persistent storage in a production environment.

First, start your MinIO instance:

docker run -p 9000:9000 -p 9001:9001 minio/minio server /data --console-address ":9001"

Then open a web browser to http://localhost:9001/ and enter the default credentials:

Username: minioadmin
Password: minioadmin

Next, navigate to “Buckets”, click the “Create Bucket” button in the top right corner and then click the “Save” icon. Name your bucket, "mybkt".

Setting up your database

Now that our MinIO bucket is created, we can replicate data to it. Litestream can work with any SQLite database so we’ll use the sqlite3 command line tool to show how it works.

In a terminal window, create a new database file:

sqlite3 fruits.db

This will open the SQLite command prompt and now we can execute SQL commands. We’ll start by creating a new table:

CREATE TABLE fruits (name TEXT, color TEXT);

And we can add some data to our table:

INSERT INTO fruits (name, color) VALUES ('apple', 'red');
INSERT INTO fruits (name, color) VALUES ('banana', 'yellow');

Replicating your database

In a separate terminal window, we’ll run Litestream to replicate our new database. Make sure both terminal windows are using the same working directory.

First, we’ll set our MinIO credentials to our environment variables:

export LITESTREAM_ACCESS_KEY_ID=minioadmin

Next, run Litesteam’s replicate command to start replication:

litestream replicate fruits.db s3://mybkt.localhost:9000/fruits.db

You should see Litestream print some initialization commands and then wait indefinitely. Normally, Litestream is run as a background service so it continuously watches your database for new changes so the command does not exit.

If you open the MinIO Console, you will see there is a fruits.db directory in your bucket.

Restoring your database

In a third terminal window, we’ll restore our database to a new file. First, make sure your environment variables are set correctly:

export LITESTREAM_ACCESS_KEY_ID=minioadmin

Then run:

litestream restore -o fruits2.db s3://mybkt.localhost:9000/fruits.db

This will pull down the backup from MinIO and write it to the fruits2.db file. You can verify the database matches by executing a query on our file:

sqlite3 fruits2.db 'SELECT * FROM fruits'

The data should show:


Continuous replication

Litestream continuously monitors your database and backs it up to S3. We can see this by writing some more data to our original fruits.db database.

In our first terminal window, write a new row to our table:

INSERT INTO fruits (name, color) VALUES ('grape', 'purple');

Then in your third terminal window, restore your database from our S3 backup to a new fruits3.db file:

litestream restore -o fruits3.db s3://mybkt.localhost:9000/fruits.db

We can execute a query on this file:

sqlite3 fruits3.db 'SELECT * FROM fruits'

We should now see our new row:


Further reading

Litestream was built to run as a background service that you don’t need to worry about—it just replicates your database all the time. To run Litestream as a background service, please refer to the How-To Guides section to run on your particular platform.