Migrating from MySQL/MariaDB to PostgreSQL

Our recommended database for all production installations is PostgreSQL. Support for MySQL/MariaDB has been removed in newer pretix releases.

In order to follow this guide, your pretix installation needs to be a version that fully supports MySQL/MariaDB. If you already upgraded to pretix 5.0 or later, downgrade back to the last 4.x release using pip.


We have tested this guide carefully, but we can’t assume any liability for its correctness. The data loss risk should be low as long as pretix is not running while you do the migration. If you are a pretix Enterprise customer, feel free to reach out in advance if you want us to support you along the way.

Update database schema

Before you start, make sure your database schema is up to date. With a local installation:

# sudo -u pretix -s
$ source /var/pretix/venv/bin/activate
(venv)$ python -m pretix migrate

With a docker installation:

docker exec -it pretix.service pretix migrate

Install PostgreSQL

Now, install and set up a PostgreSQL server. For a local installation on Debian or Ubuntu, use:

# apt install postgresql

Having the database server installed, we still need a database and a database user. We can create these with any kind of database managing tool or directly on our database’s shell. Please make sure that UTF8 is used as encoding for the best compatibility. You can check this with the following command:

# sudo -u postgres psql -c 'SHOW SERVER_ENCODING'

Without Docker

For our standard manual installation, create the database and user like this:

# sudo -u postgres createuser pretix
# sudo -u postgres createdb -O pretix pretix

With Docker

For our standard docker installation, create the database and user like this:

# sudo -u postgres createuser -P pretix
# sudo -u postgres createdb -O pretix pretix

Make sure that your database listens on the network. If PostgreSQL on the same same host as docker, but not inside a docker container, we recommend that you listen on the Docker interface by changing the following line in /etc/postgresql/<version>/main/postgresql.conf:

listen_addresses = 'localhost,'

You also need to add a new line to /etc/postgresql/<version>/main/pg_hba.conf to allow network connections to this user and database:

host    pretix          pretix           md5

Restart PostgreSQL after you changed these files:

# systemctl restart postgresql

If you have a firewall running, you should also make sure that port 5432 is reachable from the subnet.

Of course, instead of all this you can also run a PostgreSQL docker container and link it to the pretix container.

Stop pretix

To prevent any more changes to your data, stop pretix from running. With a local installation:

# systemctl stop pretix-web pretix-worker

With docker:

# systemctl stop pretix

Change configuration

Change the database configuration in your /etc/pretix/pretix.cfg file:

password=  ; only required for docker or remote database, can be kept empty for local auth
host=      ; set to in docker setup, keep empty for local auth

Create database schema

To create the schema in your new PostgreSQL database, use the following commands. With a local installation:

# sudo -u pretix -s
$ source /var/pretix/venv/bin/activate
(venv)$ python -m pretix migrate

With docker:

# docker run --rm -v /var/pretix-data:/data -v /etc/pretix:/etc/pretix -v /var/run/redis:/var/run/redis pretix/standalone:stable migrate

Migrate your data

Install pgloader:

# apt install pgloader


If you are using Ubuntu 20.04, the pgloader version from the repositories seems to be incompatible with PostgreSQL 12+. You can install pgloader from the PostgreSQL repositories instead. See also this discussion.

Create a new file /tmp/pretix.load, replacing the MySQL and PostgreSQL connection strings with the correct user names, passwords, and/or database names:

    FROM mysql://pretix:password@localhost/pretix  -- replace with mysql://username:password@hostname/dbname
    INTO postgresql:///pretix                      -- replace with dbname

WITH data only, include no drop, truncate, disable triggers,
     create no indexes, drop indexes, reset sequences

ALTER SCHEMA 'pretix' RENAME TO 'public'           -- replace pretix with the name of the MySQL database

    SET SCHEMA 'public'

SET timezone TO '+00:00'

     maintenance_work_mem to '128MB',
     work_mem to '12MB';

Then, run:

# sudo -u postgres pgloader /tmp/pretix.load

The output should end with a table summarizing the results for every table. You can ignore warnings about type casts and missing constraints.

Afterwards, delete the file again:

# rm -rf /tmp/pretix.load

Start pretix

Stop your MySQL server as a verification step that you are no longer using it:

# systemctl stop mariadb

Then, restart pretix. With a local installation:

# systemctl start pretix-web pretix-worker

With a docker installation:

# systemctl start pretix

And you’re done! After you’ve verified everything has been copied correctly, you can delete the old MySQL database.


Don’t forget to update your backup process to back up your PostgreSQL database instead of your MySQL database now.


Peer authentication failed

Sometimes you might see an error message like this:

django.db.utils.OperationalError: connection to server on socket "/var/run/postgresql/.s.PGSQL.5432" failed: FATAL:  Peer authentication failed for user "pretix"

It is important to understand that PostgreSQL by default offers two types of authentication:

  • Peer authentication, which works automatically based on the Linux user you are working as. This requires that the connection is made through a local socket (empty host= in pretix.cfg) and the name of the PostgreSQL user and the Linux user are identical.

    • Typically, you might run into this error if you accidentally execute python -m pretix commands as root instead of the pretix user.

  • Password authentication, which requires a username and password and works over network connections. To force password authentication instead of peer authentication, set host= in pretix.cfg.

    • You can alter the password on a PostgreSQL shell using the command ALTER USER pretix WITH PASSWORD '***';. When creating a user with the createuser command, pass option -P to set a new password.

    • Even with password authentication, PostgreSQL by default only allows local connections. To allow remote connections, you need to adjust both the listen_address configuration parameter as well as the pg_hba.conf file (see above for an example with the docker networking setup).

Database error: relation does not exist

If you see an error like this:

2023-04-17T19:20:47.744023Z ERROR Database error 42P01: relation "public.pretix_foobar" does not exist
QUERY: ALTER TABLE public.pretix_foobar DROP CONSTRAINT IF EXISTS pretix_foobar_order_id_57e2cb41_fk_pretixbas CASCADE;
2023-04-17T19:20:47.744023Z FATAL Failed to create the schema, see above.

The reason is most likely that in the past, you installed a pretix plugin that you no longer have installed. However, the database still contains tables of that plugin. If you want to keep the data, reinstall the plugin and re-run the migrate step from above. If you want to get rid of the data, manually drop the table mentioned in the error message from your MySQL database:

# mysql -u root pretix
mysql> DROP TABLE pretix_foobar;

Then, retry. You might see a new error message with a new table, which you can handle the same way.

Cleaning out a failed attempt

You might want to clean your PostgreSQL database before you try again after an error. You can do so like this:

# sudo -u postgres psql pretix
pretix=# DROP SCHEMA public CASCADE;
pretix=# CREATE SCHEMA public;
pretix=# ALTER SCHEMA public OWNER TO pretix;

pgloader crashes with heap exhaustion error

On some larger databases, we’ve seen pgloader crash with error messages similar to this:

Heap exhausted during garbage collection: 16 bytes available, 48 requested.

Or this:

2021-01-04T21:31:17.367000Z ERROR A SB-KERNEL::HEAP-EXHAUSTED-ERROR condition without bindings for heap statistics.  (If
you did not expect to see this message, please report it.
2021-01-04T21:31:17.382000Z ERROR The value
is not of type
when binding SB-KERNEL::X

The pgloader version distributed for Debian and Ubuntu is compiled with the SBCL compiler. If compiled with CCL, these bugs go away. Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to compile pgloader manually with CCL. If you run into this, we therefore recommend using the docker container provided by the pgloader maintainers:

sudo docker run --rm -v /tmp:/tmp --network host -it dimitri/pgloader:ccl.latest pgloader /tmp/pretix.load

As peer authentication is not available from inside the container, this requires you to use password-based authentication in PostgreSQL (see above).