I wish to import a 5 gigabyte text file with pgloader.

The individual records are paragraphs of html. The records include carriage returns and white space. So this not an import where it is one record per line.

Reading the pgloader howto I get the impression I can import these records by using setting lines terminated by to a special character to demark the end of a record. The options is described as:

lines terminated by

Takes a single character as argument, which must be found inside single quotes, and might be given as the printable character itself, the special value \t to denote a tabulation character, or 0x then an hexadecimal value read as the ASCII code for the character.

This character is used to recognize end-of-line condition when reading the CSV data.

So, am I right? Can I can import these records by using setting lines terminated by to a special character?

UPDATE: I had to get the project done, so I used some perl commands to modify the data to be one record per line. It's an undesired option because I wanted a multi-line text field.

But I still would like a way to do this. Something that allows a custom record-delimiter would probably be the answer.

1 Answer 1


I don't believe you can use pgloader in this way if any of your HTML contains character sequences that would be interpreted in the context of CSV. For example, any backslash followed by digits is perfectly valid (and not-special) HTML, but would be transformed to something else by pgloader while importing. I can't even estimate how pgloader will handle the double-quote and single-quote symbols scattered around in your documents.

You would also need a byte that doesn't exist anywhere in your content to serve as a row delimiter; you could use some low-value control byte for this purpose assuming your HTML is valid and doesn't contain any of these special bytes. This naturally depends on your chosen character encoding, and is rendered worse if you have multiple encodings among your documents.

Assuming everything is UTF-8, the NUL byte should not appear in any UTF-8 stream. Assuming you aren't concerned about special CSV character sequences, you could attempt to do this import using NUL as your separator value:

--with "lines terminated by '\0x00'"

I wouldn't recommend this avenue though for fear of subtle corruption of your documents (as noted above).

  • I'm looking at Postgres' own COPY FROM mechanism to see if it has a safer way to complete this import. I imagine it would be as efficient (or more efficient) for what is effectively a single-column bulk-text import. Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 21:33
  • Update: Doesn't look like there's a way forward here either. If I were you, I'd go the route of building some bulk INSERT statements and follow the excellent documentation on populating a database. Commented Jan 17, 2016 at 21:57
  • I successfully tested this with a INSERT. It was an effort though because I had to escape the in text quotes. I also thought there was a limit to how many INSERTs one could do in a script.
    – Paulb
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 15:24
  • Note that you can use "dollar quoting" to avoid escaping quotes. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 17:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.