I am trying to restore data in my database. How can I restore data from WAL without any database backups? Can I generate a backup file from WAL logs?


2 Answers 2


If you only have the WAL, with no base backup (copy of the data directory, pg_basebackup, etc), you cannot restore. Full stop. And no, you cannot use a dump from pg_dump to restore WAL on top of.

WAL only contains changes to the data directory, and is meaningless without a base backup to apply it to.

Imagine you have a half page from one of your bank statements, without a running balance shown in a column. You want to use it to find out the balance on your account. You cannot possibly do that, since you don't know the starting or ending balance. Same issue here.

  • Not even expert PostgreSQL developers are likely to be able to recover much from nothing but WAL archives, by the way. Aug 16, 2017 at 1:08

as soon as the wal records are behind the checkpoint, you cant "use" them. To have a checkpoint in past you need to have a basebackup (a cold copy with db down, pg_basebackup one, or pg_start_backup() + rsync + pg_stop_backup() one or smth alike) restored. If you don't have such copy with older checkpoint as last applied, you can't use WALs to roll changes on.

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