I can not find a simple way to get a copy of the nightly backup I take of my Amazon RDS postgres instance so I can restore it on my local machine to play with.

Right now I'm doing a pg_dump when I need a copy, but it would be nicer (and faster, presumably) to be able to download those snapshots. Is this not possible?

  • 2
    Those snapshots are probably physical backups, i.e. file-system level. If so, they're probably quite a bit bigger than the dump, and if Amazon uses a patched PostgreSQL (as is likely) might not be compatible with regular community PostgreSQL's on-disk format anyway. pg_dump is likely your best bet. Mar 14, 2014 at 23:17

2 Answers 2


You can't download a snapshot from RDS you have to use a tool like pg_dump

This has already been answered multiple times on regular Stack Overflow: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/14916899/download-rds-snapshot

  • Navigate to the snapshot list in AWS RDS console
  • Select a desired snapshot with a checkbox
  • In the "Actions" dropdown button in the top right corner select "Export to S3"
  • Download from S3 as you usually do

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