The details of most operations can be configured by defining the settings of an installation. These settings are usually gathered in a configuration file, in YAML format, and some can be overridden from environment variables.

A typical settings document looks like:

    host: scram-sha-256
    path: /srv/backups
    mode: path
  execpath: /usr/bin/prometheus-postgres-exporter
powa: {}
systemd: {}

where it can be seen how PostgreSQL cluster will be configured upon deployment, and which extra components will be set up and how.

Apart from postgresql, most top-level keys correspond to satellite components of instances and their value thus defines how these components are installed, configured, run. Some other top-level keys correspond to cross-service settings defining, e.g., how scheduled tasks are run or which service manager is used.

Many fields accept a null value to disable their respective service (e.g. scheduler: null). (In fact, many fields have a default null value.) The settings document is merged recursively with default value. In particular, to enable and use the default configuration for a component, set its value to an empty object as done for powa in the example above.

To view current settings, run:

$ pglift site-settings

Site (or installation) settings are looked up for at the following locations:

  • $PGLIFT_CONFIG_DIR/settings.yaml (if $PGLIFT_CONFIG_DIR environment variable is defined),

  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pglift/settings.yaml [1], and then,

  • /etc/pglift/settings.yaml.

Once one of these files is found, processing stops.

Settings model#

The complete model of site settings is described by a JSON Schema, which can be obtained through:

$ pglift site-settings --schema

The model of a specific field, e.g. pgbackrest, is usually defined under the #/definitions reference:

$ pglift site-settings --schema -o json | jq .properties.pgbackrest
  "title": "Pgbackrest",
  "env_names": [
  "allOf": [
      "$ref": "#/definitions/PgBackRestSettings"

This reference can be obtained as:

$ pglift site-settings --schema -o json | jq .definitions.PgBackRestSettings
  "title": "PgBackRestSettings",
  "description": "Settings for pgBackRest.",
  "type": "object",
  "properties": {
    "execpath": {
      "title": "Execpath",
      "description": "Path to the pbBackRest executable.",
      "default": "/usr/bin/pgbackrest",
      "format": "file-path",
      "type": "string"
    "configpath": {
      "title": "Configpath",
      "description": "Base path for pgBackRest configuration files.",
      "default": "pgbackrest",
      "type": "string",
      "format": "path"
  "additionalProperties": false

Environment override#

To temporarily override installed settings, the SETTINGS environment variable can be used. It accepts either a JSON-dumped value or a file path, prepended with @:

$ SETTINGS='{"prefix": "/srv/pglift"}'
$ SETTINGS=@/path/to/config.json

To temporarily override one particular settings field, use:

$ POSTGRESQL='{"auth": {"local": "md5"}}'