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Data durability and backup

Memgraph uses two mechanisms to ensure the durability of the stored data:

  • write-ahead logging (WAL)
  • periodic snapshots

Memgraph saves these periodically generated durability files in the data directory, and they can be used to recover the database.

Related - How-to

Durability mechanisms

In write-ahead logging, all database modifications are recorded in a log file before being applied to the database. WAL ensures that all operations are done atomically and provides steps needed to reconstruct the database state.

Snapshots are taken periodically during the entire runtime of Memgraph. When a snapshot is triggered, the whole data storage is written to disk. The snapshot file provides a quicker way to restore the database state.

On startup, database is recovered from the most recent snapshot file. The timestamp on the snapshot is compared to the most recent update logged in the WAL file, and if the snapshot is older, the database will be fully recovered using the WAL file as well.

Some events, such as exceeding the maximum number of snapshots, trigger deletion of older files.

Behavior of these mechanisms can be tweaked in the configuration file (/etc/memgraph/memgraph.conf) by changing values of various flags regarding storage.

Check the configuration reference guide for the possible storage configuration settings and if you need help changing the configuration, check out the how-to guide on configuration management.


Snapshot and WAL files are (currently) not compatible between Memgraph versions.


Snapshots of the Memgraph instance are created periodically based on the time defined with the --storage-snapshot-interval-sec configuration flag. If you want to generate a snapshot for the current database state instantly, use the following query:


To create a backup of the instance, disable deletion of durability files, then copy the data directory or individual WAL or snapshot files to a backup location.

To disable deletion, run the following query:


To enable deletion of the files, run the following query: