Restore a database dump

A database dump can be loaded to a Neo4j instance using the load command of neo4j-admin.

From Neo4j 5.20, the neo4j-admin database load command also supports loading a database from full database backup artifacts.

Change Data Capture does not capture any data changes resulting from the use of neo4j-admin database load. See Change Data Capture → Key considerations for more information.


The neo4j-admin database load command loads a database from an archive created with the neo4j-admin database dump command or from full Neo4j Enterprise backup (available from Neo4j 5.20).

Alternatively, neo4j-admin database load can accept a dump from standard input, enabling it to accept input from neo4j-admin database dump or another source.

The command can be run from an online or an offline Neo4j DBMS.

If you are replacing an existing database, you have to shut it down before running the command. If you are not replacing an existing database, you must create the database (using CREATE DATABASE against the system database) after the load operation finishes.

neo4j-admin database load must be invoked as the neo4j user to ensure the appropriate file permissions.


neo4j-admin database load [-h] [--expand-commands] [--info] [--verbose] [--overwrite-destination[=true|false]]
                          [--additional-config=<file>] [--from-path=<path> | --from-stdin] <database>


Load a database from an archive. <archive-path> must be a directory containing an archive(s). Archive can be a database dump created with the dump command, or can be a full backup artifact created by the backup command from Neo4j Enterprise. If neither --from-path or --from-stdin is supplied server.directories.dumps.root setting will be searched for the archive. Existing databases can be replaced by specifying --overwrite-destination. It is not possible to replace a database that is mounted in a running Neo4j server. If --info is specified, then the database is not loaded, but information (i.e. file count, byte count, and format of load file) about the archive is printed instead.


Table 1. neo4j-admin database load parameters
Parameter Description


Name of the database to load. Can contain * and ? for globbing. Note that * and ? have special meaning in some shells and might need to be escaped or used with quotes.


Table 2. neo4j-admin database load options
Option Description Default


Configuration file with additional configuration.


Allow command expansion in config value evaluation.


Path to directory containing archive(s).


Read archive from standard input.

-h, --help

Show this help message and exit.


Print meta-data information about the archive file, instead of loading the contained database.


If an existing database should be replaced.



Enable verbose output.

From Neo4j 5.19, the --from-path=<path> option can also load databases from AWS S3 URIs. For more information, see Example.


The following are examples of how to load the dump of the neo4j database (neo4j.dump) created in the section Back up an offline database, using the neo4j-admin database load command. When replacing an existing database, you have to shut it down before running the command. The --overwrite-destination option is required because you are replacing an existing database.

If you are not replacing an existing database, you must create the database (using CREATE DATABASE against the system database) after the load operation finishes.

The command looks for a file called <database>.dump where <database> is the database specified in the command.
As of Neo4j 5.20, the command also looks for a full backup artifact.

When using the load command to seed a cluster, and a previous version of the database exists, you must delete it (using DROP DATABASE) first. Alternatively, you can stop the Neo4j instance and unbind it from the cluster using neo4j-admin server unbind to remove its cluster state data. If you fail to DROP or unbind before loading the dump, that database’s store files will be out of sync with its cluster state, potentially leading to logical corruptions. For more information, see Seed a cluster.

neo4j-admin database load cannot be applied to Composite databases. It must be run directly on the databases that are associated with that Composite database.

Load a dump from a local directory

You can load a dump from a local directory using the following command:

bin/neo4j-admin database load --from-path=/full-path/data/dumps <database> --overwrite-destination=true

Starting from Neo4j 5.20, you can use the same command to load the database from its full backup artifact:

bin/neo4j-admin database load --from-path=/full-path/to/backups <database> --overwrite-destination=true

The following example shows how to designate a specific archive for the load command.

cat foo.dump | neo4j-admin database load --from-stdin mydatabase

Load a dump from an AWS S3 storage

This feature is available from Neo4j 5.19.

You can load a dump from an AWS S3 storage using the following steps.

Neo4j uses the AWS SDK v2 to call the APIs on AWS using AWS URLs. Alternatively, you can override the endpoints so that the AWS SDK can communicate with alternative storage systems, such as Ceph, Minio, or LocalStack, using the system variables aws.endpointUrls3, aws.endpointUrlS3, or aws.endpointUrl, or the environments variables AWS_ENDPOINT_URL_S3 or AWS_ENDPOINT_URL.

  1. Ensure that the AWS CLI is installed and configured with the necessary credentials.

    1. Install the AWS CLI by following the instructions in the AWS official documentation — Install the AWS CLI version 2.

    2. Use aws configure command to set your aws_access_key_id and aws_secret_access_key from AWS.

    3. Create an S3 bucket and a directory to store the backup files using the AWS CLI:

      aws s3 mb --region=us-east-1 s3://myBucket
      aws s3api put-object --bucket myBucket --key myDirectory/

      For more information on how to create a bucket and use the AWS CLI, see the AWS official documentation — Use Amazon S3 with the AWS CLI and Use high-level (s3) commands with the AWS CLI.

    4. Verify that the ~/.aws/config is correct by running the following command:

      cat ~/.aws/config

      The output should look like this:

    5. Verify that the ~/.aws/credentials is correct:

      cat ~/.aws/credentials

      The output should look like this:

  2. Run the neo4j-admin database load command to load a dump from your AWS S3 storage:

    bin/neo4j-admin database load --from-path=s3://myBucket/myDirectory/ <database> --overwrite-destination=true