Migrations for an existing project

This guide will help you if you already have set up a schema and now want to start using migrations to help you track the database and GraphQL schema changes.

These are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Install the Hasura CLI
  2. Set up a project directory
  3. Initialize migrations
  4. For further changes, use the Hasura CLI console (http://localhost:9695) instead of the console served by the GraphQL engine (E.g.: http://my-graphql.herokuapp.com)

Step 0: Take a note of your GraphQL engine endpoint

Let’s say you’ve deployed the GraphQL engine on Heroku, then this endpoint is: http://my-graphql.herokuapp.com. In case you’ve deployed this using Docker the URL might be http://xx.xx.xx.xx:8080.

Step 1: Install the Hasura CLI

Follow the instructions in Installing the Hasura CLI

Step 2: Set up a project directory

Skip this step if you already have a project directory.

hasura init --directory my-project --endpoint http://my-graphql.herokuapp.com

Step 3: Initialize the migrations as per your current state

  • Install pg_dump (or use Docker) and run the following command to download the public schema as public-schema.sql:

    pg_dump -O -x -h <db-host> -p <db-port> -U <db-user> -d <db-name> --schema public --schema-only > public-schema.sql


    If the exported file contains SELECT pg_catalog.set_config('search_path', '', false);, remove the whole line. This can cause issues later when SQL is run without schema qualifiers, since this statement sets search path to '' instead of the default public and pg_catalog.

  • Export the metadata (this creates a file metadata.yaml):

    hasura metadata export
  • Create a new migration with a name, say first. This will generate some files in migrations/ directory:

    hasura migrate create first
  • Move the contents of public-schema.sql to migrations/<version>_first.up.sql

  • Move the contents of metadata.yaml to migrations/<version>_first.up.yaml with the following content (take care of indentation):

    - type: replace_metadata
  • Remove migrations/<version>_first.down.{sql,yaml} migration files if you are not adding down migrations for these


Migration version cannot be “0”. i.e. the files cannot be of the form 0_<something>.up.sql

Step 4: Use the console from the CLI

Instead of using the console at http://my-graphql.herokuapp.com/console you should now use the console by running:

# Without admin secret key
hasura console

# With admin secret key
hasura console --admin-secret myadminsecretkey

Step 5: Add a new table and see how a migration is added

As you use the Hasura console UI to make changes to your schema, migration files are automatically generated in the migrations/ directory in your project.


Migrations are only created when using the console through CLI.

Step 6: Apply the migrations to another instance of the GraphQL engine

  • Edit config.yaml and change the endpoint to another instance, say https://my-another-graphql.herokuapp.com:

    # config.yaml
    endpoint: https://my-another-graphql.herokuapp.com
  • Apply all migrations present in the migrations/ directory on this new instance:

    hasura migrate apply

Step 7: Create migrations without the console & other advanced actions

  • Each migration consists of a pair of yaml and sql files with up and down steps.
  • Create migrations manually using migrate create.
  • You can apply only certain versions or numbers of steps. Read more at migrate apply