This document details install and deploying a new instance of IRRd, or upgrading from a legacy IRRd installation.


For upgrades from a legacy version of IRRd, also read the migration notes. For upgrades from previous versions of IRRd 4, also read the release notes between your new and old versions.


IRRd requires:

  • Linux, OpenBSD or MacOS. Other platforms are untested, but may work.

  • CPython (“regular” Python) 3.8 through 3.11 with pip and virtualenv installed. PyPy was previously supported, but not anymore.

  • A recent version of PostgreSQL. Versions 9.6, 11.16, 13.7, 15.0 are all tested before release. 11 or higher is strongly recommended, due to faster database migrations during upgrades.

  • Redis 5 or newer.

  • At least 32GB RAM

  • At least 4 CPU cores

  • At least 150GB of disk space (SSD recommended)

Depending on your needs from IRRd, you may be able to run with fewer resources. This depends on how much data you intend to load, and your query load.

A number of other Python packages are required. However, those are automatically installed in the installation process.

You may need to install other packages on your OS to build IRRd’s dependencies. That includes developer packages for Python, Redis and PostgreSQL. You will also need a Rust compiler.

PostgreSQL configuration

IRRd requires a PostgreSQL database to store IRR and status data. Here’s an example of how to correctly create the database and assign the necessary permissions, to be run as a superuser:

\c irrd

The pgcrypto extension is used by some IRRd tables, and has to be created by a superuser on the new database. As IRRd manages its own tables, it needs all privileges on the database.

The database, username and password have to be configured in the database_url setting. In this example, the URL would be: postgresql://irrd:irrd@localhost:5432/irrd.

You need to change a few PostgreSQL settings from their default:

  • random_page_cost should be set to 1.0. Otherwise, PostgreSQL is too reluctant to use the efficient indexes in the IRRd database, and will opt for slow full table scans.

  • work_mem should be set to 50MB to allow PostgreSQL to do in-memory sorting and merging.

  • shared_buffers should be set to around 1/8th - 1/4th of the system memory to benefit from caching, with a max of a few GB.

  • max_connections may need to be increased from 100. Generally, there will be one open connection for: * Each permitted whois connection * Each HTTP worker * Each running mirror import or export process * Each RPKI or scope filter update process * Each run of irrd_load_database * Each run of irrd_submit_email * Each open WebSocket connection for the event stream

  • log_min_duration_statement can be useful to set to 0 initially, to log all SQL queries to aid in debugging any issues. Note that initial imports of data produce significant logs if all queries are logged - importing 1GB of data can result in 2-3GB of logs.

The transaction isolation level should be set to “Read committed”. This is the default in PostgreSQL.

The initial database will be in the order of three times as large as the size of the RPSL text imported.


The PostgreSQL database is the only source of IRRd’s data. This means you need to run regular backups of the database.

Redis configuration

Redis is required for communication and persistence between IRRd’s processes. IRRd releases are tested on Redis 5, 6 and 7. Beyond a default Redis installation, it is recommended to:

  • Increase maxmemory to 1GB (no limit is also fine). This is a hard requirement - IRRd will exceed the default maximum memory otherwise.

  • Disable snapshotting, by removing all save lines from the Redis configuration. IRRd always reloads the existing data upon startup of restart of either IRRd or Redis, and therefore Redis persistence is not needed.

  • Enable unix socket support with the unixsocket configuration option in Redis, and using a unix socket URL in the redis_url configuration in IRRd. This improves performance.

IRRd will recover from a Redis restart, but certain queries may fail while Redis is unavailable.

Installing IRRd

To contain IRRd’s dependencies, it is recommended to install it in a Python virtualenv. If it is entirely sure that no other Python work will be done, including different versions of IRRd on the same host, this step can be skipped, but this is not recommended.

There are two ways to manage the virtualenv: pipx or manual. The pipx install is generally easier.

pipx virtualenv

You can use pipx to manage the virtualenv and IRRD commands. It creates a virtualenv for you, installs IRRD and dependencies, and can make IRRD commands available.

To install with pipx, run:

pipx install irrd

You may want to run pipx ensurepath to make sure your user has the installed commands in the path. See the pipx documentation for further details.

Manual virtualenv

Create the virtualenv with a command like this:

python3 -m venv /home/irrd/irrd-venv

To run commands inside the virtualenv, use either of:


# or:

# Persists. Leave the venv with `deactivate`
source /home/irrd/irrd-venv/bin/activate

To install the latest version of IRRd inside the virtualenv, use pip3:

/home/irrd/irrd-venv/bin/pip3 install irrd

Instead of irrd, which pulls the latest version from PyPI, it’s also possible specify a specific version, e.g. irrd==4.0.1, or provide a path to a local distribution file.

Creating a configuration file

IRRd uses a YAML configuration file, which has its own documentation. Place the config file in /etc/irrd.yaml, or configure another path with the --config parameter.

Adding a new empty source

To create an entirely new source without existing data, add an entry and mark it as authoritative, and (if desired) enable journal keeping:

        authoritative: true
        keep_journal: true

This new source may not be visible in some status overviews until the first object has been added. Exports are also skipped until the source has a first object.

Creating tables

IRRd uses database migrations to create and manage tables. To create the SQL tables, “upgrade” to the latest version:


The same command is used to upgrade the database after upgrading IRRd.

A --config parameter can be passed to set a different configuration file path. A version parameter can be passed to upgrade to a specific version, the default is the latest version (head).

Running as a non-privileged user

It is recommended to run IRRd as a non-privileged user. This user needs read access to:

  • the virtualenv

  • the configuration file

  • sources.{{name}}.import_source (if this is a local file)

  • sources.{{name}}.import_serial_source (if this is a local file)

The user also needs write access to access to:

  • auth.gnupg_keyring

  • sources.{name}.export_destination

  • log.logfile_path, which should either exist with write permissions for the irrd user, or the irrd user should have write access to the directory. Note that if you use log rotation, you must ensure a new file with proper permissions is created before IRRd writes to it, or give write access to the directory.

  • piddir

IRRd typically binds to port 43 for whois, which is a privileged port. To support this, start IRRd as root, and set the user and group settings in the config file. IRRd will drop privileges to this user/group right after binding to the whois port. IRRd will refuse to run as root if user and group are not set.

Alternatively, you can run IRRd on non-privileged ports and use IPtables or similar tools to redirect connections from the privileged ports.

Starting IRRd

IRRd runs as a daemon, and can be started with:


Useful options:

  • --config=<path> loads the configuration from a different path than the default /etc/irrd.yaml. This must always be the full path.

  • --foreground makes the process run in the foreground. If log.logfile_path is not set, this also shows all log output in the terminal.

IRRd can be stopped by sending a SIGTERM signal. A SIGUSR1 will log a traceback of all threads in a specific IRRd process.

HTTPS services configuration

By default, the HTTP interface runs on It is strongly recommended to run a service like nginx in front of this, to support and default to TLS connections.

A sample nginx configuration could initially look as follows (plain HTTP to begin, HTTPS to follow):

http {
    include       mime.types;
    default_type  application/octet-stream;

    gzip on;
    gzip_types application/json text/plain application/jsonl+json;

    map $http_upgrade $connection_upgrade {
        default upgrade;
        ''      close;
    server {
        server_name  [your hostname];
        listen       80;
        listen       [::]:80;

        location / {
            proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
            proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
            proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
            proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
            proxy_set_header Connection $connection_upgrade;
            proxy_read_timeout 900;
            proxy_connect_timeout 900;
            proxy_send_timeout 900;
            proxy_redirect off;
            proxy_buffering off;
            add_header Server $upstream_http_server;

Then, update this configuration to use HTTPS by running certbot --nginx, which is available on most platforms, to generate the right certificates from LetsEncrypt and update the configuration to enable HTTPS, including redirects from plain HTTP.

You can also use other services or your own configuration. You will likely need to increase some timeouts for slower queries. Enabling GZIP compression for text/plain, application/json and application/jsonl+json responses is recommended, for other responses compression should be disabled. If your service runs on a different host, set server.http.forwarded_allow_ips to let IRRd trust the X-Forwarded-For header.


While running the HTTP services over plain HTTP is possible, using HTTPS is strongly recommended, particularly so that clients can verify the authenticity of query responses.

Logrotate configuration

The following logrotate configuration can be used for IRRd:

/home/irrd/server.log {
    rotate 35
    olddir /home/irrd/logs
        systemctl reload irrd.service > /dev/null 2>&1 || true

This assumes the log.logfile_path setting is set to /home/irrd/server.log. This file should be created in the path /etc/logrotate.d/irrd with permissions 0644.

Systemd configuration

The following configuration can be used to run IRRd under systemd, using setcap, to be created in /lib/systemd/system/irrd.service:

Description=IRRD4 Service
Requires=redis-server.service postgresql@11-main.service redis-server.service postgresql@11-main.service

PIDFile=/home/irrd/  # must match piddir config in the settings
ExecStart=/home/irrd/irrd-venv/bin/irrd --foreground
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID


If you are not using PostgreSQL 11, you need to amend the service name postgresql@11-main.service in both the Requires= and WantedBy= directive.

Please note that the combination of Requires= and WantedBy= in this unit file creates an indirect dependency between the service units of Redis and PostgreSQL, if irrd.service is enabled. This means that if you start either PostgreSQL or Redis, all three services are started, which might be somewhat surprising. This behaviour is needed for IRRd to be (re)started after (unattended) upgrades of PostgreSQL or Redis.

Then, IRRd can be started under systemd with:

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl enable irrd
systemctl start irrd


Errors will generally be written to the IRRd log, or in the console, if the config file could not be loaded.

Processing email changes

To process incoming requested changes by email, configure a mail server to deliver the email to the irrd_submit_email command.

When using pipx, the command will be added to your path. When using the manual virtualenv as set up above, the full path is:


A --config parameter can be passed to set a different configuration file path. Results of the request are sent to the sender of the request, and any relevant notifications are also sent.


As a separate script, irrd_submit_email always acts on the current configuration file - not on the configuration that IRRd started with.