3.2. Base Configuration

3.2.1. Base CouchDB Options


Higher values may result in better read performance due to fewer read operations and/or more OS page cache hits. However, they can also increase overall response time for writes when there are many attachment write requests in parallel.

attachment_stream_buffer_size = 4096

Specifies location of CouchDB database files (*.couch named). This location should be writable and readable for the user the CouchDB service runs as (couchdb by default).

database_dir = /var/lib/couchdb

Changed in version 3.0: admin_only is now the default.

Default security object for databases if not explicitly set. When set to everyone, anyone can performs reads and writes. When set to admin_only, only admins can read and write. When set to admin_local, sharded databases can be read and written by anyone but the shards can only be read and written by admins.

default_security = admin_only

Enable this to only “soft-delete” databases when DELETE /{db} DELETE requests are made. This will rename all shards of the database with a suffix of the form <dbname>.YMD.HMS.deleted.couchdb. You can then manually delete these files later, as desired.

Default is false.

enable_database_recovery = false

Changed in version 1.2: Added Google Snappy compression algorithm.

Method used to compress everything that is appended to database and view index files, except for attachments (see the attachments section). Available methods are:

  • none: no compression

  • snappy: use Google Snappy, a very fast compressor/decompressor

  • deflate_N: use zlib’s deflate; N is the compression level which ranges from 1 (fastest, lowest compression ratio) to 9 (slowest, highest compression ratio)

file_compression = snappy

A CouchDB node may be put into two distinct maintenance modes by setting this configuration parameter.

  • true: The node will not respond to clustered requests from other nodes and the /_up endpoint will return a 404 response.

  • nolb: The /_up endpoint will return a 404 response.

  • false: The node responds normally, /_up returns a 200 response.

It is expected that the administrator has configured a load balancer in front of the CouchDB nodes in the cluster. This load balancer should use the /_up endpoint to determine whether or not to send HTTP requests to any particular node. For HAProxy, the following config is appropriate:

http-check disable-on-404
option httpchk GET /_up

This option places an upper bound on the number of databases that can be open at once. CouchDB reference counts database accesses internally and will close idle databases as needed. Sometimes it is necessary to keep more than the default open at once, such as in deployments where many databases will be replicating continuously.

max_dbs_open = 100

Changed in version 3.0.0.

Limit maximum document body size. Size is calculated based on the serialized Erlang representation of the JSON document body, because that reflects more accurately the amount of storage consumed on disk. In particular, this limit does not include attachments.

HTTP requests which create or update documents will fail with error code 413 if one or more documents is larger than this configuration value.

In case of _update handlers, document size is checked after the transformation and right before being inserted into the database.

max_document_size = 8000000 ; bytes


Before version 2.1.0 this setting was implemented by simply checking http request body sizes. For individual document updates via PUT that approximation was close enough, however that is not the case for _bulk_docs endpoint. After 2.1.0 a separate configuration parameter was defined: chttpd/max_http_request_size, which can be used to limit maximum http request sizes. After upgrade, it is advisable to review those settings and adjust them accordingly.


If an external process, such as a query server or external process, runs for this amount of milliseconds without returning any results, it will be terminated. Keeping this value smaller ensures you get expedient errors, but you may want to tweak it for your specific needs.

os_process_timeout = 5000 ; 5 sec

Added in version 3.0.0.

When this configuration setting is set to true, automatically create the system databases on startup. Must be set false for a clustered CouchDB installation.


This file contains the full URI that can be used to access this instance of CouchDB. It is used to help discover the port CouchDB is running on (if it was set to 0 (e.g. automatically assigned any free one). This file should be writable and readable for the user that runs the CouchDB service (couchdb by default).

uri_file = /var/run/couchdb/couchdb.uri

Added in version 3.0.0.

When this configuration setting is set to false, reject any attempts to modify the _users database security object. Modification of this object is deprecated in 3.x and will be completely disallowed in CouchDB 4.x.


Specifies the suffix (last component of a name) of the system database for storing CouchDB users.

users_db_suffix = _users


If you change the database name, do not forget to remove or clean up the old database, since it will no longer be protected by CouchDB.


Specifies location of binary drivers (icu, ejson, etc.). This location and its contents should be readable for the user that runs the CouchDB service.

util_driver_dir = /usr/lib/couchdb/erlang/lib/couch-1.5.0/priv/lib

Added in version 1.3.

Unique identifier for this CouchDB cluster.

uuid = 0a959b9b8227188afc2ac26ccdf345a6

Specifies location of CouchDB view index files. This location should be writable and readable for the user that runs the CouchDB service (couchdb by default).

view_index_dir = /var/lib/couchdb

Added in version 3.4.

The default value in version 3.4 is false. The legacy checksum algorithm will be used for writing couch_file blocks. During reads, both xxHash and the legacy checksum algorithm will be used to verify data integrity. In a future version of CouchDB the default value will become true. However, it would still be possible to safely downgrade to version 3.4, which would be able to verify both xxHash and legacy checksums. If CouchDB version downgrade is not a concern, enabling xxHash checksums can result in a measuralbe document read performance, especially for larger document sizes:

write_xxhash_checksums = false

Changed in version 3.4.

Select the default Javascript engine. Available options are spidermonkey and quickjs. The default setting is spidermonkey:

js_engine = spidermonkey