Read replicas are read-only copies of a database that allow you to safely scale beyond the limits of your service. You can create as many read replicas as you need. Read replicas can power your read-intensive application, business intelligence tool, or both. Each read replica appears as its own service. The replica uses a unique connection string that is different from the parent and any HA replicas.

Queries on read replicas have minimal impact on the performance of the parent, or primary, service, making them ideal for creating isolated instances with up-to-date production data for analysis or scaling out reads.


Using a separate read replica for read-only access provides both security and resource isolation. This means that users with read-only permissions can't access the main database directly. If you need to restrict the access of a read-only user but do not want to isolate the resource, you can create a read-only role in your database instead. For more information, see the security section.

Read replicas can create an isolated environment for a business analyst to run heavy analytical queries, rather than running them on a production instance, and risk impacting performance. The read replica can be short-lived and deleted when the analysis is complete, or long-running to power a business intelligence (BI) tool.

When creating a read replica for analytics, it is recommended that you also create a new read-only user for the person using the replica. Users must be created on the primary, they are then propagated to the read replica. Read replicas are read-only and have their own connection string. Since credentials are the same for both, having a read-only user creates an additional layer of safety in case you accidentally use the wrong connection string to connect.

Read replicas can also have a different configuration to the primary. Analytics environments can benefit from higher CPU for heavy queries, or lower CPU to power long-running dashboards to save on costs.

Read replicas can be used to serve reads for an application. This removes load from the primary, and allows the primary to improve ingest performance. Doing this can be particularly useful in environments where read traffic is very spiky and risks impacting ingest performance, or where reads should always be lower priority than writes.

One consideration for using this approach is that read replicas use asynchronous replication. This can cause slight lag on the parent service, which is acceptable in certain circumstances. Allowable lag can be reduced significantly by adjusting the max_standby_streaming_delay, and max_standby_archive_delay parameters. That said, it is not recommended that you use this approach where changes must be immediately represented, such as for user credentials.

  1. Log in to your Timescale account and click the service you want to replicate.
  2. Navigate to the Operations tab, and select Read scaling.
  3. Click Add read replica. Select the configuration you want for your read replica and click Add read replica.
  4. To see the read replicas for a service, click the service name, navigate to the Operations tab, and select Read scaling. Read replicas are also shown in the Services section.
  5. You can see connection information for the read replica in the same way as a regular service.

HA replicas automatically come with a read-only endpoint that can be used to serve read queries. Queries against this endpoint can impact the performance of the primary, unlike read replicas. Primaries hold any WAL that would impact a query currently being executed on an HA replica, potentially causing performance degradation. By default, the query timeout on HA replicas is low, around 30 seconds, which can help mitigate this risk. This approach is likely allowable for simple read queries, but heavier read queries risk timing out or causing performance degradation on the primary. For more information, see the high availability section.


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