Using influx - InfluxDB command line interface

This page documents an earlier version of InfluxDB. InfluxDB v2 is the latest stable version.

InfluxDB’s command line interface (influx) is an interactive shell for the HTTP API. Use influx to write data (manually or from a file), query data interactively, and view query output in different formats.

Launch influx

If you install InfluxDB via a package manager, the CLI is installed at /usr/bin/influx (/usr/local/bin/influx on macOS).

To access the CLI, first launch the influxd database process and then launch influx in your terminal. Once you’ve entered the shell and successfully connected to an InfluxDB node, you’ll see the following output:

$ influx
Connected to http://localhost:8086 version 1.8.10
InfluxDB shell version: 1.8.10

Note: The versions of InfluxDB and the CLI should be identical. If not, parsing issues can occur with queries.

You can now enter InfluxQL queries as well as some CLI-specific commands directly in your terminal. You can use help at any time to get a list of available commands. Use Ctrl+C to cancel if you want to cancel a long-running InfluxQL query.

Environment Variables

The following environment variables can be used to configure settings used by the influx client. They can be specified in lower or upper case, however the upper case version takes precedence.


Defines the proxy server to use for HTTP.

Value format:[protocol://]<host>[:port]



Defines the proxy server to use for HTTPS. Takes precedence over HTTP_PROXY for HTTPS.

Value format:[protocol://]<host>[:port]



List of host names that should not go through any proxy. If set to an asterisk ‘*’ only, it matches all hosts.

Value format: comma-separated list of hosts


influx Arguments

There are several arguments you can pass into influx when starting. List them with $ influx --help. The list below offers a brief discussion of each option. We provide detailed information on -execute, -format, and -import at the end of this section.

-compressed Set to true if the import file is compressed. Use with -import.

-consistency 'any|one|quorum|all' Set the write consistency level.

-database 'database name' The database to which influx connects.

-execute 'command' Execute an InfluxQL command and quit. See -execute.

-format 'json|csv|column' Specifies the format of the server responses. See -format.

-host 'host name' The host to which influx connects. By default, InfluxDB runs on localhost.

-import Import new data from a file or import a previously exported database from a file. See -import.

-password 'password' The password influx uses to connect to the server. influx will prompt for a password if you leave it blank (-password ''). Alternatively, set the password for the CLI with the INFLUX_PASSWORD environment variable.

-path The path to the file to import. Use with -import.

-port 'port #' The port to which influx connects. By default, InfluxDB runs on port 8086.

-pps How many points per second the import will allow. By default, pps is zero and influx will not throttle importing. Use with -import.

-precision 'rfc3339|h|m|s|ms|u|ns' Specifies the format/precision of the timestamp: rfc3339 (YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS.nnnnnnnnnZ), h (hours), m (minutes), s (seconds), ms (milliseconds), u (microseconds), ns (nanoseconds). Precision defaults to nanoseconds.

Note: Setting the precision to rfc3339 (-precision rfc3339) works with the -execute option, but it does not work with the -import option. All other precision formats (e.g., h,m,s,ms,u, and ns) work with the -execute and -import options.

-pretty Turns on pretty print for the json format.

-ssl Use HTTPS for requests.

-unsafeSsl Disables SSL certificate verification. Use when connecting over HTTPS with a self-signed certificate.

-username 'username' The username that influx uses to connect to the server. Alternatively, set the username for the CLI with the INFLUX_USERNAME environment variable.

-version Display the InfluxDB version and exit.

Execute an InfluxQL command and quit with -execute

Execute queries that don’t require a database specification:

$ influx -execute 'SHOW DATABASES'
name: databases

Execute queries that do require a database specification, and change the timestamp precision:

$ influx -execute 'SELECT * FROM "h2o_feet" LIMIT 3' -database="NOAA_water_database" -precision=rfc3339
name: h2o_feet
time			               level description	    location	     water_level
2015-08-18T00:00:00Z	 below 3 feet		        santa_monica	 2.064
2015-08-18T00:00:00Z	 between 6 and 9 feet  coyote_creek  8.12
2015-08-18T00:06:00Z	 between 6 and 9 feet  coyote_creek  8.005

Specify the format of the server responses with -format

The default format is column:

$ influx -format=column
name: databases

Change the format to csv:

$ influx -format=csv

Change the format to json:

$ influx -format=json

Change the format to json and turn on pretty print:

$ influx -format=json -pretty
    "results": [
            "series": [
                    "name": "databases",
                    "columns": [
                    "values": [

Import data from a file with -import

The import file has two sections:

  • DDL (Data Definition Language): Contains the InfluxQL commands for creating the relevant database and managing the retention policy. If your database and retention policy already exist, your file can skip this section.
  • DML (Data Manipulation Language): Lists the relevant database and (if desired) retention policy and contains the data in line protocol.


File (datarrr.txt):



treasures,captain_id=dread_pirate_roberts value=801 1439856000
treasures,captain_id=flint value=29 1439856000
treasures,captain_id=sparrow value=38 1439856000
treasures,captain_id=tetra value=47 1439856000
treasures,captain_id=crunch value=109 1439858880


$influx -import -path=datarrr.txt -precision=s


2015/12/22 12:25:06 Processed 2 commands
2015/12/22 12:25:06 Processed 5 inserts
2015/12/22 12:25:06 Failed 0 inserts

Note: For large datasets, influx writes out a status message every 100,000 points.

For example:

2015/08/21 14:48:01 Processed 3100000 lines.
Time elapsed: 56.740578415s.
Points per second (PPS): 54634

Things to note about -import:

  • Allow the database to ingest points by using -pps to set the number of points per second allowed by the import. By default, pps is zero and influx does not throttle importing.
  • Imports work with .gz files, just include -compressed in the command.
  • Include timestamps in the data file. InfluxDB will assign the same timestamp to points without a timestamp. This can lead to unintended overwrite behavior.
  • If your data file has more than 5,000 points, it may be necessary to split that file into several files in order to write your data in batches to InfluxDB. We recommend writing points in batches of 5,000 to 10,000 points. Smaller batches, and more HTTP requests, will result in sub-optimal performance. By default, the HTTP request times out after five seconds. InfluxDB will still attempt to write the points after that time out but there will be no confirmation that they were successfully written.

Note: For how to export data from InfluxDB version 0.8.9, see Exporting from 0.8.9.

influx commands

Enter help in the CLI for a partial list of the available commands.


The list below offers a brief discussion of each command. We provide detailed information on insert at the end of this section.

auth Prompts you for your username and password. influx uses those credentials when querying a database. Alternatively, set the username and password for the CLI with the INFLUX_USERNAME and INFLUX_PASSWORD environment variables.

chunked Turns on chunked responses from the server when issuing queries. This setting is enabled by default.

chunk size <size> Sets the size of the chunked responses. The default size is 10,000. Setting it to 0 resets chunk size to its default value.

clear [ database | db | retention policy | rp ] Clears the current context for the database or retention policy.

connect <host:port> Connect to a different server without exiting the shell. By default, influx connects to localhost:8086. If you do not specify either the host or the port, influx assumes the default setting for the missing attribute.

consistency <level> Sets the write consistency level: any, one, quorum, or all.

Ctrl+C Terminates the currently running query. Useful when an interactive query is taking too long to respond because it is trying to return too much data.

exit quit Ctrl+D Quits the influx shell.

format <format> Specifies the format of the server responses: json, csv, or column. See the description of -format for examples of each format.

history Displays your command history. To use the history while in the shell, simply use the “up” arrow. influx stores your last 1,000 commands in your home directory in .influx_history.

insert Write data using line protocol. See insert.

precision <format> Specifies the format/precision of the timestamp: rfc3339 (YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS.nnnnnnnnnZ), h (hours), m (minutes), s (seconds), ms (milliseconds), u (microseconds), ns (nanoseconds). Precision defaults to nanoseconds.

pretty Turns on pretty print for the json format.

settings Outputs the current settings for the shell including the Host, Username, Database, Retention Policy, Pretty status, Chunked status, Chunk Size, Format, and Write Consistency.

use [ "<database_name>" | "<database_name>"."<retention policy_name>" ] Sets the current database and/or retention policy. Once influx sets the current database and/or retention policy, there is no need to specify that database and/or retention policy in queries. If you do not specify the retention policy, influx automatically queries the used database’s DEFAULT retention policy.

Write data to InfluxDB with insert

Enter insert followed by the data in line protocol to write data to InfluxDB. Use insert into <retention policy> <line protocol> to write data to a specific retention policy.

Write data to a single field in the measurement treasures with the tag captain_id = pirate_king. influx automatically writes the point to the database’s DEFAULT retention policy.

> INSERT treasures,captain_id=pirate_king value=2

Write the same point to the already-existing retention policy oneday:

> INSERT INTO oneday treasures,captain_id=pirate_king value=2
Using retention policy oneday


Execute all InfluxQL queries in influx.

See Data exploration, Schema exploration, Database management, Authentication and authorization for InfluxQL documentation.

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