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What is RethinkDB?

  • Open-source database for building realtime web applications
  • NoSQL database that stores schemaless JSON documents
  • Distributed database that is easy to scale
  • High availability database with automatic failover and robust fault tolerance

RethinkDB is the first open-source scalable database built for realtime applications. It exposes a new database access model, in which the developer can tell the database to continuously push updated query results to applications without polling for changes. RethinkDB allows developers to build scalable realtime apps in a fraction of the time with less effort.

To learn more, check out

Not sure what types of projects RethinkDB can help you build? Here are a few examples:


For a thirty-second RethinkDB quickstart, check out

Or, get started right away with our ten-minute guide in these languages:

Besides our four official drivers, we also have many third-party drivers supported by the RethinkDB community. Here are a few of them:

Looking to explore what else RethinkDB offers or the specifics of ReQL? Check out our RethinkDB docs and ReQL API.


First install some dependencies. For example, on Ubuntu or Debian:

sudo apt-get install build-essential protobuf-compiler \
    # python \  # for older distros
    python3 python-is-python3 \
    libprotobuf-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev \
    libncurses5-dev libjemalloc-dev wget m4 g++ libssl-dev

Generally, you will need

  • GCC or Clang
  • Protocol Buffers
  • jemalloc
  • Ncurses
  • Python 2 or Python 3
  • libcurl
  • libcrypto (OpenSSL)
  • libssl-dev

Then, to build:

./configure --allow-fetch
# or run ./configure --allow-fetch CXX=clang++

make -j4
# or run make -j4 DEBUG=1

sudo make install
# or run ./build/debug_clang/rethinkdb

Need help?

A great place to start is Here you can find out how to ask us questions, reach out to us, or report an issue. You'll be able to find all the places we frequent online and at which conference or meetups you might be able to meet us next.

If you need help right now, you can also find us on Slack, Twitter, or IRC at #rethinkdb on Freenode.


RethinkDB was built by a dedicated team, but it wouldn't have been possible without the support and contributions of hundreds of people from all over the world. We could use your help too! Check out our contributing guidelines to get started.


  • CNCF
  • Digital Ocean provides infrastructure and servers needed for serving mission-critical sites like or
  • Atlassian provides OSS license to be able to handle internal tickets like vulnerability issues
  • Netlify OSS license to be able to migrate
  • DNSimple provides DNS services for the RethinkDB project
  • ZeroTier sponsored the development of per-table configurable write aggregation including the ability to set write delay to infinite to create a memory-only table (PR #6392)


RethinkDB is licensed by the Linux Foundation under the open-source Apache 2.0 license. Portions of the software are licensed by Google and others and used with permission or subject to their respective license agreements.

Where's the changelog?

We keep a list of changes and feature explanations here.

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