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Entity Framework


Entity Framework support is still in beta and is not suitable for production databases.


This page refers to setting up a Bitwarden instance to develop on, for instructions on testing out our EF deployments for personal use, such as Bitwarden Unified, please see the help documentation.


Entity Framework (EF) is an ORM framework that acts as a wrapper around a database. It allows us to support multiple (non-MSSQL) databases without having to maintain migration and query scripts for each.

Our EF implementations currently support Postgres, MySQL, and SQLite3.

Setting Up EF Databases

The workflow here is broadly the same as with the normal MSSQL implementation: set up the docker container, configure user secrets, and run migrations against their relating databases in chronological order.


You can have multiple databases configured and switch between them by changing the value of the globalSettings:databaseProvider user secret. You don’t have to delete your connection strings.

Database Setup

In the dev folder of your server repository, run

docker compose --profile postgres up

User secrets

Add the following values to your API, Identity, and Admin user secrets.

Be sure to change information like root password as needed. If you already have these secrets, make sure you update the existing values instead of creating new ones

"globalSettings:databaseProvider": "postgres",
"globalSettings:postgreSql:connectionString": "Host=localhost;Username=postgres;Password=example;Database=vault_dev;Include Error Detail=true",

After making changes to your secrets.json file, remember to run pwsh setup_secrets.ps1 -clear so that the changes take effect.


In the dev folder run the following to update the database to the latest migration

pwsh migrate.ps1 -postgres

The -postgres flag on migrate.ps1 will run dotnet ef commands to perform the migrations.

You can also run migrations for all database providers at once using

pwsh migrate.ps1 -all

Optional: Verify

If you would like to verify that everything worked correctly:

  • Check the database tables to make sure everything has been created
  • Run the integration tests from the root of your server project using dotnet test.
    • Note: this requires a configured MSSQL database. You may also need to set up other EF providers for tests to pass.

Testing EF Changes

Since we allow for multiple databases it is important that any changes to EF repositories/models are tested against all possible databases. You may want to use a database that is different from your local development database because the tests may add or remove data. To apply migrations to a database different from your global settings run the following commands from the root of your repository

# EntityFramework CLI Reference:

# Migrate Postgres database ex connection string: Host=localhost;Username=postgres;Password=SET_A_PASSWORD_HERE_123;Database=vault_dev_test
dotnet ef database update --startup-project util/PostgresMigrations --connection "[POSTGRES_CONNECTION_STRING]"

# Migrate MySql database ex connection string: server=localhost;uid=root;pwd=SET_A_PASSWORD_HERE_123;database=vault_dev_test
dotnet ef database update --startup-project util/MySqlMigrations --connection "[MYSQL_CONNECTION_STRING]"

cd test/Infrastructure.IntegrationTest

dotnet user-secrets set "Ef:Postgres" "[POSTGRES_CONNECTION_STRING]"
dotnet user-secrets set "Ef:MySql" "[MYSQL_CONNECTION_STRING]"

# You can also set the connection string for your normal development MS SQL database like below
dotnet user-secrets set "Dapper:SqlServer" "[MSSQL_CONNECTION_STRING]"

You can then run just those tests from the test/Infrastructure.IntegrationTest folder using dotnet test.