Administration and configuration

This section describes how to manage multiple active databases.

This section describes the following:

1. Administrative commands

Administrative commands should not be used during a rolling upgrade. For more information, see Rolling upgrade.

For detailed information on Cypher administrative commands, see Cypher Manual → Administration.

Before using administrative commands, it is important to understand the difference between stopped databases, and dropped databases:

  • Databases that are stopped with the STOP command are completely shutdown, and may be started again through the START command. In a Causal Cluster, as long as a database is in a shutdown state, it can not be considered available to other members of the cluster. It is not possible to do online backups against shutdown databases and they need to be taken into special consideration during disaster recovery, as they do not have a running Raft machine while shutdown.

  • Dropped databases are completely removed and are not intended to be used again at all.

The following Cypher commands are used on the system database to manage multiple databases:

Command Description


Create and start a new database.


Drop (remove) an existing database.


Start a database that has been stopped.


Shut down a database.


Show the status of a specific database.


Show the name and status of all the databases.


Show the name and status of the default database.

[1]Enterprise Edition only.

Naming rules for databases are as follows:

  • Length must be between 3 and 63 characters.

  • The first character of a name must be an ASCII alphabetic character.

  • Subsequent characters must be ASCII alphabetic or numeric characters, dots or dashes; [a..z][0..9].-

  • Names are case-insensitive and normalized to lowercase.

  • Names that begin with an underscore and with the prefix system are reserved for internal use.

All of the above commands are executed as Cypher commands, and the database name is subject to the standard Cypher restrictions on valid identifiers. In particular, the - (dash) and . (dot) characters are not legal in Cypher variables, and therefore names with dashes must be enclosed within back-ticks. For example, CREATE DATABASE `main-db`. Database names are the only identifier for which dots don’t need to be escaped. For example, main.db is a valid database name.

For detailed information on Cypher administrative commands, see Cypher Manual → Administration.

For examples of using the Cypher administrative commands to manage multiple active databases, see Queries.

2. Configuration parameters

Configuration parameters are defined in the neo4j.conf file.

The following configuration parameters are applicable for managing databases:

Parameter name Description Default value

Name of the default database for the Neo4j instance. The database is created if it does not exist when the instance starts.


Maximum number of databases that can be used in a Neo4j single instance or Causal Cluster. The number includes all the online and offline databases. The value is an integer with a minimum value of 2.

Note that once the limit has been reached, it is not possible to create any additional databases. Similarly, if the limit is changed to a number lower than the total number of existing databases, no additional databases can be created.


[1]Enterprise Edition only.