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INSERT Statements

INSERT statements are the standard way of loading data into a relational database. When using INSERT statements, the values are supplied row-by-row. While simple, there is significant overhead involved in parsing and processing individual INSERT statements. This makes lots of individual row-by-row insertions very inefficient for bulk insertion.

Bestpractice As a rule-of-thumb, avoid using lots of individual row-by-row INSERT statements when inserting more than a few rows (i.e., avoid using INSERT statements as part of a loop). When bulk inserting data, try to maximize the amount of data that is inserted per statement.

If you must use INSERT statements to load data in a loop, avoid executing the statements in auto-commit mode. After every commit, the database is required to sync the changes made to disk to ensure no data is lost. In auto-commit mode every single statement will be wrapped in a separate transaction, meaning fsync will be called for every statement. This is typically unnecessary when bulk loading and will significantly slow down your program.

Tip If you absolutely must use INSERT statements in a loop to load data, wrap them in calls to BEGIN TRANSACTION and COMMIT.


An example of using INSERT INTO to load data in a table is as follows:

INSERT INTO people VALUES (1, 'Mark'), (2, 'Hannes');

For a more detailed description together with syntax diagram can be found, see the page on the INSERT statement.

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Last modified: 2024-06-18