As a preface, read this for the motivation and concept behind Redis protocol streams (as usual, Redis documentation is amazingly well written and a joy to read).

redis-rdb-tools is a utility that creates a protocol stream from a .rdb file. However, the original repo has a Unicode decoding bug that prevents it from working properly. Thankfully, someone forked it and patched it, and I can confirm that the patch works for me. To install (make sure you’re on Python 2.x, not 3.x):

$ pip install git+

(I’m installing the specific patch commit because it’s a fork and who knows what’ll happen to it in the future.)

Then, to import the file, just a simple one-liner:

$ rdb --command protocol /path/to/dump.rdb | redis-cli --pipe

If successful, you’ll see something like:

All data transferred. Waiting for the last reply...
Last reply received from server.
errors: 0, replies: 4341259

as well as this in your Redis server logs:

95086:M 01 Mar 21:53:42.071 * 10000 changes in 60 seconds. Saving...
95086:M 01 Mar 21:53:42.072 * Background saving started by pid 98223
98223:C 01 Mar 21:53:44.277 * DB saved on disk


  1. Make sure you already have a Redis server running. The --pipe flag is only available for Redis 2.6 onwards.
  2. If you want to inspect the protocol stream visually before importing, you can leave out the piping to redis-cli and it will pipe the stream to STDOUT (or you could pipe it to a text file).

The alternative way to import is to copy the .rdb file to the location specified in your redis.conf (or modify redis.conf to point to your .rdb file). However, I think using protocol streams is a cooler solution. 😎