Global Configs

dbt supports several global runtime configs. Starting in v1.0, all these configs can be set in three places:

  • config: block in profiles.yml, sometimes called "user config"
  • environment variables, prefixed with DBT_
  • CLI flags, which immediately follow dbt and precede your subcommand


  • The precedence order is always (1) CLI flag > (2) env var > (3) profile config
  • All boolean configs can be turned on via a CLI flag named --this-config, and turned off with a CLI flag named --no-this-config
  • Use the profile config to set defaults for all projects running on your local machine
this_config: true
Env var
$ export DBT_THIS_CONFIG=True
$ dbt run
CLI flags
$ dbt --this-config
$ dbt --no-this-config

Failing fast

Supply the -x or --fail-fast flag to dbt run to make dbt exit immediately if a single resource fails to build. If other models are in-progress when the first model fails, then dbt will terminate the connections for these still-running models. In the example below, note that 4 models are selected to run, but a failure in the first model prevents other models from running.

$ dbt -x run --threads 1
Running with dbt=1.0.0
Found 4 models, 1 test, 1 snapshot, 2 analyses, 143 macros, 0 operations, 1 seed file, 0 sources
14:47:39 | Concurrency: 1 threads (target='dev')
14:47:39 |
14:47:39 | 1 of 4 START table model test_schema.model_1........... [RUN]
14:47:40 | 1 of 4 ERROR creating table model test_schema.model_1.. [ERROR in 0.06s]
14:47:40 | 2 of 4 START view model test_schema.model_2............ [RUN]
14:47:40 | CANCEL query model.debug.model_2....................... [CANCEL]
14:47:40 | 2 of 4 ERROR creating view model test_schema.model_2... [ERROR in 0.05s]
Database Error in model model_1 (models/model_1.sql)
division by zero
compiled SQL at target/run/debug/models/model_1.sql
Encountered an error:
FailFast Error in model model_1 (models/model_1.sql)
Failing early due to test failure or runtime error

Checking version compatibility

Projects are recommended to set dbt version requirements, especially if they use features that are newer, or which may break in future versions of dbt Core. By default, if you run a project with an incompatible dbt version, dbt will raise an error.

You can use the VERSION_CHECK config to disable this check and suppress the error message:

$ dbt --no-version-check run
Running with dbt=1.0.0
Found 13 models, 2 tests, 1 archives, 0 analyses, 204 macros, 2 operations....

Debug-level logging

The DEBUG config redirects dbt's debug logs to standard out. The has the effect of showing debug-level log information in the terminal in addition to the logs/dbt.log file. This output is verbose.

The --debug flag is also available via shorthand as -d.

$ dbt --debug run

Log Formatting

The LOG_FORMAT config specifies how dbt's logs should be formatted. The value for this flag can be one of: text, json, or default. Use the json formatting value in conjunction with DEBUG flag to produce rich log information which can be piped into monitoring tools for analysis.

When json log formatting is used, each log line will have the following JSON properties:

  • timestamp: when the log line was printed
  • message: the textual log message
  • channel: the source for the log (eg. dbt, or some_module)
  • level: an integer indicating the log level for the log line (10=info, 11=debug, ...)
  • levelname: a string representation of the log level
  • thread_name: the thread in which the log message was produced
  • process: the PID for the running dbt invocation which produced this log message
  • extra: a dictionary containing "extra" information about the log line. This contents of this dictionary vary based on the specific log message that is being emitted. This dictionary contains programmatically accessible information to contextualize the log message.
$ dbt --log-format json run
{"timestamp": "2019-11-24T18:51:48.683295Z", "message": "Running with dbt=0.15.0", "channel": "dbt", "level": 11, "levelname": "INFO", "thread_name": "MainThread", "process": 94207, "extra": {"run_state": "internal"}}
{"timestamp": "2019-11-24T18:51:49.386586Z", "message": "Found 3 models, 0 tests, 1 snapshot, 0 analyses, 120 macros, 0 operations, 2 seed files, 1 source", "channel": "dbt", "level": 11, "levelname": "INFO", "thread_name": "MainThread", "process": 94207, "extra": {"run_state": "internal"}}

Writing JSON artifacts

The WRITE_JSON config determines whether dbt writes JSON artifacts (eg. manifest.json, run_results.json) to the target/ directory. JSON serialization can be slow, and turning this flag off might make invocations of dbt faster. Alternatively, you might disable this config if you want to perform a dbt operation and avoid overwriting artifacts from a previous run step.

$ dbt --no-write-json run


As of v1.0, the -S or --strict flag has been deprecated.

Warnings as Errors

Turning on the WARN_ERROR config will convert dbt warnings into errors. Any time dbt would normally warn, it will instead raise an error. Examples include --select criteria that selects no resources, deprecations, configurations with no associated models, invalid test configurations, or tests and freshness checks that are configured to return warnings.

$ dbt --warn-error run

Partial Parsing

The PARTIAL_PARSE config can turn partial parsing on or off in your project. See the docs on parsing for more details.

partial_parse: true
$ dbt --no-partial-parse run

Static parser

The STATIC_PARSER config can enable or disable use of the static parser. See the docs on parsing for more details.

static_parser: true

Experimental parser

With the USE_EXPERIMENTAL_PARSER config, you can opt into the latest and greatest experimental version of the static parser, which is still being sampled for 100% correctness. See the docs on parsing for more details.

use_experimental_parser: true

Use colors

By default, dbt will colorize the output it prints in your terminal. You can turn this off by adding the following to your profiles.yml file:

use_colors: False
$ dbt --use-colors run
$ dbt --no-use-colors run

Printer width

By default, dbt will print out lines padded to 80 characters wide. You can change this setting by adding the following to your profiles.yml file:

printer_width: 120

Send anonymous usage stats

We want to build the best version of dbt possible, and a crucial part of that is understanding how users work with dbt. To this end, we've added some simple event tracking to dbt (using Snowplow). We do not track credentials, model contents or model names (we consider these private, and frankly none of our business).

Usage statistics are fired when dbt is invoked and when models are run. These events contain basic platform information (OS + python version). You can see all the event definitions in

By default this is turned on – you can opt out of event tracking at any time by adding the following to your profiles.yml file:

send_anonymous_usage_stats: False