Add or Edit a Database Source

A Database source allows you to retrieve and make searchable the content of a database.

For example, your company developer may have created a custom database to manage the parts used in your facilities, their location in your warehouse, and purchase orders. You could decide to index data regarding purchase orders only so that your buyers can find this content via your Coveo-powered search page.

Source Key Characteristics

Features Supported Additional information

Content update operations



See Enabling the Refresh Capability.



Takes place every day by default.



Content security options

Same users and groups as in your content system


Specific users and groups




Leading practice

The number of items that a source processes per hour (crawling speed) depends on various factors, such as network bandwidth and source configuration. See About crawling speed for information on what can impact crawling speed, as well as possible solutions.

Supported Database Types

The cloud version (cloud-blue) of the source supports the following database types:

  • Databricks

  • Microsoft SQL Server

  • MySQL

  • Postgres

  • Oracle

  • Redshift

The Crawling Module version (crawling-bot-blue) supports the following database types:

  • Microsoft SQL Server

  • MySQL

  • Postgres

  • Oracle

  • Any database using an ODBC driver. This driver must be installed on your Crawling Module server.

Add or Edit a Database Source

When adding a source, in the Add a source of content panel, click the Cloud (cloud-blue) or Crawling Module (crawling-bot-blue) tab, depending on your content retrieval context. With the latter, you must install the Coveo On-Premises Crawling Module to retrieve your content.

To edit a source, on the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page, click the desired source, and then click Edit in the Action bar.

Leading practice

It’s best to create or edit your source in your sandbox organization first. Once you’ve confirmed that it indexes the desired content, you can copy your source configuration to your production organization, either with a snapshot or manually.

See About non-production organizations for more information and best practices regarding sandbox organizations.

"Configuration" Tab

In the Add/Edit a Database Source subpage, the Configuration tab is selected by default. It contains your source’s general and authentication information, as well as other parameters.

If you have not already installed the Coveo On-Premises Crawling Module on a server that has access to the database of which you want to retrieve the content, click Download Crawling Module to do so.

General Information

Source Name

Enter a name for your source.

Leading practice

A source name can’t be modified once it’s saved, therefore be sure to use a short and descriptive name, using letters, numbers, hyphens (-), and underscores (_). Avoid spaces and other special characters.

Data Provider Type

Select the intermediary that provides access to your database.

About ODBC Drivers

If you’re using a Crawling Module source to index content from an ODBC database, ensure that you have the appropriate ODBC driver installed on your Crawling Module server.

A driver acts as a intermediary between Coveo’s connector and your database server. For example, to connect Coveo to an Oracle source, you must install an Oracle driver. ODBC drivers are typically provided by the database vendor. You can also use ODBC Data Source Administrator to review the drivers installed on your server.

Connection String

Enter your database connection parameters. Since the connection string syntax differs from one database type to another, you might want to see The Connection Strings Reference for details.


Since connection strings aren’t encrypted, they should never contain credentials in plain text. Use the tokens @uid and @pwd in your connection string instead, and then enter your credentials in the Authentication section, where your password is hidden.


Hiding password and user ID using tokens: Data;Initial Catalog=MyDatabase;User Id=@uid;Password=@pwd.

Item Type

Enter the table or view object names that you intend to index. You will later define them in the database configuration.

Paired Crawling Module

If your source is a Crawling Module source, and if you have more than one Crawling Module linked to this organization, select the one with which you want to pair your source. If you change the Crawling Module instance paired with your source, a successful rebuild is required for your change to apply.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

If you want Coveo to extract text from image files or PDF files containing images, enable the appropriate option.

The extracted text is processed as item data, meaning that it’s fully searchable and will appear in the item Quick View. See Enable optical character recognition for details on this feature.

"Authentication" Section

Enter the Username and Password of a dedicated user account that has access to the content you want to index. See Source Credentials Leading Practices. Then, select one of the following:

If you selected Active Directory on-premises, you must also fill the Active Directory username and Active Directory password fields that appear since this option won’t work with only the dedicated user credentials. If you selected Native, skip to “Content Security” Tab.

  • If you leave the Active Directory username and Active Directory password fields blank, your current Crawling Module credentials will be automatically used.

  • Active Directory on-premises doesn’t affect the authentication of the Database source.

Active Directory Username and Active Directory Password

Enter credentials to grant Coveo access to your Active Directory.

Expand Well-Known SIDs

Select this option if you want the users that are included in your Active Directory well-known security identifiers to be granted access to the indexed content. Expect an increase in the duration of the security identity provider refresh operation. Supported well-known SIDs are: Everyone, Authenticated Users, Domain Admins, Domain Users, and Anonymous Users.

Leading practice

If your entire content is secured with the Everyone or Authenticated users well-known, it’s more cost-effective resource-wise to index it with a source whose content is accessible to everyone than to expand the well-known with a source that indexes permissions.

Enable TLS

Select this option to use a TLS protocol to retrieve your security identities. If you do, we strongly recommend selecting StartTLS if you can. Since LDAPS is a much older protocol, you should only select this value if StartTLS is incompatible with your environment.

Email Attributes

By default, Coveo retrieves the email address associated to each security identity from the mail attribute. Optionally, you can specify additional or different attributes to check. Should an attribute contain more than one value, Coveo uses the first one.

"Database Configuration" Section

In the XML configuration box, enter a XML-formatted configuration consisting of queries against your database to retrieve and copy the data from record fields to Coveo fields. This configuration should contain only read queries, or else you could make unwanted changes to your database.

You can also run subqueries on every item to complete the information with more complex queries. See Further Configuration for other options you can implement.

"Content Security" Tab

Select who will be able to access the source items through a Coveo-powered search interface. For details on this parameter, see Content security.

"Access" Tab

In the Access tab, set whether each group (and API key, if applicable) in your Coveo organization can view or edit the current source.

For example, when creating a new source, you could decide that members of Group A can edit its configuration while Group B can only view it.

See Custom access level for more information.


  1. Finish adding or editing your source:

    • When you want to save your source configuration changes without starting a build/rebuild, such as when you know you want to do other changes soon, click Add source/Save.


      On the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page, you must click Launch build or Start required rebuild in the source Status column to add the source content or to make your changes effective, respectively.

    • When you’re done editing the source and want to make changes effective, click Add and build source/Save and rebuild source.

      Back on the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page, you can follow the progress of your source addition or modification.

      Once the source is built or rebuilt, you can review its content in the Content Browser.

  2. Optionally, consider editing or adding mappings once your source is done building or rebuilding.

Crawling Module Time Zone Adjustment

If you’re using the Crawling Module to index your content and if this Crawling Module is running in a different time zone than your database, you must edit the source JSON configuration and add the TzdbTimeZoneId hidden parameter as follows. The expected time zone format is IANA TZDB.


The time zone of your database is America/New_York, therefore you add the following to the source JSON configuration:

"TzdbTimeZoneId": {
"sensitive": false,
"value": "America/New_York"

Required privileges

You can assign privileges to allow access to specific tools in the Coveo Administration Console. The following table indicates the privileges required to view or edit elements of the Sources (platform-ca | platform-eu | platform-au) page and associated panels. See Manage privileges and Privilege reference for more information.


The Edit all privilege isn’t required to create sources. When granting privileges for the Sources domain, you can grant a group or API key the View all or Custom access level, instead of Edit all, and then select the Can Create checkbox to allow users to create sources. See Can Create ability dependence for more information.

Actions Service Domain Required access level

View sources, view source update schedules, and subscribe to source notifications







Edit sources, edit source update schedules, and view the View Metadata page






Source metadata




What’s Next?