What Is BLOB Data Type in PostgreSQL?


Larry Thompson

What Is BLOB Data Type in PostgreSQL?

The BLOB data type in PostgreSQL allows you to store large binary objects, such as images, audio files, videos, and documents. BLOB stands for Binary Large Object. It is a flexible data type that can store any kind of binary data.

How Does BLOB Data Type Work?

The BLOB data type stores binary data as a collection of binary strings. Each string can be up to 1 GB in size, and multiple strings can be concatenated together to store larger objects.

When you insert or update a BLOB value in PostgreSQL, it automatically breaks it down into smaller chunks called “pages” and stores them in the database. This allows for efficient storage and retrieval of large binary objects.

Creating a Table with a BLOB Column

To create a table with a BLOB column in PostgreSQL, you can use the BYTEA data type. The BYTEA data type is used to represent variable-length binary strings.


Create a table called documents with two columns: id (integer) and content (BLOB).

CREATE TABLE documents (
    id serial PRIMARY KEY,
    content BYTEA

Inserting Data into the BLOB Column

To insert data into the BLOB column, you need to convert the binary object into hexadecimal format using the E’\\x’ syntax. This ensures that special characters are properly escaped.

INSERT INTO documents (id, content)
VALUES (1, E'\\x48656C6C6F20576F726C64');  

In the above example, we are inserting the hexadecimal representation of the string “Hello World” into the content column of the documents table.

Retrieving Data from the BLOB Column

When retrieving data from a BLOB column, you can use the decode() function to convert the hexadecimal back into binary format.

SELECT id, decode(content, 'hex') AS content
FROM documents;

In this example, we are selecting the id and content columns from the documents table. The decode() function converts the content column from hexadecimal to binary format.

Updating Data in the BLOB Column

To update data in a BLOB column, you can use the same syntax as inserting data. Convert your binary object into hexadecimal format and use it in an UPDATE statement.

UPDATE documents
SET content = E'\\x4E65772056616C7565'
WHERE id = 1;

In this example, we are updating the content column of row with id 1 to a new value “New Value”.


The BLOB data type in PostgreSQL is a powerful feature that allows you to store and manipulate large binary objects efficiently. By utilizing the BYTEA data type and converting binary objects to hexadecimal format, you can easily insert, retrieve, and update BLOB data in your database.

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