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Setting up the BigQuery destination connector involves setting up the data loading method (BigQuery Standard method and Google Cloud Storage bucket) and configuring the BigQuery destination connector using the Airbyte UI.

This page guides you through setting up the BigQuery destination connector.


Connector modes

While setting up the connector, you can configure it in the following modes:

  • BigQuery: Produces a normalized output by storing the JSON blob data in _airbyte_raw_* tables and then transforming and normalizing the data into separate tables, potentially exploding nested streams into their own tables if basic normalization is configured.
  • BigQuery (Denormalized): Leverages BigQuery capabilities with Structured and Repeated fields to produce a single "big" table per stream. Airbyte does not support normalization for this option at this time.

Setup guide

Step 1: Set up a data loading method

Although you can load data using BigQuery's INSERTS, we highly recommend using a Google Cloud Storage bucket not only for performance and cost but reliability since larger datasets are prone to more failures when using standard inserts.

To use a Google Cloud Storage bucket:

  1. Create a Cloud Storage bucket with the Protection Tools set to none or Object versioning. Make sure the bucket does not have a retention policy.
  2. Create an HMAC key and access ID.
  3. Grant the Storage Object Admin role to the Google Cloud Service Account.
  4. Make sure your Cloud Storage bucket is accessible from the machine running Airbyte. The easiest way to verify if Airbyte is able to connect to your bucket is via the check connection tool in the UI.

Your bucket must be encrypted using a Google-managed encryption key (this is the default setting when creating a new bucket). We currently do not support buckets using customer-managed encryption keys (CMEK). You can view this setting under the "Configuration" tab of your GCS bucket, in the Encryption type row.


You can use BigQuery's INSERT statement to upload data directly from your source to BigQuery. While this is faster to set up initially, we strongly recommend not using this option for anything other than a quick demo. Due to the Google BigQuery SDK client limitations, using INSERT is 10x slower than using a Google Cloud Storage bucket, and you may see some failures for big datasets and slow sources (For example, if reading from a source takes more than 10-12 hours). For more details, refer to

Step 2: Set up the BigQuery connector

  1. Log into your Airbyte Cloud or Airbyte Open Source account.

  2. Click Destinations and then click + New destination.

  3. On the Set up the destination page, select BigQuery or BigQuery (denormalized typed struct) from the Destination type dropdown depending on whether you want to set up the connector in BigQuery or BigQuery (Denormalized) mode.

  4. Enter the name for the BigQuery connector.

  5. For Project ID, enter your Google Cloud project ID.

  6. For Dataset Location, select the location of your BigQuery dataset.


    You cannot change the location later.

  7. For Default Dataset ID, enter the BigQuery Dataset ID.

  8. For Loading Method, select Standard Inserts or GCS Staging.


    We recommend using the GCS Staging option.

  9. For Service Account Key JSON (Required for cloud, optional for open-source), enter the Google Cloud Service Account Key in JSON format.

  10. For Transformation Query Run Type (Optional), select interactive to have BigQuery run interactive query jobs or batch to have BigQuery run batch queries.


    Interactive queries are executed as soon as possible and count towards daily concurrent quotas and limits, while batch queries are executed as soon as idle resources are available in the BigQuery shared resource pool. If BigQuery hasn't started the query within 24 hours, BigQuery changes the job priority to interactive. Batch queries don't count towards your concurrent rate limit, making it easier to start many queries at once.

  11. For Google BigQuery Client Chunk Size (Optional), use the default value of 15 MiB. Later, if you see networking or memory management problems with the sync (specifically on the destination), try decreasing the chunk size. In that case, the sync will be slower but more likely to succeed.

Supported sync modes

The BigQuery destination connector supports the following sync modes:

  • Full Refresh Sync
  • Incremental - Append Sync
  • Incremental - Append + Deduped

Output schema

Airbyte outputs each stream into its own table in BigQuery. Each table contains three columns:

  • _airbyte_ab_id: A UUID assigned by Airbyte to each event that is processed. The column type in BigQuery is String.
  • _airbyte_emitted_at: A timestamp representing when the event was pulled from the data source. The column type in BigQuery is Timestamp.
  • _airbyte_data: A JSON blob representing the event data. The column type in BigQuery is String.

The output tables in BigQuery are partitioned and clustered by the Time-unit column _airbyte_emitted_at at a daily granularity. Partitions boundaries are based on UTC time. This is useful to limit the number of partitions scanned when querying these partitioned tables, by using a predicate filter (a WHERE clause). Filters on the partitioning column are used to prune the partitions and reduce the query cost. (The parameter Require partition filter is not enabled by Airbyte, but you may toggle it by updating the produced tables.)

BigQuery Naming Conventions

Follow BigQuery Datasets Naming conventions.

Airbyte converts any invalid characters into _ characters when writing data. However, since datasets that begin with _ are hidden on the BigQuery Explorer panel, Airbyte prepends the namespace with n for converted namespaces.

Data type map

Airbyte typeBigQuery typeBigQuery denormalized type

Troubleshooting permission issues

The service account does not have the proper permissions.

  • Make sure the BigQuery service account has BigQuery User and BigQuery Data Editor roles or equivalent permissions as those two roles.
  • If the GCS staging mode is selected, ensure the BigQuery service account has the right permissions to the GCS bucket and path or the Cloud Storage Admin role, which includes a superset of the required permissions.

The HMAC key is wrong.

  • Make sure the HMAC key is created for the BigQuery service account, and the service account has permission to access the GCS bucket and path.


Now that you have set up the BigQuery destination connector, check out the following BigQuery tutorials:


VersionDatePull RequestSubject
2.0.162023-09-22#30697Improve resiliency to unclean exit during schema change
2.0.152023-09-21#30640Handle streams with identical name and namespace
2.0.142023-09-20#30069Staging destination async
2.0.132023-09-19#30592Internal code changes
2.0.122023-09-19#30319Improved testing
2.0.112023-09-18#30551GCS Staging is first loading method option
2.0.102023-09-15#30491Improve error message display
2.0.92023-09-14#30439Fix a transient error
2.0.82023-09-12#30364Add log message
2.0.72023-08-29#29878Internal code changes
2.0.62023-09-05#29917Improve performance by changing metadata error array construction from ARRAY_CONCAT to ARRAY_AGG
2.0.52023-08-31#30020Run typing and deduping tasks in parallel
2.0.42023-09-05#30117Type and Dedupe at sync start and then every 6 hours
2.0.32023-09-01#30056Internal refactor, no behavior change
2.0.22023-09-01#30120Improve performance on very wide streams by skipping SAFE_CAST on strings
2.0.12023-08-29#29972Publish a new version to supersede old v2.0.0
2.0.02023-08-27#29783Destinations V2
1.10.22023-08-24#29805Destinations v2: Don't soft reset in migration
1.10.12023-08-23#29774Destinations v2: Don't soft reset overwrite syncs
1.10.02023-08-21#29636Destinations v2: Several Critical Bug Fixes (cursorless dedup, improved floating-point handling, improved special characters handling; improved error handling)
1.9.12023-08-21#28687Under the hood: Add dependency on Java CDK v0.0.1.
1.9.02023-08-17#29560Destinations v2: throw an error on disallowed column name prefixes
1.8.12023-08-17#29522Migration BugFix - ensure raw dataset created
1.8.02023-08-17#29498Fix checkpointing logic in GCS staging mode
1.7.82023-08-15#29461Migration BugFix - ensure migration happens before table creation for GCS staging.
1.7.72023-08-11#29381Destinations v2: Add support for streams with no columns
1.7.62023-08-04#28894Destinations v2: Add v1 -> v2 migration Logic
1.7.52023-08-04#29106Destinations v2: handle unusual CDC deletion edge case
1.7.42023-08-04#29089Destinations v2: improve special character handling in column names
1.7.32023-08-03#28890Internal code updates; improved testing
1.7.22023-08-02#28976Fix composite PK handling in v1 mode
1.7.12023-08-02#28959Destinations v2: Fix CDC syncs in non-dedup mode
1.7.02023-08-01#28894Destinations v2: Open up early access program opt-in
1.6.02023-07-26#28723Destinations v2: Change raw table dataset and naming convention
1.5.82023-07-25#28721Destinations v2: Handle cursor change across syncs
1.5.72023-07-24#28625Destinations v2: Limit Clustering Columns to 4
1.5.62023-07-21#28580Destinations v2: Create dataset in user-specified location
1.5.52023-07-20#28490Destinations v2: Fix schema change detection in OVERWRITE mode when existing table is empty; other code refactoring
1.5.42023-07-17#28382Destinations v2: Schema Change Detection
1.5.32023-07-14#28345Increment patch to trigger a rebuild
1.5.22023-07-05#27936Internal scaffolding change for future development
1.5.12023-06-30#27891Revert bugged update
1.5.02023-06-27#27781License Update: Elv2
1.4.62023-06-28#27268Internal scaffolding change for future development
1.4.52023-06-21#27555Reduce image size
1.4.42023-05-25#26585Small tweak in logs for clarity
1.4.32023-05-17#26213Fix bug in parsing file buffer config count
1.4.22023-05-10#25925Testing update. Normalization tests are now done in the destination container.
1.4.12023-05-11#25993Internal library update
1.4.02023-04-29#25570Internal library update. Bumping version to stay in sync with BigQuery-denormalized.
1.3.42023-04-28#25588Internal scaffolding change for future development
1.3.32023-04-27#25346Internal code cleanup
1.3.12023-04-20#25097Internal scaffolding change for future development
1.3.02023-04-19#25287Add parameter to configure the number of file buffers when GCS is used as the loading method
1.2.202023-04-12#25122Add additional data centers
1.2.192023-03-29#24671Fail faster in certain error cases
1.2.182023-03-23#24447Set the Service Account Key JSON field to always_show: true so that it isn't collapsed into an optional fields section
1.2.172023-03-17#23788S3-Parquet: added handler to process null values in arrays
1.2.162023-03-10#23931Added support for periodic buffer flush
1.2.152023-03-10#23466Changed S3 Avro type from Int to Long
1.2.142023-02-08#22497Fixed table already exists error
1.2.132023-01-26#20631Added support for destination checkpointing with staging
1.2.122023-01-18#21087Wrap Authentication Errors as Config Exceptions
1.2.112023-01-18#21144Added explicit error message if sync fails due to a config issue
1.2.92022-12-14#20501Report GCS staging failures that occur during connection check
1.2.82022-11-22#19489Added non-billable projects handle to check connection stage
1.2.72022-11-11#19358Fixed check method to capture mismatch dataset location
1.2.62022-11-10#18554Improve check connection method to handle more errors
1.2.52022-10-19#18162Improve error logs
1.2.42022-09-26#16890Add user-agent header
1.2.32022-09-22#17054Respect stream namespace
1.2.12022-09-14#15668(bugged, do not use) Wrap logs in AirbyteLogMessage
1.2.02022-09-09#14023(bugged, do not use) Cover arrays only if they are nested
1.1.162022-09-01#16243Fix Json to Avro conversion when there is field name clash from combined restrictions (anyOf, oneOf, allOf fields)
1.1.152022-08-22#15787Throw exception if job failed
1.1.142022-08-03#14784Enabling Application Default Credentials
1.1.132022-08-02#14801Fix multiple log bindings
1.1.122022-08-02#15180Fix standard loading mode
1.1.112022-06-24#14114Remove "additionalProperties": false from specs for connectors with staging
1.1.102022-06-16#13852Updated stacktrace format for any trace message errors
1.1.92022-06-17#13753Deprecate and remove PART_SIZE_MB fields from connectors based on StreamTransferManager
1.1.82022-06-07#13579Always check GCS bucket for GCS loading method to catch invalid HMAC keys.
1.1.72022-06-07#13424Reordered fields for specification.
1.1.62022-05-15#12768Clarify that the service account key json field is required on cloud.
1.1.52022-05-12#12805Updated to latest base-java to emit AirbyteTraceMessage on error.
1.1.42022-05-04#12578In JSON to Avro conversion, log JSON field values that do not follow Avro schema for debugging.
1.1.32022-05-02#12528Update Dataset location field description
1.1.22022-04-29#12477Dataset location is a required field
1.1.12022-04-15#12068Fixed bug with GCS bucket conditional binding
1.1.02022-04-06#11776Use serialized buffering strategy to reduce memory consumption.
1.0.22022-03-30#11620Updated spec
1.0.12022-03-24#11350Improve check performance
1.0.02022-03-18#11238Updated spec and documentation
0.6.122022-03-18#10793Fix namespace with invalid characters
0.6.112022-03-03#10755Make sure to kill children threads and stop JVM
0.6.82022-02-14#10256Add -XX:+ExitOnOutOfMemoryError JVM option
0.6.62022-02-01#9959Fix null pointer exception from buffered stream consumer.
0.6.62022-01-29#9745Integrate with Sentry.
0.6.52022-01-18#9573BigQuery Destination : update description for some input fields
0.6.42022-01-17#8383Support dataset-id prefixed by project-id
0.6.32022-01-12#9415BigQuery Destination : Fix GCS processing of Facebook data
0.6.22022-01-10#9121Fixed check method for GCS mode to verify if all roles assigned to user
0.6.12021-12-22#9039Added part_size configuration to UI for GCS staging
0.6.02021-12-17#8788BigQuery/BiqQuery denorm Destinations : Add possibility to use different types of GCS files
0.5.12021-12-16#8816Update dataset locations
0.5.02021-10-26#7240Output partitioned/clustered tables
0.4.12021-10-04#6733Support dataset starting with numbers
0.4.02021-08-26#5296Added GCS Staging uploading option
0.3.122021-08-03#3549Add optional arg to make a possibility to change the BigQuery client's chunk\buffer size
0.3.112021-07-30#5125Enable additionalPropertities in spec.json
0.3.102021-07-28#3549Add extended logs and made JobId filled with region and projectId
0.3.92021-07-28#5026Add sanitized json fields in raw tables to handle quotes in column names
0.3.62021-06-18#3947Service account credentials are now optional.
0.3.42021-06-07#3277Add dataset location option