Impala Shell Configuration Options

You can specify the following options when starting impala-shell to control how shell commands are executed. You can specify options on the command line or in the impala-shell configuration file.

Command-Line Option Configuration File Setting Explanation

-B or



Causes all query results to be printed in plain format as a delimited text file. Useful for producing data files to be used with other Hadoop components. Also useful for avoiding the performance overhead of pretty-printing all output, especially when running benchmark tests using queries returning large result sets. Specify the delimiter character with the --output_delimiter option. Store all query results in a file rather than printing to the screen with the -B option.

--live_progress live_progress=true Prints a progress bar showing roughly the percentage complete for each query. Information is updated interactively as the query progresses.
--disable_live_progress live_progress=false Disables live_progress in the interactive mode.

-b or




If set, the setting overrides the expected hostname of the Impala daemon's Kerberos service principal. impala-shell will check that the server's principal matches this hostname. This may be used when impalad is configured to be accessed via a load-balancer, but it is desired for impala-shell to talk to a specific impalad directly.



-o filename or

--output_file filename


Stores all query results in the specified file. Typically used to store the results of a single query issued from the command line with the -q option. Also works for interactive sessions; you see the messages such as number of rows fetched, but not the actual result set. To suppress these incidental messages when combining the -q and -o options, redirect stderr to /dev/null.




Specifies the character to use as a delimiter between fields when query results are printed in plain format by the -B option. Defaults to tab ('\t'). If an output value contains the delimiter character, that field is quoted, escaped by doubling quotation marks, or both.

-p or



Displays the query execution plan (same output as the EXPLAIN statement) and a more detailed low-level breakdown of execution steps, for every query executed by the shell.

-h or



Displays help information.



Sets the maximum number of queries to store in the history file.

-i hostname or



Connects to the impalad daemon on the specified host. The default port of 21000 is assumed unless you provide another value. You can connect to any host in your cluster that is running impalad. If you connect to an instance of impalad that was started with an alternate port specified by the --fe_port flag, provide that alternative port.

-q query or



Passes a query or other impala-shell command from the command line. The impala-shell interpreter immediately exits after processing the statement. It is limited to a single statement, which could be a SELECT, CREATE TABLE, SHOW TABLES, or any other statement recognized in impala-shell. Because you cannot pass a USE statement and another query, fully qualify the names for any tables outside the default database. (Or use the -f option to pass a file with a USE statement followed by other queries.)

-f query_file or



Passes a SQL query from a file. Multiple statements must be semicolon (;) delimited.

-k or



Kerberos authentication is used when the shell connects to impalad. If Kerberos is not enabled on the instance of impalad to which you are connecting, errors are displayed.





Header line [impala.query_options], followed on subsequent lines by option=value, one option per line.

Sets default query options for an invocation of the impala-shell command. To set multiple query options at once, use more than one instance of this command-line option. The query option names are not case-sensitive.

-s kerberos_service_name or




Instructs impala-shell to authenticate to a particular impalad service principal. If a kerberos_service_name is not specified, impala is used by default. If this option is used in conjunction with a connection in which Kerberos is not supported, errors are returned.

-V or --verbose


Enables verbose output.



Disables verbose output.

-v or --version


Displays version information.



Continues on query failure.

-d default_db or



Specifies the database to be used on startup. Same as running the USE statement after connecting. If not specified, a database named DEFAULT is used.

--ssl ssl=true Enables TLS/SSL for impala-shell.
path_to_certificate ca_cert=path_to_certificate The local pathname pointing to the third-party CA certificate, or to a copy of the server certificate for self-signed server certificates. If --ca_cert is not set, impala-shell enables TLS/SSL, but does not validate the server certificate. This is useful for connecting to a known-good Impala that is only running over TLS/SSL, when a copy of the certificate is not available (such as when debugging customer installations).
-l use_ldap=true Enables LDAP authentication.
-u user=user_name Supplies the username, when LDAP authentication is enabled by the -l option. (Specify the short username, not the full LDAP distinguished name.) The shell then prompts interactively for the password.


N/A Specifies a command to run to retrieve the LDAP password, when LDAP authentication is enabled by the -l option. If the command includes space-separated arguments, enclose the command and its arguments in quotation marks.


N/A Specifies the path of the file containing impala-shell configuration settings. The default is /etc/impalarc. This setting can only be specified on the command line.
--live_progress N/A Prints a progress bar showing roughly the percentage complete for each query. The information is updated interactively as the query progresses.
--live_summary N/A Prints a detailed report, similar to the SUMMARY command, showing progress details for each phase of query execution. The information is updated interactively as the query progresses.



N/A Defines a substitution variable that can be used within the impala-shell session. The variable can be substituted into statements processed by the -q or -f options, or in an interactive shell session. Within a SQL statement, you substitute the value by using the notation ${var:variable_name}.
--auth_creds_ok_in_clear N/A Allows LDAP authentication to be used with an insecure connection to the shell. WARNING: This will allow authentication credentials to be sent unencrypted, and hence may be vulnerable to an attack.


N/A Protocol to use for the connection to Impala.
Valid protocol values are:
  • 'hs2': Impala-shell uses the binary TCP based transport to speak to the Impala Daemon via the HiveServer2 protocol.
  • 'hs2-http': Impala-shell uses HTTP transport to speak to the Impala Daemon via the HiveServer2 protocol.
  • 'beeswax': Impala-shell uses the binary TCP based transport to speak to the Impala Daemon via Beeswax. This is the current default setting.

You cannot connect to the 3.2 or earlier versions of Impala using the 'hs2' or 'hs2-http' option.

Beeswax support is deprecated and will be removed in the future.