Introduction to NRQL, New Relic's query language

One way to query your New Relic data is with the New Relic Query Language (NRQL). This document will introduce you to what NRQL is, why you'd use it, and basic syntax rules.

Want to watch an introductory video about NRQL? See the New Relic University tutorial Introduction to NRQL. Or, go directly to the full online course Writing NRQL queries.

What is NRQL?

NRQL is New Relic's SQL-like query language. You can use NRQL to retrieve detailed New Relic data and get insight into your applications, hosts, and business-important activity.

Reasons to use NRQL include:

  • To answer a question for the purpose of troubleshooting or business analysis
  • To create a new chart
  • To make API queries of New Relic data (for example, using our NerdGraph API)

NRQL is used behind the scenes to generate some New Relic charts:

New Relic view chart NRQL query
Some New Relic charts are built using NRQL. One way to start using NRQL is to view a chart's query and then edit it to make your own custom chart.

Where can you use NRQL?

You can use NRQL in these places:

  • New Relic One chart builder:
    • Advanced mode is a NRQL query interface
    • Basic mode provides a simplified query experience that doesn't require knowledge of NRQL but that uses NRQL to generate results
  • New Relic Insights
  • NerdGraph: our GraphQL-format API, which includes options for making NRQL queries
New Relic One NRQL query example > Chart builder: You can run a NRQL query in both New Relic One and New Relic Insights. This NRQL query shows a count of distributed tracing spans faceted by their entity names.

NRQL is one of several ways to query New Relic data. For more on all query options, see Query your data.

What data can you query with NRQL?

NRQL allows you to query these New Relic data types:

Some data, like relationships between monitored entities, is not available via NRQL but is available using our NerdGraph API.

Start using NRQL

One way to start using NRQL and to understand what data you have available is to go to a NRQL interface (for example, the New Relic One chart builder), type FROM, and press space. The interface will suggest available types of data:

New Relic NRQL - find available data

To see the attributes available for a specific data type, type FROM DATA_TYPE SELECT and press space. The interface will suggest available attributes. For example:

New Relic NRQL - find available attributes

To see the complete JSON associated with a data type, including all of its attributes, use the keyset() attribute. For example:

FROM Transaction SELECT keyset()

NRQL is used behind the scenes to build some New Relic charts and dashboards. One way to learn NRQL is to find one of these NRQL-generated charts and start playing with the NRQL to create new, customized queries and charts:

New Relic view chart NRQL query
Charts built with NRQL will have View query as an option. You can then edit and customize that query to see how your changes affect the resulting visualization.

To explore your data without having to use NRQL, use the basic mode of New Relic One chart builder.

NRQL query examples

Here's an example NRQL query of Transaction data, which is reported by New Relic APM.

FROM Transaction SELECT average(duration) 

This would generate a chart that looks like:

New Relic One chart builder NRQL query example

Here are some more query examples:

Basic NRQL query of Browser data

Here's a NRQL query of PageView data, which is reported by New Relic Browser.

SELECT uniqueCount(user) FROM PageView 
  WHERE userAgentOS = 'Mac' 
  FACET countryCode
  SINCE 1 day ago 
  LIMIT 20 
Attribute name with a space in it

If a custom attribute name has a space in it, use backticks around the attribute name:

SELECT count(*)
 FROM Transaction
 FACET `Logged-in user`
Querying multiple data sources
To return data from two data sources, separate their data types with a comma. For example, this query returns a count of all APM transactions and Browser events over the last three days:​
SELECT count(*) FROM Transaction, PageView SINCE 3 days ago
Query returning multiple columns
To return multiple columns from a dataset, separate the aggregator arguments with a comma:
SELECT function(attribute), function(attribute) ...
  FROM ...

This query returns the minimum, average, and maximum duration for New Relic Browser PageView events over the last week:

SELECT min(duration), max(duration), average(duration)
  FROM PageView SINCE 1 week ago

See more NRQL query examples.

NRQL syntax

The syntax of a NRQL query is similar to standard SQL queries. Here is a breakdown of the structure of a NRQL query:

SELECT function(attribute) [AS 'label'][, ...] 
  FROM data type
  [WHERE attribute [comparison] [AND|OR ...]][AS 'label'][, ...]
  [FACET attribute | function(attribute)]
  [LIMIT number]
  [SINCE time]
  [UNTIL time]
  [WITH TIMEZONE timezone]

Basic rules include:

NRQL condition Details
Required values

The SELECT statement and FROM clause are required. All other clauses are optional. You can start your query with either SELECT or FROM.

Query string size

The query string must be less than 4 KB.

Case sensitivity
  • The data type names and attribute names are case sensitive.
  • NRQL clauses and functions are not case sensitive.
Syntax for strings NRQL uses single quotes to designate strings. For example:
... where traceId = '030a573f0df02c57'
Attribute names with spaces

Use backticks `` to quote a custom attribute name that has a space in it. For example:

... FACET `Logged-in user`
Data type coercion Insights does not support data type "coercion." For more information, see Data type conversion.
Use of math functions Basic and advanced math functions are supported in the SELECT statement.
JOIN functions NRQL does not have the equivalent of the SQL JOIN function, but you can simulate a JOIN with custom attributes.

Read more about NRQL syntax and functions.

For more help

Recommendations for learning more: