This page describes how to configure Kafka as a source for Census.

๐ŸŒ Connectivity

Census can connect to Kafka clusters over the public internet. Census always connects to your cluster via TLS using static IP addresses that you can add to an allow list.


Census supports the following SASL authentication mechanisms for Kafka:

  • Plain

  • SCRAM SHA-256

  • SCRAM SHA-512


To read data from your Kafka cluster, Census needs the following permissions:




Any topic you want to sync data from




When used as the source for a Live Sync, Census will also create error topics in your cluster for messages that canโ€™t be processed. To do so, Census needs the following permissions:


Create, Write



Create a Kafka Connection

  1. In Census, navigate to Sources.

  2. Click New Source and select Kafka.

  3. Enter the hostname and port number of your bootstrap server.

  4. Select the SASL authentication method your brokers are configured to use.

  5. Enter the username and password Census should use to authenticate with your brokers.

  6. Click Connect.

After you create a Kafka connection, you need to set up message schemas for your topics.

Define message schemas

Before you can use a Kafka topic as the source for a sync, you must define the schema of the messages on the topic.

  1. In Census, navigate to Models.

  2. From the Source dropdown, select your Kafka connection.

  3. Census automatically pulls the list of topics from your cluster. You can also click Refresh topics to manually refresh the list.

  4. Click on the name of the topic you want to define a schema for.

  5. Select the format of the messages on your topic from the Format drop down. The only supported format is JSON.

  6. Click Import sample message and enter a sample message. Your sample message should be a JSON object containing any top-level fields you want to use in your pipelines. Make sure the values of the fields in your sample message match the data type of the values in your actual messages.

Census does not handle sample messages as customer data. Do not include real data in a sample message.

Click Save Topic. Review the listed properties and types to ensure the sample message you provided was interpreted as intended.

๐Ÿš‘ Need help connecting to Kafka?

Contact us via support@getcensus.com or start a conversation with us via the in-app chat.

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