Troubleshooting PostgreSQL: A Primer

January 24th, 2023

0 min read

Postgres 101

Troubleshooting Postgres issues can be a challenging task, especially if you are not familiar with the inner workings of a complex database like PostgreSQL. However, with the right approach and tools, it is possible to troubleshoot and resolve most issues. Here are some different ways to troubleshoot Postgres issues:

Check the Postgres logs

The first thing you should do when troubleshooting a Postgres issue is to check the logs. The logs can provide valuable information about what is causing the issue, such as error messages and stack traces. To access the logs, you can find them in the hosted Postgres dashboard or if running Postgres directly, the pg_log directory in the Postgres data directory.

Use the Postgres command-line interface (CLI)

The Postgres CLI is a powerful tool that allows you to interact with the database and run SQL queries. You can use the CLI to query the database, view the schema, and run diagnostic commands such as query EXPLAINs. To access the CLI, you can use the psql command. Use the help command to see what options are available.

Use Postgres monitoring tools

There are several tools available that can help you monitor and troubleshoot Postgres issues. For example, you can use the pg_stat_activity view to see what queries are currently running on the database, or the pg_stat_bgwriter view to see the status of the background writer. Postgres Monitor offers automatic monitoring of these database tables and views.

Check system resources

If you are experiencing performance issues, it could be that the Postgres server does not have enough resources (e.g., memory, CPU) to handle the workload. You can use tools like top or htop to check the resource usage of the Postgres server.


The EXPLAIN and EXPLAIN ANALYZE statements can be used to understand how Postgres is executing a specific query. The output of these statements can help you identify any performance bottlenecks for your query and if any missing indexes should be added.

Check the Postgres configuration

The Postgres configuration file (postgresql.conf) contains a number of settings that can affect the performance and behavior of the database. If you are experiencing issues, it is worth checking the configuration to see if any settings need to be adjusted.

In conclusion, troubleshooting Postgres issues can be a complex task, but with the right tools, you can diagnose and fix a wide range of Postgres issues. Using a monitoring tool such as Postgres Monitor can help with common issues and query performance.

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