PostgreSQL is a powerful and versatile open-source relational database management system commonly used in production environments. However, like any complex system, it may encounter issues that require troubleshooting and careful administration to ensure optimal performance and reliability. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential PostgreSQL troubleshooting techniques and administration commands to help you maintain a healthy PostgreSQL deployment.

Monitoring Tools

Before diving into troubleshooting, having the right monitoring tools in place is crucial. Tools like Prometheus, Grafana, and the built-in PostgreSQL statistics collector can provide real-time insights into your database’s health.

Example 1: Using Prometheus and Grafana

  1. Set up Prometheus to scrape PostgreSQL metrics:
- job_name: 'postgresql'
    - targets: ['localhost:9090']
  metrics_path: /metrics
  1. Configure Grafana to visualize these metrics with pre-built dashboards.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

High CPU Usage

High CPU usage can be a sign of inefficient queries or resource-intensive operations.

Example 2: Identifying CPU-Intensive Queries

Use pg_stat_statements to find the most CPU-intensive queries:

SELECT query, total_time, calls
FROM pg_stat_statements
ORDER BY total_time DESC

Slow Queries

Slow queries can impact application performance. Identifying and optimizing them is crucial.

Example 3: Using EXPLAIN ANALYZE

Examine query execution plans to find bottlenecks:

EXPLAIN ANALYZE SELECT * FROM products WHERE category_id = 1;

Connection Issues

Database connection issues can disrupt application functionality.

Example 4: Checking Connections

View active connections to your database:

SELECT * FROM pg_stat_activity;

Disk Space Running Low

Running out of disk space can lead to data corruption.

Example 5: Checking Disk Usage

Monitor disk space usage:

df -h

Database Crashes

Sudden database crashes can result from various issues.

Example 6: Investigating Crashes

Check PostgreSQL’s error log for crash details:

tail -f /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-13-main.log

Routine Database Administration

Beyond troubleshooting, routine administration tasks are essential to maintain PostgreSQL in a production environment.

1. Backups

Regular backups are crucial for data recovery in case of disasters.

Example 7: Taking a Backup

Use the pg_dump utility to create a backup:

pg_dump -U postgres mydatabase > backup.sql


Vacuuming reclaims storage and optimizes database performance.

Example 8: Running VACUUM

Manually run the VACUUM command:



Regularly update PostgreSQL and apply security patches to protect against vulnerabilities.

Example 9: Updating PostgreSQL

Update PostgreSQL on your system:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade postgresql


Continuous monitoring helps identify issues before they impact performance.

Example 10: Automated Alerting

Set up automated alerts for critical database metrics using tools like Prometheus and Grafana.


PostgreSQL is a robust database system suitable for production deployments, but maintaining it requires effective troubleshooting and administration practices. By using monitoring tools, addressing common issues, and performing routine tasks, you can ensure your PostgreSQL database runs smoothly and reliably in a production environment.

Remember that PostgreSQL administration is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your database, apply best practices, and stay informed about updates and security patches to keep your PostgreSQL-powered applications performing at their best. With the right knowledge and tools, you can effectively troubleshoot issues and maintain a resilient PostgreSQL deployment

Disclaimer: Techniques and commands mentioned in this post are just to give a perspective on few available options, while troubleshooting PostgreSQL, please evaluate your deployment and take cautious descisions while making any changes in any kind of Production deployments.

By Abhishek K.

Author is a Architect by profession. This blog is to share his experience and give back to the community what he learned throughout his career.