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How to get Postgresql server uptime

In this post, we will delve into the concept of PostgreSQL server uptime, why it matters, and how to accurately measure it using SQL queries and built-in functions.

By understanding how to obtain the uptime of a PostgreSQL server, you can gain valuable insights into your database’s reliability and performance, and proactively manage potential issues.

Let’s dive in and learn how to effectively measure PostgreSQL server uptime!

Get Postgresql server up time by querying the pg_postmaster_start_time

In PostgreSQL, you can determine the server uptime by querying the pg_postmaster_start_time.

SELECT pg_postmaster_start_time();
2021-10-01 19:37:41.389134+00

This timestamp value that represents the start time of the PostgreSQL postmaster process. This value can be used to determine how long the PostgreSQL server has been running since it was last started or restarted. Note that this value will not change during normal server operation and will only be updated when the postmaster process is started or restarted.

we can write a SQL query to get the uptime, like this:

postgres=# SELECT current_timestamp - pg_postmaster_start_time();

It calculates the duration between the current timestamp and the start time of the PostgreSQL postmaster process.

The current_timestamp is a built-in function that returns the current timestamp in the database server’s time zone, while pg_postmaster_start_time() is a PostgreSQL function that returns the start time of the postmaster process, which is the main background process for managing the PostgreSQL database server.

we can apply some formatting:

postgres=# SELECT date_trunc('second', current_timestamp - pg_postmaster_start_time()) as uptime;

The date_trunc() function in PostgreSQL is used to truncate a timestamp or interval value to a specified unit. In this case, it is used to truncate the result of the subtraction operation to seconds.

The query will return a result with a single column labeled “uptime” that represents the duration of the PostgreSQL database server’s uptime.

Understanding postmaster process in Postgresql

In PostgreSQL, the “postmaster” refers to the main server process that manages the communication and coordination among other backend processes to handle client connections, execute queries, manage transactions, and perform other database management tasks.

The postmaster process is responsible for starting and managing other PostgreSQL backend processes, commonly known as “backend” or “worker” processes, that actually perform the database operations.

Here are some key points to understand about the postmaster in PostgreSQL:

  • Start-up process: When the PostgreSQL server is started, the postmaster process is the first process that is launched. It initializes the server’s data structures, sets up shared memory and other system resources, and listens for incoming client connections.
  • Connection management: The postmaster process handles incoming client connections and forks new backend processes to handle each connection. It manages the lifecycle of backend processes, including starting new ones, reaping terminated ones, and handling abnormal terminations.


It’s worth noting that in newer versions of PostgreSQL (starting from version 14), the term “postmaster” has been replaced with “postgres” as the name of the main server process. However, the term “postmaster” is still commonly used in documentation and discussions related to PostgreSQL.