Cautions and Considerations: Responsibly Managing Active Connections in PostgreSQL

sql postgresql database connection

Understanding Active Connections:

In PostgreSQL, an active connection is a link established between a client application (like a web application, SQL command-line tool, or another database) and the PostgreSQL server. These connections allow data exchange and database operations. Monitoring active connections is crucial for various reasons, such as:

  • Diagnosing and resolving performance issues: If you experience sluggish database performance, identifying high numbers of active connections or long-running queries can help pinpoint bottlenecks.
  • Ensuring security: Knowing who is currently accessing your database and from where can help mitigate security risks like unauthorized access or denial-of-service attacks.
  • Managing resource usage: Limiting the number of concurrent connections can optimize server resources and prevent potential overload.

Listing Active Connections in PostgreSQL:

Here are two primary methods to list active connections:

Using the pg_stat_activity System View:

  • This built-in view provides detailed information about each active session, including:
    • Process ID (pid)
    • Username
    • Database name
    • Client host and port
    • Application name
    • Start time
    • Query start time
    • Current query (if any)
    • State (active, idle, etc.)
  • Example Query:
SELECT pid, usename, datname, client_addr, client_port, application_name, backend_start, query_start, state
FROM pg_stat_activity
WHERE state = 'active'; -- Filter for active connections only
  • This query returns a table with the specified columns, showing essential details about each active connection. You can adjust the WHERE clause to filter based on your needs, for example, filtering by username or database name.

Using pgAdmin (GUI Tool):

  • If you prefer a graphical interface, pgAdmin provides a convenient way to view active connections.
  • Steps:
    1. Connect to your PostgreSQL server in pgAdmin.
    2. Right-click on your database in the "Browser" pane and select "Server Activity."
    3. The "Server Activity" panel displays a list of active connections, similar to the output of the pg_stat_activity query.

Example Code (Python, Node.js, and C#):

While the methods above don't involve direct code creation, here are illustrative examples of how you might interact with pg_stat_activity from different programming languages:


import psycopg2

conn = psycopg2.connect(database="your_db", user="your_user", password="your_password")
cur = conn.cursor()

cur.execute("SELECT * FROM pg_stat_activity WHERE state = 'active';")
rows = cur.fetchall()

for row in rows:
    print(f"PID: {row[0]}, Username: {row[1]}, Database: {row[2]}")



const { Client } = require('pg');

const client = new Client({
    user: 'your_user',
    host: 'your_host',
    database: 'your_db',
    password: 'your_password',

    .then(() => {
        return client.query('SELECT * FROM pg_stat_activity WHERE state = \'active\'');
    .then(result => {
        const rows = result.rows;
        for (const row of rows) {
            console.log(`PID: ${row.pid}, Username: ${row.usename}, Database: ${row.datname}`);
    .catch(err => {
    .finally(() => {


using Npgsql;

using var conn = new NpgsqlConnection("server=your_host;database=your_db;user=your_user;password=your_password");

using var command = new NpgsqlCommand("SELECT * FROM pg_stat_activity WHERE state = 'active'", conn);
using var reader = command.ExecuteReader();

while (reader.Read())
    Console.WriteLine($"PID: {reader.GetInt32(0)}, Username: {reader.GetString(1)}, Database: {reader.GetString(2)}");


Additional Considerations:

  • Be cautious when terminating

sql postgresql database-connection

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