PostgreSQL 13 Beta 1 Released!

Posted on 2020-05-21 by PostgreSQL Global Development Group
PostgreSQL Project

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces that the first beta release of PostgreSQL 13 is now available for download. This release contains previews of all features that will be available in the final release of PostgreSQL 13, though some details of the release could change before then.

You can find information about all of the features and changes found in PostgreSQL 13 in the release notes:

In the spirit of the open source PostgreSQL community, we strongly encourage you to test the new features of PostgreSQL 13 in your systems to help us eliminate any bugs or other issues that may exist. While we do not advise you to run PostgreSQL 13 Beta 1 in your production environments, we encourage you to find ways to run your typical application workloads against this beta release.

Your testing and feedback will help the community ensure that the PostgreSQL 13 release upholds our standards of providing a stable, reliable release of the world's most advanced open source relational database. You can read more about our beta testing process and how you can contribute here:

PostgreSQL 13 Feature Highlights


There are many new features in PostgreSQL 13 that help improve the overall performance of PostgreSQL while making it even easier to develop applications.

B-tree indexes, the standard index of PostgreSQL, received improvements for how they handle duplicate data. These enhancements help to shrink index size and improve lookup speed, particularly for indexes that contain repeated values.

PostgreSQL 13 adds incremental sorting, which accelerates sorting data when data that is sorted from earlier parts of a query are already sorted. Additionally, queries with OR clauses or IN/ANY constant lists can use extended statistics (created via CREATE STATISTICS), which can lead to better planning and performance gains. PostgreSQL 13 can now use disk storage for hash aggregation (used as part of aggregate queries) with large aggregation sets.

There are more improvements added to PostgreSQL's partitioning functionality in this release, including an increased number of cases where a join directly between partitioned tables can occur, which can improve overall query execution time. Partitioned tables now support BEFORE row-level triggers, and a partitioned table can now be fully replicated via logical replication without having to publish individual partitions.

PostgreSQL 13 brings more convenience to writing queries with features like FETCH FIRST WITH TIES, which returns any additional rows that match the last row. There is also the addition of the .datetime() function for jsonpath queries, which will automatically convert a date-like or time-like string to the appropriate PostgreSQL date/time datatype. It is also even easier now to generate random UUIDs, as the gen_random_uuid() function can be used without having to enable any extensions.


One of the most anticipated features of PostgreSQL 13 is the ability for the VACUUM command to process indexes in parallel. This functionality can be accessed using the new PARALLEL option on the VACUUM command (or --parallel on vacuumdb), which allows you to specify the number of parallel workers to use for vacuuming indexes. Note that this does not work with the FULL option.

The reindexdb command has also added parallelism with the new --jobs flag, which lets you specify the number of concurrent sessions to use when reindexing a database.

PostgreSQL 13 introduces the concept of a "trusted extension", which allows for a superuser to specify extensions that a user can install in their database so long as they have a CREATE privilege.

This release includes more ways to monitor activity within a PostgreSQL database: PostgreSQL 13 can now track WAL usage statistics and the progress of streaming base backups, and the progress of an ANALYZE command. pg_basebackup can also generate a manifest that can be used to verify the integrity of a backup using a new tool called pg_verifybackup. It is also now possible to limit the amount of WAL space reserved by replication slots.

A new flag for pg_dump, --include-foreign-data, includes data from servers referenced by foreign data wrappers in the dump output.

The pg_rewind command also has improvements in PostgreSQL 13. In addition to pg_rewind automatically performing crash recovery, you can now use it to configure standby PostgreSQL instances using the --write-recovery-conf flag. pg_rewind can also use the restore_command of the target instance to fetch needed write-ahead logs.


PostgreSQL continues to improve on its security capabilities in this latest release, introducing several features to help further deploy PostgreSQL safely.

libpq, the connection library that powers psql and many PostgreSQL connection drivers, includes several new parameters to help secure connections. PostgreSQL 13 introduces the channel_binding connection parameters, which lets a client specify that they want to require the channel binding functionality as part of SCRAM. Additionally, a client that is using a password protected TLS certificate can now specify its password using the sslpassword parameter. PostgreSQL 13 also adds support for DER encoded certificates.

The PostgreSQL foreign data wrapper (postgres_fdw) also received several enhancements to how it can secure connections, including the ability to use certificate-based authentication to connect to other PostgreSQL clusters. Additionally, unprivileged accounts can now connect to another PostgreSQL database via the postgres_fdw without using a password.

Other Highlights

PostgreSQL 13 continues to improve operability on Windows, as now users who run PostgreSQL on Windows now have the option to connect over UNIX domain sockets.

The PostgreSQL 13 documentation adds a glossary of terms to help people familiarize themselves with both PostgreSQL and general database concepts. This coincides with a significant rework in the display of functions and operators in tables, which helps to improve readability both on the web and in the PDF documentation.

The pgbench utility, used for performance testing, now supports the ability to partition its "accounts" table, making it easier to benchmark workloads that contain partitions.

psql now includes the \warn command that is similar to the \echo command in terms of outputting data, except \warn sends it to stderr. And in case you need additional guidance on any of the PostgreSQL commands, the --help flag now includes a link to

Additional Features

Many other new features and improvements have been added to PostgreSQL 13, some of which may be as or more important to your use case than what is mentioned above. Please see the release notes for a complete list of new and changed features:

Testing for Bugs & Compatibility

The stability of each PostgreSQL release greatly depends on you, the community, to test the upcoming version with your workloads and testing tools in order to find bugs and regressions before the general availability of PostgreSQL 13. As this is a Beta, minor changes to database behaviors, feature details, and APIs are still possible. Your feedback and testing will help determine the final tweaks on the new features, so please test in the near future. The quality of user testing helps determine when we can make a final release.

A list of open issues is publicly available in the PostgreSQL wiki. You can report bugs using this form on the PostgreSQL website:

Beta Schedule

This is the first beta release of version 13. The PostgreSQL Project will release additional betas as required for testing, followed by one or more release candidates, until the final release in late 2020. For further information please see the Beta Testing page.