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51.85. pg_settings

The view pg_settings provides access to run-time parameters of the server. It is essentially an alternative interface to the SHOW and SET commands. It also provides access to some facts about each parameter that are not directly available from SHOW, such as minimum and maximum values.

Table 51.86. pg_settings Columns

Column Type

Description

name text

Run-time configuration parameter name

setting text

Current value of the parameter

unit text

Implicit unit of the parameter

category text

Logical group of the parameter

short_desc text

A brief description of the parameter

extra_desc text

Additional, more detailed, description of the parameter

context text

Context required to set the parameter's value (see below)

vartype text

Parameter type (bool, enum, integer, real, or string)

source text

Source of the current parameter value

min_val text

Minimum allowed value of the parameter (null for non-numeric values)

max_val text

Maximum allowed value of the parameter (null for non-numeric values)

enumvals text[]

Allowed values of an enum parameter (null for non-enum values)

boot_val text

Parameter value assumed at server startup if the parameter is not otherwise set

reset_val text

Value that RESET would reset the parameter to in the current session

sourcefile text

Configuration file the current value was set in (null for values set from sources other than configuration files, or when examined by a user who is neither a superuser or a member of pg_read_all_settings); helpful when using include directives in configuration files

sourceline int4

Line number within the configuration file the current value was set at (null for values set from sources other than configuration files, or when examined by a user who is neither a superuser or a member of pg_read_all_settings).

pending_restart bool

true if the value has been changed in the configuration file but needs a restart; or false otherwise.


There are several possible values of context. In order of decreasing difficulty of changing the setting, they are:

internal

These settings cannot be changed directly; they reflect internally determined values. Some of them may be adjustable by rebuilding the server with different configuration options, or by changing options supplied to initdb.

postmaster

These settings can only be applied when the server starts, so any change requires restarting the server. Values for these settings are typically stored in the postgresql.conf file, or passed on the command line when starting the server. Of course, settings with any of the lower context types can also be set at server start time.

sighup

Changes to these settings can be made in postgresql.conf without restarting the server. Send a SIGHUP signal to the postmaster to cause it to re-read postgresql.conf and apply the changes. The postmaster will also forward the SIGHUP signal to its child processes so that they all pick up the new value.

superuser-backend

Changes to these settings can be made in postgresql.conf without restarting the server. They can also be set for a particular session in the connection request packet (for example, via libpq's PGOPTIONS environment variable), but only if the connecting user is a superuser. However, these settings never change in a session after it is started. If you change them in postgresql.conf, send a SIGHUP signal to the postmaster to cause it to re-read postgresql.conf. The new values will only affect subsequently-launched sessions.

backend

Changes to these settings can be made in postgresql.conf without restarting the server. They can also be set for a particular session in the connection request packet (for example, via libpq's PGOPTIONS environment variable); any user can make such a change for their session. However, these settings never change in a session after it is started. If you change them in postgresql.conf, send a SIGHUP signal to the postmaster to cause it to re-read postgresql.conf. The new values will only affect subsequently-launched sessions.

superuser

These settings can be set from postgresql.conf, or within a session via the SET command; but only superusers can change them via SET. Changes in postgresql.conf will affect existing sessions only if no session-local value has been established with SET.

user

These settings can be set from postgresql.conf, or within a session via the SET command. Any user is allowed to change their session-local value. Changes in postgresql.conf will affect existing sessions only if no session-local value has been established with SET.

See Section 19.1 for more information about the various ways to change these parameters.

The pg_settings view cannot be inserted into or deleted from, but it can be updated. An UPDATE applied to a row of pg_settings is equivalent to executing the SET command on that named parameter. The change only affects the value used by the current session. If an UPDATE is issued within a transaction that is later aborted, the effects of the UPDATE command disappear when the transaction is rolled back. Once the surrounding transaction is committed, the effects will persist until the end of the session, unless overridden by another UPDATE or SET.

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