How to Create an Index In PostgreSQL For Better Performance?

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Creating an index in PostgreSQL can significantly improve query performance by allowing the database engine to quickly locate the necessary data. Here's how you can create an index for better performance:

  1. Choose the column(s) to index: Determine which columns are frequently used in the WHERE clause or JOIN conditions of your queries. Indexing these columns can speed up query execution.
  2. Determine the index type: PostgreSQL offers various index types, such as B-tree, Hash, GiST, GIN, and SP-GiST. The B-tree index is the default and most commonly used index type.
  3. Create a basic index: Use the CREATE INDEX command to create an index on the chosen column(s). For example, to create a B-tree index on the "name" column of a table called "customers", the command would be: CREATE INDEX idx_customers_name ON customers (name);.
  4. Optimize the index: In some cases, a basic index may not be sufficient. PostgreSQL provides options to optimize the index according to specific requirements. For example, you can specify the index as unique (CREATE UNIQUE INDEX), include multiple columns in a single index, or create a partial index to index only a subset of rows.
  5. Monitor index usage: After creating an index, monitor its usage and analyze its performance impact on query execution. PostgreSQL provides system views like pg_stat_user_indexes and pg_stat_user_tables to inspect index usage and performance statistics.
  6. Consider index maintenance: Regularly monitor and manage indexes to ensure their effectiveness. Unused or redundant indexes may negatively impact performance and add unnecessary overhead during data modifications.
  7. Modify indexes as needed: Over time, query patterns may change, and certain indexes may become less useful or even detrimental. Consider adjusting or removing indexes that are no longer necessary or not performing well. PostgreSQL provides the DROP INDEX command to remove an index from a table.

Remember, creating indexes requires careful consideration of the database schema, query patterns, and performance requirements. It's recommended to analyze query plans, usage patterns, and consult with database administrators or experts for optimal index creation and management.

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How to improve performance using indexes in PostgreSQL?

There are several ways to improve performance using indexes in PostgreSQL. Here are some tips:

  1. Identify the slow running queries: Use the EXPLAIN command to analyze the query execution plan and identify the queries that are taking longer to execute.
  2. Add indexes to frequently used columns: Identify the columns that are frequently used in the WHERE, JOIN, and ORDER BY clauses of the slow running queries. Add indexes on these columns to speed up the query execution.
  3. Choose the right index type: PostgreSQL offers various types of indexes such as B-tree, hash, and GiST. Choose the appropriate index type based on the data and query patterns. B-tree indexes are the most common and suitable for most cases.
  4. Limit the number of indexes: While indexes can speed up query execution, they also introduce overhead during inserts, updates, and deletes. Only create indexes that are necessary for improving query performance to minimize the overhead.
  5. Use multi-column indexes: If your queries involve multiple columns in the WHERE clause or JOIN conditions, create multi-column indexes. This can significantly improve the query performance by scanning fewer index pages.
  6. Regularly analyze and vacuum the database: Analyzing the database statistics can help PostgreSQL optimize query plans. Regularly run the ANALYZE command to update the statistics. Similarly, running the VACUUM command can free up space and improve the performance.
  7. Consider partial indexes: If your queries have specific conditions that only apply to a subset of the data, consider creating partial indexes. These indexes will be smaller in size and provide faster lookups.
  8. Use the INCLUDE clause: PostgreSQL 11 introduced the INCLUDE clause, which allows you to add non-key columns to the leaf level of an index. This can speed up query execution by avoiding expensive table lookups.
  9. Monitor and tune your indexes: Regularly monitor the performance of your indexes using tools like pg_stat_user_indexes or pg_stat_progress_index_vacuum. Identify any unused or redundant indexes and remove them. Also, consider tuning the index parameters like fillfactor or using parallel query execution for specific queries.
  10. Regularly review and optimize queries: Indexes can only improve the performance if the queries are written efficiently. Regularly review and optimize your queries to ensure they are utilizing the available indexes properly.

Remember that the effectiveness of indexes can vary depending on the specific database schema, data distribution, and query patterns. It's essential to measure the performance improvements and adjust the indexing strategy accordingly.

How to determine which columns to index in PostgreSQL?

Determining which columns to index in PostgreSQL involves analyzing the application's workload and querying patterns, as well as considering the size of the table and the performance impact of adding indexes. Here are some steps to help determine which columns to index:

  1. Identify frequently queried columns: Look for columns that are frequently used in WHERE, JOIN, or ORDER BY clauses of your queries. These columns often benefit from indexing.
  2. Analyze query execution plans: Use the EXPLAIN command or query planner tools to understand how queries are executed. Look for sequential scans or high costs due to sorting or filtering. These can indicate columns that may benefit from indexing.
  3. Consider cardinality: Cardinality refers to the uniqueness of values in a column. Columns with high cardinality, such as primary keys or unique columns, are good candidates for indexing.
  4. Assess selectivity: Selectivity measures how many rows match a certain value compared to the total number of rows in a table. Columns with high selectivity (few matching rows) are better for indexing, as it provides more precise filtering.
  5. Evaluate data size: Consider the size of the table and the indexes themselves. Adding too many indexes can impact storage and performance negatively. Prioritize indexing on larger tables where potential performance gains outweigh the overhead.
  6. Avoid excessive indexing: Adding indexes also incurs maintenance overhead, as they need to be updated when data changes. Avoid creating indexes on columns that have frequent updates or INSERT/DELETE activities, as it can negatively impact performance.
  7. Test and monitor: After choosing specific columns for indexing, implement the indexes and monitor query performance. Evaluate query execution times and make adjustments as necessary.

Remember, indexing is a trade-off between query performance and storage/maintenance overhead. Regularly review and optimize indexes based on changes in query patterns and workload to ensure optimal performance.

What is the difference between a clustered and non-clustered index in PostgreSQL?

In PostgreSQL, a clustered index refers to an index where the physical order of the rows in the table corresponds to the order of the index. This means that the rows in the table are physically stored in the same order as the index. A clustered index can only be created on a table that does not have any other indexes.

On the other hand, a non-clustered index in PostgreSQL refers to an index that does not affect the physical order of the rows in the table. The data is stored separately from the index structure. A non-clustered index can be created on a table that already has a clustered index or other indexes.

Here are some key differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes in PostgreSQL:

  1. Physical order: In a clustered index, the physical order of the rows in the table matches the order of the index, while in a non-clustered index, the physical order is independent of the index order.
  2. Table size: A table with a clustered index tends to have a smaller size compared to a table with non-clustered indexes. This is because the data is stored in a physically ordered manner, reducing the need for additional overhead.
  3. Index maintenance: Updating a clustered index can be more expensive than updating a non-clustered index. This is because when a clustered index is updated, the entire row needs to be moved or adjusted in its physical location. In contrast, updating a non-clustered index only requires updating the index structure.
  4. Query performance: Clustered indexes are typically more efficient for range and order-based queries, as the physical order of the rows matches the index order. Non-clustered indexes are useful for improving performance in queries that involve filtering, joins, or searching for specific values.

In summary, a clustered index affects the physical order of the rows in a table, while a non-clustered index does not. Each type of index has its own advantages and considerations, depending on the specific use case and query requirements.

How to disable an index temporarily in PostgreSQL?

To disable an index temporarily in PostgreSQL, you can use the DISABLE command. Here's the syntax to disable an index:


Replace index_name with the name of the index you want to disable.

Note that disabling an index will prevent the query optimizer from using that index for query planning and execution. Disabling an index can be useful in scenarios such as testing the performance impact of removing the index without actually dropping it permanently.

What is an index in PostgreSQL?

In PostgreSQL, an index is a database object that helps in speeding up the retrieval of data from a table. It is similar to the index found in books, where it provides a quick lookup of information based on a particular key or value.

Indexes in PostgreSQL are created on one or more columns of a table and maintain a sorted and structured representation of the data. This allows the database to efficiently locate the rows that match a specific query condition, resulting in faster query execution and improved performance.

There are different types of indexes in PostgreSQL, such as B-tree index, Hash index, GiST index, GIN index, and SP-GiST index. Each type has its own advantages and is suitable for specific types of queries or data patterns. Indexes can be created and managed using SQL commands or through tools provided by PostgreSQL.

What is the purpose of creating an index in PostgreSQL?

The purpose of creating an index in PostgreSQL is to improve the performance of database queries. An index is a data structure that allows for faster retrieval of data from a database table. It works by creating a sorted copy of the values in one or more columns of a table, which enables the database to quickly locate the desired data based on the indexed column(s). By using indexes, database queries can execute more efficiently, reducing the time and resources required to process complex queries and improving overall database performance.

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