How to Fix Buffer Pin Waits in PostgreSQL

Solving Buffer Pin Wait Problems in PostgreSQL


3 min read


When it comes to managing and optimizing a PostgreSQL database, there are various performance issues that can arise. One common problem is buffer pin waits, which can significantly affect the overall performance of your database. In this blog post, we will discuss what buffer pin waits are, why they occur, and how to troubleshoot and resolve them effectively.

Understanding Buffer Pin Waits

Buffer pin waits occur when a session is waiting for a buffer to be released. In PostgreSQL, buffers are used to store data pages in memory, and they play a crucial role in improving database performance by reducing disk I/O. However, if multiple sessions are trying to access the same buffer simultaneously, a buffer pin wait can occur, causing delays and impacting overall system performance.

Troubleshooting Buffer Pin Waits

To troubleshoot buffer pin waits in PostgreSQL, you can start by identifying the root cause of the issue. One way to do this is by monitoring the database using the built-in system views and functions. The pg_stat_activity view can provide insight into the active sessions and their current activities. Look for sessions with waiting status and check the wait_event_type and wait_event columns to determine if buffer pin waits are the cause.

Once you have identified buffer pin waits as the problem, you can use the pg_buffercache extension to gather more information about the specific buffers causing the waits. This extension provides a set of functions that allow you to inspect the contents of the shared buffer cache. By analyzing the output of these functions, you can find patterns and identify the tables or indexes that are causing the waits.

Resolving Buffer Pin Waits

After identifying the buffers causing the pin waits, there are several approaches you can take to resolve the issue. One option is to increase the size of the shared buffer cache by adjusting the shared_buffers configuration parameter. By allocating more memory to the cache, you can reduce the likelihood of buffer pin waits occurring.

Another approach is to optimize your queries and indexing strategy. Poorly optimized queries or missing indexes can lead to more frequent buffer pin waits. Analyzing your query plans and identifying areas for improvement can help reduce the occurrence of waits. Additionally, consider using techniques such as partial indexes or covering indexes to minimize the number of buffers accessed during query execution.

Furthermore, it is essential to review your hardware resources. Inadequate hardware resources can also contribute to buffer pin waits. Ensure that your server has enough memory, CPU power, and disk I/O capacity to handle the workload efficiently. Upgrading your hardware or adding more resources can help alleviate the issue.

Lastly, consider tuning the max_connections parameter in your PostgreSQL configuration. If you have a high number of concurrent connections, it can increase the chances of buffer pin waits. By reducing the number of connections or properly managing connection pooling, you can alleviate the pressure on the shared buffer cache and mitigate the occurrence of waits.


Buffer pin waits can be a frustrating issue to deal with in PostgreSQL, but understanding their causes and implementing the appropriate troubleshooting steps can help alleviate the problem. By monitoring and analyzing the behavior of your database, identifying the buffers causing the waits, and taking measures to optimize your queries, configuration, and hardware resources, you can significantly improve the performance and stability of your PostgreSQL environment.