PgBouncer in Azure Database for PostgreSQL - Flexible Server

APPLIES TO: Azure Database for PostgreSQL - Flexible Server

Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server offers PgBouncer as a built-in connection pooling solution. This is an optional service that can be enabled on a per-database server basis and is supported with both public and private access. PgBouncer runs in the same virtual machine as the Postgres database server. Postgres uses a process-based model for connections which makes it expensive to maintain many idle connections. So, Postgres itself runs into resource constraints once the server runs more than a few thousand connections. The primary benefit of PgBouncer is to improve idle connections and short-lived connections at the database server.

PgBouncer uses a more lightweight model that utilizes asynchronous I/O, and only uses actual Postgres connections when needed, that is, when inside an open transaction, or when a query is active. This model can support thousands of connections more easily with low overhead and allows scaling to up to 10,000 connections with low overhead.

When enabled, PgBouncer runs on port 6432 on your database server. You can change your application’s database connection configuration to use the same host name, but change the port to 6432 to start using PgBouncer and benefit from improved idle connection scaling.


PgBouncer is supported on General Purpose and Memory Optimized compute tiers in both public access and private access networking.

Enabling and configuring PgBouncer

In order to enable PgBouncer, you can navigate to the “Server Parameters” blade in the Azure portal, and search for “PgBouncer” and change the pgbouncer.enabled setting to “true” for PgBouncer to be enabled. There is no need to restart the server. However, to set other PgBouncer parameters, see the limitations section.

You can configure PgBouncer, settings with these parameters:

Parameter Name Description Default
pgbouncer.default_pool_size Set this parameter value to the number of connections per user/database pair 50
pgBouncer.max_client_conn Set this parameter value to the highest number of client connections to PgBouncer that you want to support . 5000
pgBouncer.pool_mode Set this parameter value to TRANSACTION for transaction pooling (which is the recommended setting for most workloads). TRANSACTION
pgBouncer.min_pool_size Add more server connections to pool if below this number. 0 (Disabled)
pgbouncer.ignore_startup_parameters Comma-separated list of parameters that PgBouncer can ignore. For example, you can let PgBouncer ignore extra_float_digits parameter.
pgbouncer.query_wait_timeout Maximum time (in seconds) queries are allowed to spend waiting for execution. If the query is not assigned to a server during that time, the client is disconnected. 120s
pgBouncer.stats_users Optional. Set this parameter value to the name of an existing user, to be able to log in to the special PgBouncer statistics database (named “PgBouncer”).

For more details on the PgBouncer configurations, please see pgbouncer.ini.


Upgrading of PgBouncer is managed by Azure.

Monitoring PgBouncer statistics

PgBouncer also provides an internal database that you can connect to called pgbouncer. Once connected to the database you can execute SHOW commands that provide information on the current state of pgbouncer.

Steps to connect to pgbouncer database

  1. Set pgBouncer.stats_users parameter to the name of an existing user (ex. "myUser"), and apply the changes.
  2. Connect to pgbouncer database as this user and port as 6432
psql " port=6432 dbname=pgbouncer user=myUser password=myPassword sslmode=require"

Once connected, use SHOW commands to view pgbouncer stats

  • SHOW HELP - list all the available show commands
  • SHOW POOLS — show number of connections in each state for each pool
  • SHOW DATABASES - show current applied connection limits for each database
  • SHOW STATS - show stats on requests and traffic for every database

For more details on the PgBouncer show command, please refer Admin console.

Switching your application to use PgBouncer

In order to start using PgBouncer, follow these steps:

  1. Connect to your database server, but use port 6432 instead of the regular port 5432 -- verify that this connection works
psql " port=6432 dbname=postgres user=myUser password=myPassword sslmode=require"
  1. Test your application in a QA environment against PgBouncer, to make sure you don’t have any compatibility problems. The PgBouncer project provides a compatibility matrix, and we recommend using transaction pooling for most users:
  2. Change your production application to connect to port 6432 instead of 5432, and monitor for any application side errors that may point to any compatibility issues.


Even if you had enabled PgBouncer, you can still connect to the database server directly over port 5432 using the same host name.

PgBouncer in Zone-redundant high availability

In zone-redundant high availability configured servers, the primary server runs the PgBouncer. You can connect to the primary server's PgBouncer over port 6432. After a failover, the PgBouncer is restarted on the newly promoted standby, which is the new primary server. So your application connection string remains the same post failover.

Using PgBouncer with other connection pools

In some cases, you may already have an application side connection pool, or have PgBouncer set up on your application side such as an AKS side car. In these cases, it can still be useful to utilize the built-in PgBouncer, as it provides idle connection scaling benefits.

Utilizing an application side pool together with PgBouncer on the database server can be beneficial. Here, the application side pool brings the benefit of reduced initial connection latency (as the initial roundtrip to initialize the connection is much faster), and the database-side PgBouncer provides idle connection scaling.


  • PgBouncer is currently not supported with Burstable server compute tier.
  • If you change the compute tier from General Purpose or Memory Optimized to Burstable tier, you will lose the PgBouncer capability.
  • Whenever the server is restarted during scale operations, HA failover, or a restart, the PgBouncer is also restarted along with the server virtual machine. Hence the existing connections have to be re-established.
  • Due to a known issue, the portal does not show all PgBouncer parameters. Once you enable PgBouncer and save the parameter, you have to exit Parameter screen (for example, click Overview) and then get back to Parameters page.
  • Transaction and statement pool modes cannnot be used along with prepared statements. Refer to the PgBouncer documentation to check other limitations of chosen pool mode.

Next steps