Troubleshooting Common PostgreSQL Issues in Docker

Pankaj kushwaha
2 min readMar 22, 2023

When running PostgreSQL in Docker, you may encounter various issues related to configuration, networking, and performance. Here are some common PostgreSQL issues in Docker and how to troubleshoot them:

  1. PostgreSQL container fails to start:
  • Check the Docker logs for error messages using docker logs <container_name>.
  • Ensure the PostgreSQL data directory on the host has the correct permissions (e.g., chown -R 999:999 /path/to/your/data/directory).
  • Verify that there are no conflicts with port mappings or container names.
  • Ensure the correct environment variables are set when starting the container (e.g., POSTGRES_USER, POSTGRES_PASSWORD, POSTGRES_DB).

2. Unable to connect to PostgreSQL container:

  • Verify that the PostgreSQL container is running using docker ps.
  • Check the postgresql.conf file for correct listen_addresses configuration. Set it to * to allow connections from all IP addresses, or to a specific IP if needed.
  • Ensure the pg_hba.conf file has the appropriate access control rules for your client's IP address and user.
  • Verify that the container’s port is correctly mapped to the host port (e.g., -p <host_port>:5432).
  • Confirm that your client is using the correct hostname (container name or host IP) and port number.

3. Poor performance:

  • Monitor PostgreSQL and container metrics (e.g., CPU usage, memory usage, disk I/O, active connections) to identify performance bottlenecks.
  • Check PostgreSQL logs for slow queries or resource-intensive operations.
  • Optimize PostgreSQL configuration settings in postgresql.conf (e.g., shared_buffers, work_mem, maintenance_work_mem, effective_cache_size).
  • Use a connection pooler like PgBouncer to reduce connection overhead and improve resource utilization.
  • Analyze and optimize problematic queries using tools like EXPLAIN and pg_stat_statements.

4. Data persistence issues:

  • Ensure you are using Docker volumes to persist PostgreSQL data on the host system (e.g., -v /path/to/your/data/directory:/var/lib/postgresql/data).
  • Verify that the host directory used for data persistence has the correct permissions.
  • For named volumes, inspect the volume configuration and mount point with docker volume inspect <volume_name>.

5. Networking issues:

  • Check Docker networking configurations for conflicts or misconfigurations.
  • Use Docker’s built-in --network flag to control container network access.
  • For multi-container environments, consider using Docker Compose or Docker Swarm to manage networks and connections between containers.

By understanding these common PostgreSQL issues in Docker and applying the troubleshooting steps, you can effectively address problems and ensure the stability and performance of your containerized PostgreSQL instances.

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Pankaj kushwaha

Database/System Administrator | DevOPS | Cloud Specialist | DevOPS