pgagroal: Getting started

January 18, 2024

Summary: The pgagroal is a high-performance connection pool for PostgreSQL.

First of all, make sure that pgagroal is installed in your path, and you can check it by using pgagroal -?.

Usage: pgagroal [ -c CONFIG_FILE ] [ -a HBA_FILE ] [ -d ]


  • -c, --config CONFIG_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal.conf file

  • -a, --hba HBA_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal_hba.conf file

  • -l, --limit LIMIT_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal_databases.conf file

  • -u, --users USERS_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal_users.conf file

  • -F, --frontend FRONTEND_USERS_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal_frontend_users.conf file

  • -A, --admins ADMINS_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal_admins.conf file

  • -S, --superuser SUPERUSER_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal_superuser.conf file

  • -d, --daemon

    Run as a daemon

  • -V, --version

    Display version information

  • -?, --help

    Display help


Let’s create a simple configuration file called pgagroal.conf with the content

host = *
port = 2345

log_type = file
log_level = info
log_path = /tmp/pgagroal.log

max_connections = 100
idle_timeout = 600
validation = off
unix_socket_dir = /tmp/

host = localhost
port = 5432

In our main section called [pgagroal] we setup pgagroal to listen on all network addresses on port 2345. Logging will be performed at info level and put in a file called /tmp/pgagroal.log. We want a maximum of 100 connections that are being closed if they have been idle for 10 minutes, and we also specify that we don’t want any connection validation to be performed. Last we specify the location of the unix_socket_dir used for management operations.

Next we create a section called [primary] which has the information about our PostgreSQL instance. In this case it is running on localhost on port 5432.

Now we need a host based authentication (HBA) file. Create one called pgagroal_hba.conf with the content

host    all      all   all      all

This tells pgagroal that it can accept connections from all network addresses for all databases and all user names.

We are now ready to run pgagroal.

See Configuration for all configuration options.


We will run pgagroal using the command

pgagroal -c pgagroal.conf -a pgagroal_hba.conf

If this doesn’t give an error, then we are ready to connect.

We will assume that we have a user called test with the password test in our PostgreSQL instance. See their documentation on how to setup PostgreSQL, add a user and add a database.

We will connect to pgagroal using the psql application.

psql -h localhost -p 2345 -U test test

That should give you a password prompt where test should be typed in. You are now connected to PostgreSQL through pgagroal.

Type \q to quit psql and pgagroal will now put the connection that you used into its pool.

If you type the above psql command again pgagroal will reuse the existing connection and thereby lower the overhead of getting a connection to PostgreSQL.

Now you are ready to point your applications to use pgagroal instead of going directly to PostgreSQL. pgagroal will work with any PostgreSQL compliant driver, for example pgjdbc, Npgsql and pq.

pgagroal is stopped by pressing Ctrl-C (^C) in the console where you started it, or by sending the SIGTERM signal to the process using kill <pid>.

Run-time administration

pgagroal has a run-time administration tool called pgagroal-cli.

You can see the commands it supports by using pgagroal-cli -? which will give.

pgagroal-cli - Command line utility for pgagroal

Usage: pgagroal-cli [ -c CONFIG_FILE ] [ COMMAND ]


  • -c, --config CONFIG_FILE

    Set the path to the pgagroal.conf file

  • -h, --host HOST

    Set the host name

  • -p, --port PORT

    Set the port number

  • -U, --user USERNAME

    Set the user name

  • -P, --password PASSWORD

    Set the password

  • -L, --logfile FILE

    Set the log file

  • -v, --verbose

    Output text string of result

  • -V, --version

    Display version information

  • -?, --help

    Display help


  • flush-idle

    Flush idle connections

  • flush-gracefully

    Flush all connections gracefully

  • flush-all

    Flush all connections. USE WITH CAUTION !

  • is-alive

    Is pgagroal alive

  • enable

    Enable a database

  • disable

    Disable a database

  • gracefully

    Stop pgagroal gracefully

  • stop

    Stop pgagroal

  • cancel-shutdown

    Cancel the graceful shutdown

  • status

    Status of pgagroal

  • details

    Detailed status of pgagroal

  • switch-to

    Switch to another primary

  • reload

    Reload the configuration

  • reset

    Reset the Prometheus statistics

  • reset-server

    Reset the state of a server

This tool can be used on the machine running pgagroal to flush connections.

To flush all idle connections you would use

pgagroal-cli -c pgagroal.conf flush-idle

To stop pgagroal you would use

pgagroal-cli -c pgagroal.conf stop

Check the outcome of the operations by verifying the exit code, like

echo $?

or by using the -v flag.

If pgagroal has both Transport Layer Security (TLS) and management enabled then pgagroal-cli can connect with TLS using the files ~/.pgagroal/pgagroal.key (must be 0600 permission), ~/.pgagroal/pgagroal.crt and ~/.pgagroal/root.crt.


pgagroal has an administration tool called pgagroal-admin, which is used to control user registration with pgagroal.

You can see the commands it supports by using pgagroal-admin -? which will give.

pgagroal-admin - Administration utility for pgagroal

Usage: pgagroal-admin [ -f FILE ] [ COMMAND ]


  • -f, --file FILE

    Set the path to a user file

  • -U, --user USER

    Set the user name

  • -P, --password PASSWORD

    Set the password for the user

  • -g, --generate

    Generate a password

  • -l, --length

    Password length

  • -V, --version

    Display version information

  • -?, --help

    Display help


  • master-key

    Create or update the master key

  • add-user

    Add a user

  • update-user

    Update a user

  • remove-user

    Remove a user

  • list-users

    List all users

In order to set the master key for all users you can use

pgagroal-admin -g master-key

The master key must be at least 8 characters.

Then use the other commands to add, update, remove or list the current user names, f.ex.

pgagroal-admin -f pgagroal_users.conf add-user

Next Steps

Next steps in improving pgagroal’s configuration could be

  • Update pgagroal.conf with the required settings for your system
  • Set the access rights in pgagroal_hba.conf for each user and database
  • Add a pgagroal_users.conf file using pgagroal-admin with a list of known users
  • Disable access for unknown users by setting allow_unknown_users to false
  • Define a pgagroal_databases.conf file with the limits and prefill settings for each database
  • Enable Transport Layer Security v1.2+ (TLS)
  • Deploy Grafana dashboard

See Configuration for more information on these subjects.

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