Correctly Establishing Postgres Connections in Forked Environments
Last updated November 21, 2022
Table of Contents
By design, connections to Postgres databases are persistent to reduce the performance impact of having to re-establish a connection for every invocation. While this increases the performance of your application it also requires properly establishing the connection, especially in forked environments.
If you’re using a framework or library that uses forked
processes, connections to Postgres (and any other resources) should be
established after the fork completes. This ensures that each forked
process has its own connection and avoids several of the most common
connection errors such as
no connection to the server and
SYSCALL error: EOF detected and
SSL error: decryption failed or bad record mac.
Connection instructions for several common frameworks and libraries are included here.
Database connection pools
When using a fork-based server of any kind, each fork receives its own database connection pool. For this reason, most applications using fork-based web servers receive the best performance when the application-level (for example, Rails, Sequel, or Django) connection pool isn’t used, or used with a pool size of one.
Overuse of database connections can result in lower overall performance, “out of memory” errors reported by the database server, and the database server’s refusal to accept connections from additional clients (connection limit reached).
Applications that are exempt from this advice tend to have been purposefully written to take advantage of or require multiple simultaneous transactions within the context of a single HTTP request.
Ruby on Rails
Important Postgres reconnection bugs have been fixed in ActiveRecord 3.2.9. Previous releases (3.1, 3.0, 2.x) haven’t received these enhancements. If you’re using ActiveRecord 3.2, upgrading to version 3.2.9 or later is recommended.
For previous versions, exiting the process when
propagated from the application is recommended since Heroku will
automatically restart crashed
In a Rails app or an app using
ActiveRecord, add the following
after_fork blocks in
before_fork do |server, worker| Signal.trap 'TERM' do puts 'Unicorn master intercepting TERM and sending myself QUIT instead' Process.kill 'QUIT', Process.pid end defined?(ActiveRecord::Base) and ActiveRecord::Base.connection.disconnect! end after_fork do |server, worker| Signal.trap 'TERM' do puts 'Unicorn worker intercepting TERM and doing nothing. Wait for master to sent QUIT' end defined?(ActiveRecord::Base) and ActiveRecord::Base.establish_connection( Rails.application.config.database_configuration[Rails.env] ) end
Resque Ruby queuing
Resque uses forking to create new worker processes. The main process connection should be disconnected before forking (to avoid consuming unnecessary resources) while worker connections should be established after the fork occurs.
You can specify this behavior by cleaning up and re-establishing connections in an initializer:
Resque.before_fork do defined?(ActiveRecord::Base) and ActiveRecord::Base.connection.disconnect! end Resque.after_fork do defined?(ActiveRecord::Base) and ActiveRecord::Base.establish_connection end
Sidekiq uses threads to handle many jobs at the same time in the same process. To prevent sharing of connections you must configure the Sidekiq server to correctly establish its own connection.
You can specify this behavior by cleaning up and re-establishing connections in a Sidekiq initializer:
Disabling New Relic EXPLAIN
The current implementation of New Relic auto-
EXPLAIN can cause one
extra database connection to be used per fork. For high-volume
applications that cannot tolerate the extra connection, it may be
worthwhile to disable the automatic
EXPLAIN feature of New Relic. For instructions about how to do this, see the New Relic documentation in Manually changing your configuration.
As an alternative, if you’re using Postgres 9.2 or later, consider using
pg_stat_statements. Useful in its own right, it can also help mitigate
some of the loss in visibility caused by disabling New Relic’s