Skip to content

pg_activity is a top like application for PostgreSQL server activity monitoring.


Notifications You must be signed in to change notification settings


Repository files navigation


Command line tool for PostgreSQL server activity monitoring.

Latest PyPI version Lint Tests

pg_activity screenshot


From distribution packages

The simplest way to install pg_activity is through the package manager of your Linux distribution, if it ships with a package. E.g., on Debian-based distributions (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, Mint...):

$ sudo apt install pg-activity

(on Debian bullseye, the current stable version, a backport is available: apt install pg-activity/bullseye-backports).

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group (PGDG) also provides packages for RPM-based ( and Debian-based distributions (

Note: distribution packages may not be up to date with the latest pg_activity releases. Before submitting a bug report here:

  • check the package version, compare that to our latest release and then review the change log to see if the bug has been fixed;
  • if the issue is about packaging, e.g. missing dependencies, reach out the package maintainer (or PGDG) first.

From PyPI

pg_activity can be installed using pip on Python 3.8 or later along with psycopg:

$ python3 -m pip install "pg_activity[psycopg]"

Alternatively, pipx can be used to install and run pg_activity in an isolated environment:

$ pipx install "pg_activity[psycopg]"

In case your $PATH does not already contain it, the full path is:

$ ~/.local/bin/pg_activity

From source, using git

This is only necessary to test development versions. First, clone the repository:

$ git clone

Change the branch if necessary. Then create a dedicated environment, and install pg_activity with the psycopg database driver:

$ cd pg_activity
$ python3 -m venv .venv
$ . .venv/bin/activate
(.venv) $ pip install ".[psycopg]"
(.venv) $ pg_activity

To quit this env and destroy it:

$ deactivate
$ rm -r .venv


pg_activity works locally or remotely. In local execution context, to obtain sufficient rights to display system information, the system user running pg_activity must be the same user running postgresql server (postgres by default), or have more rights like root. The PostgreSQL user used to connect to the database must be super-user in order to get as much data as possible. Otherwise, pg_activity can fall back to a degraded mode where some data like system information or temporary file data are not displayed.


sudo -u postgres pg_activity -U postgres


pg_activity [options] [connection string]

  -P PROFILE, --profile PROFILE
                        Configuration profile matching a PROFILE.conf file in
                        ${XDG_CONFIG_HOME:~/.config}/pg_activity/ or
                        /etc/pg_activity/, or a built-in profile.

  --blocksize BLOCKSIZE
                        Filesystem blocksize (default: 4096).
  --rds                 Enable support for AWS RDS (implies --no-tempfiles and
                        filters out the rdsadmin database from space
  --output FILEPATH     Store running queries as CSV.
  --db-size, --no-db-size
                        Enable/disable total size of DB.
  --tempfiles, --no-tempfiles
                        Enable/disable tempfile count and size.
  --walreceiver, --no-walreceiver
                        Enable/disable walreceiver checks.
  -w, --wrap-query      Wrap query column instead of truncating.
  --duration-mode DURATION_MODE
                        Duration mode. Values: 1-QUERY(default),
                        2-TRANSACTION, 3-BACKEND.
  --min-duration SECONDS
                        Don't display queries with smaller than specified
                        duration (in seconds).
  --filter FIELD:REGEX  Filter activities with a (case insensitive) regular
                        expression applied on selected fields. Known fields
                        are: dbname.
  --debug-file DEBUG_FILE
                        Enable debug and write it to DEBUG_FILE.
  --version             show program's version number and exit.
  --help                Show this help message and exit.

Connection Options:
  connection string     A valid connection string to the database, e.g.:
                        'host=HOSTNAME port=PORT user=USER dbname=DBNAME'.
                        Database server host or socket directory.
  -p PORT, --port PORT  Database server port.
  -U USERNAME, --username USERNAME
                        Database user name.
  -d DBNAME, --dbname DBNAME
                        Database name to connect to.

Process table display options:
  These options may be used hide some columns from the processes table.

  --pid, --no-pid       Enable/disable PID.
  --database, --no-database
                        Enable/disable DATABASE.
  --user, --no-user     Enable/disable USER.
  --client, --no-client
                        Enable/disable CLIENT.
  --cpu, --no-cpu       Enable/disable CPU%.
  --mem, --no-mem       Enable/disable MEM%.
  --read, --no-read     Enable/disable READ/s.
  --write, --no-write   Enable/disable WRITE/s.
  --time, --no-time     Enable/disable TIME+.
  --wait, --no-wait     Enable/disable W.
  --app-name, --no-app-name
                        Enable/disable APP.

Header display options:
  --no-inst-info        Display instance information.
  --no-sys-info         Display system information.
  --no-proc-info        Display workers process information.

Other display options:
                        Disable log_min_duration_statements and
                        log_min_duration_sample for pg_activity.
  --refresh REFRESH     Refresh rate. Values: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (default: 2).


pg_activity may be configured through a configuration file, in INI format, read from ${XDG_CONFIG_HOME:~/.config}/pg_activity.conf or /etc/pg_activity.conf in that order. Command-line options may override configuration file settings. This is used to control how columns in the processes table are rendered or which items of the header should be displayed, e.g.:

show_instance = yes
show_system = yes
show_workers = no

hidden = yes

width = 9

Alternatively, the user might define configuration profiles in the form of files located at ${XDG_CONFIG_HOME:~/.config}/pg_activity/<my-profile>.conf or /etc/pg_activity/<my-profile>.conf; these can then be used through the --profile <my-profile> command-line option. The format of these files is the same as the main configuration file.

pg_activity ships with a few built-in profiles:

  • narrow, providing a narrow user interface with most non-essential columns in the process table hidden,
  • wide, providing a wide user interface (the inverse of narrow), and,
  • minimal, providing an even more minimal user interface with header information hidden

Columns of the process table in pg_activity user interface can be assigned a custom color in the configuration file, e.g.:

color = magenta

color = red

The color option illustrated above defines the color used to render the cell independently of its value, i.e. the "normal" color. Some columns may be colorized differently depending on the value of their cells; for example, the time column can handle tree colors depending on whether the time value is high, medium or low. The color of such columns cannot be currently customized and attempting to do so will result in pg_activity to exit early with an error message.


Length of SQL query text that pg_activity reports relies on PostgreSQL parameter track_activity_query_size. Default value is 1024 (expressed in bytes). If your SQL query text look truncated, you should increase track_activity_query_size.

Interactives commands

Key Action
r Sort by READ/s, descending
w Sort by WRITE/s, descending
c Sort by CPU%, descending
m Sort by MEM%, descending
t Sort by TIME+, descending
y Copy focused query to clipboard
T Change duration mode: query, transaction, backend
Space Pause on/off
v Change queries display mode: full, indented, truncated
UP/DOWN Scroll processes list
k/j Scroll processes list
q Quit
+ Increase refresh time. Maximum value: 5s
- Decrease refresh time. Minimum Value: 0.5s
F1/1 Running queries list
F2/2 Waiting queries list
F3/3 Blocking queries list
h Help page
R Refresh
D Refresh Database Size (including when --no-dbzise option applied)
s Display system information in header
i Display general instance information in header
o Display worker information in header

Navigation mode

Key Action
UP/k Move up the cursor
DOWN/j Move down the cursor
K Terminate the current backend/tagged backends
C Cancel the current backend/tagged backends
Space Tag or untag the process
q Quit
Other Back to activity


I can't see my queries only TPS is shown

pg_activity scans the view pg_stat_activity with a user defined refresh time comprised between 0.5 and 5 seconds. It can be modified in the interface with the + and - keys. Any query executed between two scans won't be displayed.

What is more, pg_activity uses different queries to get:

  • settings from pg_settings
  • version info using version()
  • queries and number of connections from pg_stat_activity
  • locks from pg_locks
  • tps from pg_database using pg_stat_get_db_xact_commit() and pg_stat_get_db_xact_rollback()
  • and more (e.g.: pg_cancel_backend() and pg_terminate_backend())

Those queries cannot be seen in the query tab because all queries issued from the pg_activity backend are considered as noise and are not displayed . On the other hand, the transactions used to get the info for pg_activity's reporting are still accounted for by postgres in pg_stat_get_db_xact_commit() and pg_stat_get_db_xact_commit(). Therefore pg_activity will display a non zero TPS even with no activity on the database, and/or no activity displayed on screen.

How can I specify a password for authentication?

pg_activity uses libpq to access to PostgreSQL therefore all the traditional methods are available.

You can pass the password for the database connection in a password file. Information can also be given via PostgreSQL's environment variables (PGPASSFILE or PGPASSWORD) or via the connection string parameters.

The password file is preferred since it's more secure (security is deferred to the OS). Please avoid password in connection strings at all cost.

How to copy/paste the query of focused process?

The y shortcut will copy the query of focused process to system clipboard using OSC 52 escape sequence. This requires the terminal emulator to support this escape sequence and set the clipboard accordingly. If so, the copy even works across remote connections (SSH). In general, terminal emulators supporting this would use CTRL+SHIFT+V to paste from this clipboard.


In order to work on pg_activity source code, in particular to run the tests suite, a temporary PostgreSQL database cluster will be created; accordingly, PostgreSQL server binaries (e.g. initdb, pg_ctl) need to be available. For instance, on a Debian system, this means simply having the postgresql package installed.

To set up a development environment, get the source repository:

$ git clone
$ cd pg_activity

and then create a virtual environment, activate it and install the project along with development dependencies:

$ python3 -m venv .venv
$ .venv/bin/activate
(.venv) $ pip install -e ".[dev]"

The source code is formatted with black and isort and typed checked with mypy (all those are included in the development environment). Make sure to respect this, e.g. by configuring your editor, before committing changes. Alternatively, you can install pre-commit hooks so that this will be checked automatically:

(.venv) $ pre-commit install

To run the tests suite, simply invoke:

(.venv) $ pytest
================================ test session starts =================================
platform linux -- Python 3.11.2, pytest-7.3.1, pluggy-1.0.0
psycopg: 3.1.8
configfile: pytest.ini
plugins: cov-4.0.0, accept-0.1.9, postgresql-4.1.1
collected 70 items

pgactivity/ ..                                                    [  2%]
pgactivity/ ..                                                        [  5%]
pgactivity/ ..                                                          [  8%]
pgactivity/ .....                                                   [ 15%]
pgactivity/ .                                                           [ 17%]
pgactivity/ ..............                                             [ 37%]
pgactivity/ .........                                                  [ 50%]
pgactivity/ .....                                                      [ 57%]
tests/ ...                                                   [ 61%]
tests/ ..                                                        [ 64%]
tests/ ................                                            [ 87%]
tests/test_scroll.txt .                                                        [ 88%]
tests/ .                                                          [ 90%]
tests/test_ui.txt .                                                            [ 91%]
tests/ ....                                                       [ 97%]
tests/test_views.txt .                                                         [ 98%]
tests/test_widgets.txt .                                                       [100%]

================================ 70 passed in 11.89s =================================

Change log