20.14. Error Handling

exit_on_error (boolean)

If on, any error will terminate the current session. By default, this is set to off, so that only FATAL errors will terminate the session.

restart_after_crash (boolean)

When set to on, which is the default, PostgreSQL will automatically reinitialize after a backend crash. Leaving this value set to on is normally the best way to maximize the availability of the database. However, in some circumstances, such as when PostgreSQL is being invoked by clusterware, it may be useful to disable the restart so that the clusterware can gain control and take any actions it deems appropriate.

This parameter can only be set in the postgresql.conf file or on the server command line.

data_sync_retry (boolean)

When set to off, which is the default, PostgreSQL will raise a PANIC-level error on failure to flush modified data files to the file system. This causes the database server to crash. This parameter can only be set at server start.

On some operating systems, the status of data in the kernel's page cache is unknown after a write-back failure. In some cases it might have been entirely forgotten, making it unsafe to retry; the second attempt may be reported as successful, when in fact the data has been lost. In these circumstances, the only way to avoid data loss is to recover from the WAL after any failure is reported, preferably after investigating the root cause of the failure and replacing any faulty hardware.

If set to on, PostgreSQL will instead report an error but continue to run so that the data flushing operation can be retried in a later checkpoint. Only set it to on after investigating the operating system's treatment of buffered data in case of write-back failure.

recovery_init_sync_method (enum)

When set to fsync, which is the default, PostgreSQL will recursively open and synchronize all files in the data directory before crash recovery begins. The search for files will follow symbolic links for the WAL directory and each configured tablespace (but not any other symbolic links). This is intended to make sure that all WAL and data files are durably stored on disk before replaying changes. This applies whenever starting a database cluster that did not shut down cleanly, including copies created with pg_basebackup.

On Linux, syncfs may be used instead, to ask the operating system to synchronize the whole file systems that contain the data directory, the WAL files and each tablespace (but not any other file systems that may be reachable through symbolic links). This may be a lot faster than the fsync setting, because it doesn't need to open each file one by one. On the other hand, it may be slower if a file system is shared by other applications that modify a lot of files, since those files will also be written to disk. Furthermore, on versions of Linux before 5.8, I/O errors encountered while writing data to disk may not be reported to PostgreSQL, and relevant error messages may appear only in kernel logs.

This parameter can only be set in the postgresql.conf file or on the server command line.