How to resolve PostgreSQL 'FATAL: sorry, too many clients already' error

Aug 02, 2021 · 2 mins read · Post a comment

As part of the PostgreSQL series, in today’s tutorial, we are going to see on how to deal with one of the most often seen PostgreSQL errors:

org.postgresql.util.PSQLException: FATAL: sorry, too many clients already.

The error it’s pretty much self-explanatory, and this is only the symptom. There is a default db connection limit of 100, and its seems like it’s full.


  • PostgreSQL

Possible solutions

  1. Increase the max_connections parameter. This is the easiest one, and probably will work as a temporary solution until you figure it out the rest of the following solutions.
  2. There could be a leak, the client connections aren’t properly closed on the backend side, so find out why is that.
  3. Use a connection pooler. PgBouncer for instance.

Let’s focus on solution #1, so you can buy some time preparing for the other two solutions.

Step 1. First things first, check the max_connections parameter value.

SHOW max_connections;

Step 2. List the number of connections currently used.

SELECT count(*) FROM pg_stat_activity;

Step 3. You can also take a look more into details regarding the current connections.

SELECT * FROM pg_stat_activity;

Step 4. Open the PostgreSQL config file /var/lib/postgresql/data/postgresql.conf and update the max_connections parameter.

max_connections = 100

Note(s): Increasing the max_connections parameter only, is a bad idea, you need to update shared_buffers as well. It determines how much memory will be used by PostgreSQL for caching data. By default, the shared_buffers value should be 25% of the total memory in the server. With that being said …

Step 5. Let’s say we got a server with 8GB memory. In the same postgresql.conf file, update the shared_buffers parameter value to 2GB.

shared_buffers = 2GB

Step 6. Restart the PostgreSQL service.

systemctl restart postgresql


Not a huge fan of fixing symptoms, and increasing max_connections it’s not always a good solution, but it’ll buy you some time, especially if you’re dealing with this one on Friday. Feel free to leave a comment below and if you find this tutorial useful, follow our official channel on Telegram.