PostgreSQL Interview Questions

Last updated on Jun 12, 2024

PostgreSQL stands out as a leading, robust, and open-source database system among the myriad of databases available today. Renowned for extending SQL language, it serves as the primary data warehouse for a wide range of applications, from mobile and web to analytics. The growing demand for PostgreSQL-certified professionals is a testament to its significance. To aid aspirants in their career journey, we've compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked PostgreSQL interview questions and answers.

These curated PostgreSQL interview questions are designed to give you insights into the technical aspects of interviews, preparing you thoroughly. With this preparation, you'll not only understand the kind of questions to expect but also enhance your chances of securing the job. So, let's dive into these engaging and informative PostgreSQL interview questions and set the stage for your success.

Most Frequently Asked PostgreSQL Interview Questions

1. What is PostgreSQL?

Ans: PostgreSQL is a widely-recognized Object-relational database management system known for its robustness and versatility. It's an open-source platform, making it a preferred choice for developing sophisticated applications. Users often find that having experience with Linux and UNIX systems can be advantageous when implementing and managing PostgreSQL environments.

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2. List some PostgreSQL features.

Ans: PostgreSQL is renowned for its comprehensive set of features, which include:

  • Robust data integrity mechanisms, enhancing fault-tolerance capabilities.
  • Compatibility with major platforms, languages, and middleware, facilitating integration.
  • Multi-version concurrency control for efficient transaction handling.
  • Client-server network architecture support.
  • Advanced replication features including log-based and trigger-based replication with SSL support.
  • High availability solutions and standby server configurations.

3. List various data types in PostgreSQL.

Ans: PostgreSQL accommodates a diverse array of data types, including:

  • Universally unique identifiers (UUID).
  • A variety of numeric types, including arbitrary precision numerics.
  • Temporal types for time-related data.
  • Geometric primitives for spatial data.
  • XML and JSON types for structured data storage.
  • Boolean and character types.
  • Support for array data structures.

4. List some advantages and disadvantages of PostgreSQL.

Ans:

Advantages:

  • High reliability and data integrity.
  • Flexibility in database design and query language.
  • Stability and maturity of the software.
  • User-friendly learning curve.
  • Extensibility for custom functions and types.
  • Cross-platform compatibility.
  • Strong community and open-source benefits.
  • Designed to handle high-volume environments effectively.

Disadvantages:

  • Performance can be slower compared to some alternatives like MySQL in specific scenarios.
  • Limited support for certain open-source applications when compared to MySQL.
  • Requires more effort to optimize for speed due to its focus on compatibility and standards adherence.

5. What are string Constants?

Ans: String constants in PostgreSQL are sequences of characters enclosed in single quotes, such as 'Example String'. They are essential in database operations like inserting text data or passing character data to database objects. PostgreSQL adopts a C-style backslash mechanism to manage single quotes within these constants, which is vital for data parsing and handling.

6. What is Multi-Version Control?

Ans: Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) in PostgreSQL is a sophisticated mechanism that enhances database performance by avoiding unnecessary locking. It allows multiple users to access the database simultaneously without delay, even when other transactions are in progress. MVCC achieves this by maintaining different versions of data, ensuring smooth and efficient database operations.

7. What are the indices?

Ans: PostgreSQL supports various index types to optimize query performance, including:

  • B-tree: Default index type, suitable for a wide range of queries.
  • Hash: Effective for equality comparisons.
  • GiST (Generalized Search Tree): For indexing complex data types like geometric and text data.
  • SP-GiST: For partitioned search trees.
  • BRIN (Block Range Indexes): Efficient for large tables with physically sorted data.
  • GIN (Generalized Inverted Index): Ideal for indexing array and composite values.

8. What are tokens?

Ans: Tokens in PostgreSQL are fundamental components of source code, comprising various elements like identifiers, keywords, special character symbols, and literals. They play a crucial role in the interpretation and execution of SQL commands and scripts in PostgreSQL.

9. What is table partitioning?

Ans: Table partitioning in PostgreSQL involves dividing a large table into smaller, more manageable partitions. This technique enhances performance and manageability for large datasets. PostgreSQL supports range and list partitioning, implemented through table inheritance. Each partition is treated as a child table under the main parent table.

10. How can we start and stop a database server on PostgreSQL? And how can we check whether PostgreSQL is up and running?

Ans

To start the PostgreSQL server, typically, you use commands like:

  • usr/local/etc/rc.d/010.pgsql.sh start
  • usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql start

To stop the server, you use:

  • usr/local/etc/rc.d/010.pgsql.sh stop
  • usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql stop

To check the server's status, use:

  • usr/local/etc/rc.d/010.pgsql.sh status
  • usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql status

These commands facilitate the management of the PostgreSQL server, ensuring it's properly initialized for database operations.

11. How is pgadmin used in PostgreSQL?

Ans: pgAdmin is a prominent graphical administration tool in PostgreSQL, offering a user-friendly interface for database management tasks. Available under an open-source Artistic License, it provides functionalities for database creation, maintenance, and monitoring. pgAdmin III, the latest version, is particularly noted for its advanced features and ease of use.

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12. Compare PostgreSQL with MySQL.

Ans: PostgreSQL and MySQL cater to different database needs. PostgreSQL is recognized for its rich feature set, standards compliance, and community-driven open-source licensing. In contrast, MySQL, owned by Oracle, is known for its simplicity and popularity among web developers. Users should evaluate both databases based on their specific requirements, considering factors like licensing, feature sets, and performance.

13. How can we change the column data type in PostgreSQL?

Ans: In PostgreSQL, you can change a column's data type using the ALTER TABLE command. For example:

sql

  • Copy code
  • ALTER TABLE table_name
  • ALTER COLUMN column_name TYPE new_data_type;

This command allows for flexibility in database schema design, enabling adjustments to data types as requirements evolve.

14. How are statistics updated within Postgresql?

Ans: PostgreSQL utilizes a process called 'vacuuming' to update statistics. The VACUUM ANALYZE command is used for this purpose. This operation helps PostgreSQL optimize query planning and execution by refreshing the database's understanding of data distributions.

15. What is the enable-debug command in PostgreSQL?

Ans: The enable-debug command in PostgreSQL is used for compiling applications and libraries with debug symbols. While this increases the size of the binary files and may impact performance, it provides valuable insights for developers to identify and fix bugs and other issues in the code.

16. Which option can be used in PostgreSQL to view the affected rows in the earlier parts of the transaction?

Ans: In PostgreSQL, transaction isolation levels are used to manage how transactions interact with each other. These levels are designed to prevent phenomena like non-repeatable reads, phantom reads, and dirty reads, ensuring data consistency and integrity during concurrent transactions.

17. Briefly describe the functions of Postgresql.

Ans: PostgreSQL supports a wide range of functions, which can be written in various languages including PL/pgSQL (PostgreSQL's native procedural language), as well as scripting languages like Perl, Python, and PHP. Additionally, PL/R, a statistical language, can be used for more complex data analysis tasks. Functions are essential for executing custom logic on the server.

18. What are the different improvements in the relational data model through PostgreSQL?

Ans: PostgreSQL has significantly enhanced the relational data model by introducing features like array support, allowing for complex data storage, function-based query capabilities, table inheritance for an object-oriented approach, and extensibility for custom data types and functions.

19. What kind of database administration tools do you use in Postgresql?

Ans: Commonly used database administration tools for PostgreSQL include pgAdmin for graphical management, psql for command-line interactions, and phpPgAdmin for web-based administration. Each tool offers unique features catering to different aspects of database management.

20. What is Ctid?

Ans: In PostgreSQL, CTID is a field in every table that uniquely identifies each physical row within that table based on its block and offset positions. CTIDs are crucial for indexing and locating tuples but should not be used as long-term identifiers as they change upon row updates.

21. Explain about write-ahead logging.

Ans: Write-ahead logging (WAL) in PostgreSQL is a fundamental technique for ensuring data integrity. It involves recording changes in a transaction log before they are actually made to the database. This approach helps in recovering the database to a consistent state after a crash, ensuring data is not lost or corrupted.

22. When should PostgreSQL be avoided?

Ans: PostgreSQL may not be the optimal choice in scenarios where the highest speed for read operations is the primary requirement, due to its focus on extensibility and compatibility. In simple database configurations or read-heavy environments, MySQL might be more practical. Also, while PostgreSQL supports replication, its implementation can be complex, especially for users with limited database administration experience.

23. What do you mean by Full-Text search in PostgreSQL?

Ans: Full-text search in PostgreSQL refers to the ability to search text data for matching strings of words, which is particularly useful in large databases. Although PostgreSQL's full-text search capabilities are not as advanced as dedicated search engines like Elasticsearch or SOLR, they are robust and integrated into the database, facilitating efficient text-based queries.

24. What are BRIN indices?

Ans: BRIN (Block Range INdexes) in PostgreSQL allow for efficient storage and querying of large datasets by summarizing key information about data blocks. They store minimum and maximum values for a column in each data block, enabling quick filtering without scanning entire blocks.

25. What is a Parallel Query?

Ans: Parallel query is a feature in PostgreSQL where the database engine distributes the execution of a query across multiple CPU cores. This parallelization significantly speeds up the response time for complex queries on large datasets.

26. What are GiST indexes in PostgreSQL?

Ans: GiST (Generalized Search Tree) indexes in PostgreSQL are flexible and extensible, supporting various data types and search operations. They are particularly useful for indexing complex data types and are integral to implementing custom search algorithms.

27. What is the Atomicity property's function in PostgreSQL?

Ans. In PostgreSQL, the Atomicity property ensures that within a single transaction, all operations either complete successfully as a unit or none at all. This guarantees data integrity by avoiding partial updates.

28. Does Postgresql be executed on Cloud?

Ans. Yes, PostgreSQL can operate in cloud environments. Its adaptability to virtual containers and portability make it a suitable choice for various cloud hosting platforms, including those offered by GoGrid, Heroku, and Joyent.

29. How can we perform queries through multiple databases?

Ans: Direct querying across multiple databases in PostgreSQL is not straightforward due to database-specific system catalogs. However, the 'contrib/dblink' extension enables cross-database queries through function calls. Alternatively, managing concurrent connections to multiple databases and combining results client-side is another approach.

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30. Can we create a shared storage PostgreSQL server cluster?

Ans: Shared storage clustering, such as using SCSI, SAN, or iSCSI volumes, is not supported in PostgreSQL. It currently only supports clustering through replication methods, not shared storage setups like RAC-style clustering.

31. Describe the various advantages of PostgreSQL.

Ans: PostgreSQL offers numerous advantages, including being an open-source DBMS, supporting a range of indexing techniques, offering full-text search capabilities, robust community support, various replication methods, scalability, and a host of other advanced features.

32. What is meant by the Partitioned table in PostgreSQL?

Ans: In PostgreSQL, a partitioned table is a type of table that is divided into smaller, manageable parts known as partitions. This is especially useful for handling large tables by splitting them for better performance and manageability.

33. Define the purpose of pgAdmin in the PostgreSQL server.

Ans: PgAdmin serves as a comprehensive data administration and development tool in PostgreSQL, facilitating database management, monitoring, development, and maintenance tasks across PostgreSQL and EDB Advanced Server databases.

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34. Name the process of dividing a large table into smaller sizes in PostgreSQL.

Ans: This process is referred to as "table partitioning" in PostgreSQL, which is a strategy for dividing a large table into smaller, more manageable segments for improved performance and organization.

35. How to avoid needless database locking in PostgreSQL?

Ans: To prevent unnecessary locking in PostgreSQL databases, employing Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) is an effective strategy. MVCC allows for handling transactions without excessive locking, ensuring database efficiency.

36. What is meant by PL/Python?

Ans: PL/Python is a procedural language supported by PostgreSQL. It allows users to write PostgreSQL functions using the Python programming language, integrating Python's capabilities within the database environment.

37. Define the process of deleting a database in PostgreSQL.

Ans: To delete a database in PostgreSQL, you can use the SQL command 'DROP DATABASE'. Alternatively, the command-line utility 'dropdb' can also be used for this purpose.

38. What we can find in the Schema?

Ans: A schema in PostgreSQL is a collection that can include a variety of database objects like tables, views, indexes, sequences, data types, operators, and functions, organizing them in a structured way.

39. Define the methods that PostgreSQL provides to build a new database.

Ans: PostgreSQL allows for the creation of a new database through the SQL command 'CREATE DATABASE'. Additionally, the command-line utility 'createdb' is also available for this purpose.

40. Name the different types of operators in PostgreSQL.

Ans: PostgreSQL supports various types of operators, including arithmetic operators, logical operators, comparison operators, and bitwise operators, each serving different functions in data manipulation.

41. What is another name for database callback functions? What is their purpose in PostgreSQL?

Ans: In PostgreSQL, database callback functions are commonly known as Triggers. They automatically execute or are invoked in response to specific database events.

42. For what do we use indexes in PostgreSQL?

Ans: Indexes in PostgreSQL are used to enhance data retrieval speed. They optimize the database's performance by allowing quicker data access.

43. Define the use of the Cluster Index.

Ans: A Cluster Index in PostgreSQL organizes the data rows in a table based on their key values. It aligns the physical order of the rows in the table with their index order, improving data access efficiency.

44. Define the benefits of specifying data types in columns when you create a table.

Ans: Specifying data types in columns when creating a table in PostgreSQL ensures data integrity and consistency. It also improves performance and ensures proper validation of the data.

45. Explain how to update statistics in PostgreSQL.

Ans: To update database statistics in PostgreSQL, the 'VACUUM' command is used. This process is vital for maintaining database efficiency and optimizing query performance.

46. Define the method to remove complete data from an existing table.

Ans: To remove all data from an existing table in PostgreSQL, the 'TRUNCATE TABLE' command is used. This command efficiently deletes all rows in a table.

47. Name the various properties of a transaction in PostgreSQL and their Acronym.

Ans: The key properties of a transaction in PostgreSQL are Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability, collectively known as the ACID properties. These properties ensure reliable and stable transaction processing.

48. What is the use of the CTIDs field?

Ans: The CTIDs field in PostgreSQL is used for locating specific physical rows within a table, based on their block and offset positions. This field is crucial for internal row management.

49. Name the commands to control transactions in PostgreSQL.

Ans: Key commands for transaction control in PostgreSQL include 'BEGIN' to start a transaction, 'COMMIT' to save changes, 'ROLLBACK' to undo changes, and 'TRANSACTION' for transaction management.

50. Distinguish between SQL and PostgreSQL?

Ans: PostgreSQL is an advanced version of SQL. Differences include PostgreSQL's inability to update views like SQL, no need for DLLs to view code activity, lack of computed columns, and support for dynamic actions which SQL lacks.

51. Define the security measures in Postgre

Ans: PostgreSQL employs SSL connections to encrypt data between client and server, enhancing security and protecting data integrity during transmission.

52. Explain the function of the Atomicity property in the PostgreSQL database.

Ans: The Atomicity property in PostgreSQL ensures that all operations within a transaction are fully completed, providing a guarantee against partial updates and maintaining data integrity.

53. Define Base Directory in PostgreSQL.

Ans: The base directory in PostgreSQL (data_dir/base) is where the database stores user-inserted data. It includes sub-directories for each database within the cluster, managing data storage.

54. Define non-clustered Index in PostgreSQL.

Ans: A non-clustered index in PostgreSQL is an index where the physical order of the rows does not match the index's order, allowing for more flexible data organization.

55. What is meant by Reserved Words in PostgreSQL?

Ans: Reserved words in PostgreSQL are specific SQL keywords that have special meanings during query processing. These words cannot be used as identifiers like table names, column names, or other database objects.

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56. What do you mean by Tablespace in PostgreSQL?

Ans: In PostgreSQL, a tablespace refers to a specific location on the disk where data files, including tables and indices, are stored. It allows for the organization and management of database files.

57. Define Sequence in PostgreSQL?

Ans: A Sequence in PostgreSQL is a database object used to generate unique numerical identifiers, often used for creating unique keys for table rows and supporting artificial primary key generation.

58. What is an Inverted File in PostgreSQL?

Ans: An inverted file in PostgreSQL is an index structure used for mapping content to its location within a set or document in the database, facilitating efficient data retrieval.

59. What are the drawbacks of using the DROP TABLE command in PostgreSQL?

Ans: The major drawback of the 'DROP TABLE' command in PostgreSQL is that it completely removes the table and its data from the database, necessitating recreation if needed again.

60. Define Aggregate Function in PostgreSQL.

Ans: Aggregate functions in PostgreSQL process multiple input rows to return a single value. Common examples include 'avg', 'count', 'min', 'max', and 'sum', used for various statistical and analytical purposes.

61. What tool is helpful for PostgreSQL?

Ans: Ora2Pg is a valuable tool for migrating data from Oracle to PostgreSQL, facilitating schema compatibility and efficient data transfer.

62. What is the way to store Binary Data in PostgreSQL?

Ans: PostgreSQL offers two ways to store binary data: using the 'bytea' data type or large object features, catering to different storage requirements.

63. Why is PostgreSQL most useful for Data engineering?

Ans: PostgreSQL is ideal for data engineering due to its comprehensive SQL syntax support, advanced data structures like JSON, ability to run parallel queries, and other features essential for handling complex data tasks.

64. Define Blob Storage in PostgreSQL.

Ans: Blob Storage in PostgreSQL refers to the storage of binary large objects, a method used for storing large amounts of binary data like images or documents efficiently.

65. Which tools are used for PostgreSQL?

Ans: pgAdmin is the most useful GUI tool for PostgreSQL, which helps to communicate with PostgreSQL. Also, it is an open-source administration and development platform. Further, there are multiple tools for PostgreSQL, such as DBeaver, Navicat, OmniDB, TablePlus, etc.

66. Which index is best in PostgreSQL?

Ans: PgAdmin is a prominent GUI tool for PostgreSQL, offering extensive features for database management and development. Other tools include DBeaver, Navicat, OmniDB, and TablePlus.

67. How many columns can PostgreSQL have?

Ans: The B-tree index is commonly used in PostgreSQL due to its versatility and efficiency in handling range scans and value searches across various data types.

68. Who should learn PostgreSQL?

Ans: PostgreSQL supports up to 1600 columns per table, although the exact number can vary depending on the column types used.

69. How many threads in PostgreSQL?

Ans: PostgreSQL operates on a process-based model rather than using threads, with each connection handled by a separate server process.

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