PgBouncer Setup

In under 5 minutes

Get Started

Here’s the flow:

Web app -> PgBouncer -> Postgres

You can install PgBouncer on the same server as Postgres or a separate server. For Amazon RDS, you won’t have shell access to the database server, so you’ll need to spin up another EC2 instance to run PgBouncer.

Web app -> EC2 running PgBouncer -> RDS instance

Start by launching a new instance of the latest LTS version of Ubuntu Server. Once the server is ready, ssh in. For the latest version of PgBouncer, we’ll use the official Postgres APT repository.

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -cs)-pgdg main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list'
wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pgbouncer

Configure PgBouncer

Edit /etc/pgbouncer/pgbouncer.ini. The important settings are:

YOUR-DBNAME = host=YOUR-HOST port=5432 dbname=YOUR-DBNAME

listen_addr = *
listen_port = 6432
auth_type = md5
auth_file = /etc/pgbouncer/userlist.txt
pool_mode = transaction
server_reset_query =

View all settings

Create /etc/pgbouncer/userlist.txt with:


Use the same credentials as your database server.

Start the Service

sudo service pgbouncer start

Then reboot the server and confirm the process comes back up.


psql -h -p 6432 -d YOUR-DBNAME -U USERNAME1

Increase File Limits

If you need more than 1,000 connections to PgBouncer, you’ll need to increase file limits.

Append to /etc/default/pgbouncer:

ulimit -n 16384

Restart the service with:

sudo service pgbouncer restart

To confirm it worked, find the process ID and run:

cat /proc/<pid>/limits

Max open files should reflect the value above.

App Changes

Be sure to disable prepared statements, as they will not work with PgBouncer in transaction mode.

Statement Timeouts

To use a statement timeout, run:

ALTER ROLE USERNAME1 SET statement_timeout = 5000;


You’ve successfully set up PgBouncer.

Published March 31, 2015

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