If you spend any amount of time working with Postgres, it’s likely that at some point you’re going to wonder why it isn’t using an index that yo

Why isn’t Postgres using my index?

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2021-09-28 12:30:07

If you spend any amount of time working with Postgres, it’s likely that at some point you’re going to wonder why it isn’t using an index that you think it should be.

Unlike some databases, you can’t force PostgreSQL to use a specific index, but there are several things you can do to work out what’s going on.

If you’re somewhat new to Postgres, I’m hoping going through these will be interesting, as well as being useful next time you see an issue like this.

There are two main categories of reason that result in Postgres not using an index. Either it can’t use the index, or it doesn’t think using the index will be faster.

Sadly, we can’t tell from a single query plan which case we’re seeing, but through some investigating via multiple query plans, we can work out what’s going on.

Since the reasons that Postgres can’t use an index are more straightforward, and it can be easy to rule out quickly too, I prefer to check that first.

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