[sql] Postgres and Indexes on Foreign Keys and Primary Keys

Does Postgres automatically put indexes on Foreign Keys and Primary Keys? How can I tell? Is there a command that will return all indexes on a table?

This question is related to sql database postgresql foreign-keys

The answer is

If you want to list the indexes of all the tables in your schema(s) from your program, all the information is on hand in the catalog:

     n.nspname  as "Schema"
    ,t.relname  as "Table"
    ,c.relname  as "Index"
          pg_catalog.pg_class c
     join pg_catalog.pg_namespace n on n.oid        = c.relnamespace
     join pg_catalog.pg_index i     on i.indexrelid = c.oid
     join pg_catalog.pg_class t     on i.indrelid   = t.oid
        c.relkind = 'i'
    and n.nspname not in ('pg_catalog', 'pg_toast')
    and pg_catalog.pg_table_is_visible(c.oid)
order by

If you want to delve further (such as columns and ordering), you need to look at pg_catalog.pg_index. Using psql -E [dbname] comes in handy for figuring out how to query the catalog.

I love how this is explained in the article Cool performance features of EclipseLink 2.5

Indexing Foreign Keys

The first feature is auto indexing of foreign keys. Most people incorrectly assume that databases index foreign keys by default. Well, they don't. Primary keys are auto indexed, but foreign keys are not. This means any query based on the foreign key will be doing full table scans. This is any OneToMany, ManyToMany or ElementCollection relationship, as well as many OneToOne relationships, and most queries on any relationship involving joins or object comparisons. This can be a major perform issue, and you should always index your foreign keys fields.

Yes - for primary keys, no - for foreign keys (more in the docs).

\d <table_name>

in "psql" shows a description of a table including all its indexes.

This query will list missing indexes on foreign keys, original source.

Edit: Note that it will not check small tables (less then 9 MB) and some other cases. See final WHERE statement.

-- check for FKs where there is no matching index
-- on the referencing side
-- or a bad index

WITH fk_actions ( code, action ) AS (
    VALUES ( 'a', 'error' ),
        ( 'r', 'restrict' ),
        ( 'c', 'cascade' ),
        ( 'n', 'set null' ),
        ( 'd', 'set default' )
fk_list AS (
    SELECT pg_constraint.oid as fkoid, conrelid, confrelid as parentid,
        conname, relname, nspname,
        fk_actions_update.action as update_action,
        fk_actions_delete.action as delete_action,
        conkey as key_cols
    FROM pg_constraint
        JOIN pg_class ON conrelid = pg_class.oid
        JOIN pg_namespace ON pg_class.relnamespace = pg_namespace.oid
        JOIN fk_actions AS fk_actions_update ON confupdtype = fk_actions_update.code
        JOIN fk_actions AS fk_actions_delete ON confdeltype = fk_actions_delete.code
    WHERE contype = 'f'
fk_attributes AS (
    SELECT fkoid, conrelid, attname, attnum
    FROM fk_list
        JOIN pg_attribute
            ON conrelid = attrelid
            AND attnum = ANY( key_cols )
    ORDER BY fkoid, attnum
fk_cols_list AS (
    SELECT fkoid, array_agg(attname) as cols_list
    FROM fk_attributes
    GROUP BY fkoid
index_list AS (
    SELECT indexrelid as indexid,
        pg_class.relname as indexname,
        indpred is not null as has_predicate,
        pg_get_indexdef(indexrelid) as indexdef
    FROM pg_index
        JOIN pg_class ON indexrelid = pg_class.oid
    WHERE indisvalid
fk_index_match AS (
    SELECT fk_list.*,
        indkey::int[] as indexatts,
        array_length(key_cols, 1) as fk_colcount,
        array_length(indkey,1) as index_colcount,
        round(pg_relation_size(conrelid)/(1024^2)::numeric) as table_mb,
    FROM fk_list
        JOIN fk_cols_list USING (fkoid)
        LEFT OUTER JOIN index_list
            ON conrelid = indrelid
            AND (indkey::int2[])[0:(array_length(key_cols,1) -1)] @> key_cols

fk_perfect_match AS (
    SELECT fkoid
    FROM fk_index_match
    WHERE (index_colcount - 1) <= fk_colcount
        AND NOT has_predicate
        AND indexdef LIKE '%USING btree%'
fk_index_check AS (
    SELECT 'no index' as issue, *, 1 as issue_sort
    FROM fk_index_match
    WHERE indexid IS NULL
    SELECT 'questionable index' as issue, *, 2
    FROM fk_index_match
    WHERE indexid IS NOT NULL
        AND fkoid NOT IN (
            SELECT fkoid
            FROM fk_perfect_match)
parent_table_stats AS (
    SELECT fkoid, tabstats.relname as parent_name,
        (n_tup_ins + n_tup_upd + n_tup_del + n_tup_hot_upd) as parent_writes,
        round(pg_relation_size(parentid)/(1024^2)::numeric) as parent_mb
    FROM pg_stat_user_tables AS tabstats
        JOIN fk_list
            ON relid = parentid
fk_table_stats AS (
    SELECT fkoid,
        (n_tup_ins + n_tup_upd + n_tup_del + n_tup_hot_upd) as writes,
        seq_scan as table_scans
    FROM pg_stat_user_tables AS tabstats
        JOIN fk_list
            ON relid = conrelid
SELECT nspname as schema_name,
    relname as table_name,
    conname as fk_name,
FROM fk_index_check
    JOIN parent_table_stats USING (fkoid)
    JOIN fk_table_stats USING (fkoid)
WHERE table_mb > 9
    AND ( writes > 1000
        OR parent_writes > 1000
        OR parent_mb > 10 )
ORDER BY issue_sort, table_mb DESC, table_name, fk_name;

For a PRIMARY KEY, an index will be created with the following message:

NOTICE: CREATE TABLE / PRIMARY KEY will create implicit index "index" for table "table" 

For a FOREIGN KEY, the constraint will not be created if there is no index on the referenced table.

An index on referencing table is not required (though desired), and therefore will not be implicitly created.

This function, based on the work by Laurenz Albe at https://www.cybertec-postgresql.com/en/index-your-foreign-key/, list all the foreign keys with missing indexes. The size of the table is shown, as for small tables the scanning performance could be superior to the index one.

-- function:    fkeys_missing_indexes
-- purpose:     list all foreing keys in the database without and index in the source table.
-- author:      Laurenz Albe
-- see:         https://www.cybertec-postgresql.com/en/index-your-foreign-key/
create or replace function oftool_fkey_missing_indexes () 
returns table (
  src_table     regclass,
  fk_columns    varchar,
  table_size    varchar,
  fk_constraint name,
  dst_table     regclass
as $$
  -- source table having ta foreign key declaration
  tc.conrelid::regclass as src_table,
  -- ordered list of foreign key columns
  string_agg(ta.attname, ',' order by tx.n) as fk_columns,
  -- source table size
  pg_catalog.pg_size_pretty (
  ) as table_size,
  -- name of the foreign key constraint
  tc.conname as fk_constraint,
  -- name of the target or destination table
  tc.confrelid::regclass as dst_table
from pg_catalog.pg_constraint tc

-- enumerated key column numbers per foreign key
cross join lateral unnest(tc.conkey) with ordinality as tx(attnum, n)

-- name for each key column
join pg_catalog.pg_attribute ta on ta.attnum = tx.attnum and ta.attrelid = tc.conrelid

where not exists (
  -- is there ta matching index for the constraint?
  select 1 from pg_catalog.pg_index i
    i.indrelid = tc.conrelid and 
    -- the first index columns must be the same as the key columns, but order doesn't matter
    (i.indkey::smallint[])[0:cardinality(tc.conkey)-1] @> tc.conkey) and 
    tc.contype = 'f'
  group by 
  order by 
    pg_catalog.pg_relation_size(tc.conrelid) desc;
$$ language sql;

test it this way,

select * from oftool_fkey_missing_indexes();

you'll see a list like this.

fk_columns            |table_size|fk_constraint                     |dst_table        |
id_group              |0 bytes   |fk_customer__group                |im_group         |
id_product            |0 bytes   |fk_cart_item__product             |im_store_product |
id_tax                |0 bytes   |fk_order_tax_resume__tax          |im_tax           |
id_product            |0 bytes   |fk_order_item__product            |im_store_product |
id_tax                |0 bytes   |fk_invoice_tax_resume__tax        |im_tax           |
id_product            |0 bytes   |fk_invoice_item__product          |im_store_product |
id_article,locale_code|0 bytes   |im_article_comment_id_article_fkey|im_article_locale|

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