The connection class

class connection

Handles the connection to a PostgreSQL database instance. It encapsulates a database session.

Connections are created using the factory function connect().

Connections are thread safe and can be shared among many threads. See Thread and process safety for details.

cursor(name=None, cursor_factory=None, scrollable=None, withhold=False)

Return a new cursor object using the connection.

If name is specified, the returned cursor will be a server side cursor (also known as named cursor). Otherwise it will be a regular client side cursor. By default a named cursor is declared without SCROLL option and WITHOUT HOLD: set the argument or property scrollable to True/False and or withhold to True to change the declaration.

The name can be a string not valid as a PostgreSQL identifier: for example it may start with a digit and contain non-alphanumeric characters and quotes.

Changed in version 2.4: previously only valid PostgreSQL identifiers were accepted as cursor name.


It is unsafe to expose the name to an untrusted source, for instance you shouldn’t allow name to be read from a HTML form. Consider it as part of the query, not as a query parameter.

The cursor_factory argument can be used to create non-standard cursors. The class returned must be a subclass of psycopg2.extensions.cursor. See Connection and cursor factories for details. A default factory for the connection can also be specified using the cursor_factory attribute.

Changed in version 2.4.3: added the withhold argument.

Changed in version 2.5: added the scrollable argument.

DB API extension

All the function arguments are Psycopg extensions to the DB API 2.0.


Commit any pending transaction to the database.

By default, Psycopg opens a transaction before executing the first command: if commit() is not called, the effect of any data manipulation will be lost.

The connection can be also set in “autocommit” mode: no transaction is automatically open, commands have immediate effect. See Transactions control for details.

Changed in version 2.5: if the connection is used in a with statement, the method is automatically called if no exception is raised in the with block.


Roll back to the start of any pending transaction. Closing a connection without committing the changes first will cause an implicit rollback to be performed.

Changed in version 2.5: if the connection is used in a with statement, the method is automatically called if an exception is raised in the with block.


Close the connection now (rather than whenever del is executed). The connection will be unusable from this point forward; an InterfaceError will be raised if any operation is attempted with the connection. The same applies to all cursor objects trying to use the connection. Note that closing a connection without committing the changes first will cause any pending change to be discarded as if a ROLLBACK was performed (unless a different isolation level has been selected: see set_isolation_level()).

Changed in version 2.2: previously an explicit ROLLBACK was issued by Psycopg on close(). The command could have been sent to the backend at an inappropriate time, so Psycopg currently relies on the backend to implicitly discard uncommitted changes. Some middleware are known to behave incorrectly though when the connection is closed during a transaction (when status is STATUS_IN_TRANSACTION), e.g. PgBouncer reports an unclean server and discards the connection. To avoid this problem you can ensure to terminate the transaction with a commit()/rollback() before closing.

Exceptions as connection class attributes

The connection also exposes as attributes the same exceptions available in the psycopg2 module. See Exceptions.

Two-phase commit support methods

New in version 2.3.

See also

Two-Phase Commit protocol support for an introductory explanation of these methods.

Note that PostgreSQL supports two-phase commit since release 8.1: these methods raise NotSupportedError if used with an older version server.

xid(format_id, gtrid, bqual)

Returns a Xid instance to be passed to the tpc_*() methods of this connection. The argument types and constraints are explained in Two-Phase Commit protocol support.

The values passed to the method will be available on the returned object as the members format_id, gtrid, bqual. The object also allows accessing to these members and unpacking as a 3-items tuple.


Begins a TPC transaction with the given transaction ID xid.

This method should be called outside of a transaction (i.e. nothing may have executed since the last commit() or rollback() and connection.status is STATUS_READY).

Furthermore, it is an error to call commit() or rollback() within the TPC transaction: in this case a ProgrammingError is raised.

The xid may be either an object returned by the xid() method or a plain string: the latter allows to create a transaction using the provided string as PostgreSQL transaction id. See also tpc_recover().


Performs the first phase of a transaction started with tpc_begin(). A ProgrammingError is raised if this method is used outside of a TPC transaction.

After calling tpc_prepare(), no statements can be executed until tpc_commit() or tpc_rollback() will be called. The reset() method can be used to restore the status of the connection to STATUS_READY: the transaction will remain prepared in the database and will be possible to finish it with tpc_commit(xid) and tpc_rollback(xid).

See also



When called with no arguments, tpc_commit() commits a TPC transaction previously prepared with tpc_prepare().

If tpc_commit() is called prior to tpc_prepare(), a single phase commit is performed. A transaction manager may choose to do this if only a single resource is participating in the global transaction.

When called with a transaction ID xid, the database commits the given transaction. If an invalid transaction ID is provided, a ProgrammingError will be raised. This form should be called outside of a transaction, and is intended for use in recovery.

On return, the TPC transaction is ended.

See also

the COMMIT PREPARED PostgreSQL command.


When called with no arguments, tpc_rollback() rolls back a TPC transaction. It may be called before or after tpc_prepare().

When called with a transaction ID xid, it rolls back the given transaction. If an invalid transaction ID is provided, a ProgrammingError is raised. This form should be called outside of a transaction, and is intended for use in recovery.

On return, the TPC transaction is ended.

See also

the ROLLBACK PREPARED PostgreSQL command.


Returns a list of Xid representing pending transactions, suitable for use with tpc_commit() or tpc_rollback().

If a transaction was not initiated by Psycopg, the returned Xids will have attributes format_id and bqual set to None and the gtrid set to the PostgreSQL transaction ID: such Xids are still usable for recovery. Psycopg uses the same algorithm of the PostgreSQL JDBC driver to encode a XA triple in a string, so transactions initiated by a program using such driver should be unpacked correctly.

Xids returned by tpc_recover() also have extra attributes prepared, owner, database populated with the values read from the server.

See also

the pg_prepared_xacts system view.

DB API extension

The above methods are the only ones defined by the DB API 2.0 protocol. The Psycopg connection objects exports the following additional methods and attributes.


Read-only integer attribute: 0 if the connection is open, nonzero if it is closed or broken.


Cancel the current database operation.

The method interrupts the processing of the current operation. If no query is being executed, it does nothing. You can call this function from a different thread than the one currently executing a database operation, for instance if you want to cancel a long running query if a button is pushed in the UI. Interrupting query execution will cause the cancelled method to raise a QueryCanceledError. Note that the termination of the query is not guaranteed to succeed: see the documentation for PQcancel().

New in version 2.3.


Reset the connection to the default.

The method rolls back an eventual pending transaction and executes the PostgreSQL RESET and SET SESSION AUTHORIZATION to revert the session to the default values. A two-phase commit transaction prepared using tpc_prepare() will remain in the database available for recover.

New in version 2.0.12.


Read-only string containing the connection string used by the connection.

set_session(isolation_level=None, readonly=None, deferrable=None, autocommit=None)

Set one or more parameters for the next transactions or statements in the current session.

  • isolation_level – set the isolation level for the next transactions/statements. The value can be one of the literal values READ UNCOMMITTED, READ COMMITTED, REPEATABLE READ, SERIALIZABLE or the equivalent constant defined in the extensions module.
  • readonly – if True, set the connection to read only; read/write if False.
  • deferrable – if True, set the connection to deferrable; non deferrable if False. Only available from PostgreSQL 9.1.
  • autocommit – switch the connection to autocommit mode: not a PostgreSQL session setting but an alias for setting the autocommit attribute.

Arguments set to None (the default for all) will not be changed. The parameters isolation_level, readonly and deferrable also accept the string DEFAULT as a value: the effect is to reset the parameter to the server default. Defaults are defined by the server configuration: see values for default_transaction_isolation, default_transaction_read_only, default_transaction_deferrable.

The function must be invoked with no transaction in progress.

See also

SET TRANSACTION for further details about the behaviour of the transaction parameters in the server.

New in version 2.4.2.

Changed in version 2.7: Before this version, the function would have set default_transaction_* attribute in the current session; this implementation has the problem of not playing well with external connection pooling working at transaction level and not resetting the state of the session: changing the default transaction would pollute the connections in the pool and create problems to other applications using the same pool.

Starting from 2.7, if the connection is not autocommit, the transaction characteristics are issued together with BEGIN and will leave the default_transaction_* settings untouched. For example:


will not change default_transaction_read_only, but following transaction will start with a BEGIN READ ONLY. Conversely, using:

conn.set_session(readonly=True, autocommit=True)

will set default_transaction_read_only to on and rely on the server to apply the read only state to whatever transaction, implicit or explicit, is executed in the connection.


Read/write attribute: if True, no transaction is handled by the driver and every statement sent to the backend has immediate effect; if False a new transaction is started at the first command execution: the methods commit() or rollback() must be manually invoked to terminate the transaction.

The autocommit mode is useful to execute commands requiring to be run outside a transaction, such as CREATE DATABASE or VACUUM.

The default is False (manual commit) as per DBAPI specification.


By default, any query execution, including a simple SELECT will start a transaction: for long-running programs, if no further action is taken, the session will remain “idle in transaction”, an undesirable condition for several reasons (locks are held by the session, tables bloat...). For long lived scripts, either ensure to terminate a transaction as soon as possible or use an autocommit connection.

New in version 2.4.2.


Return or set the transaction isolation level for the current session. The value is one of the Isolation level constants defined in the psycopg2.extensions module. On set it is also possible to use one of the literal values READ UNCOMMITTED, READ COMMITTED, REPEATABLE READ, SERIALIZABLE, DEFAULT.

Changed in version 2.7: the property is writable.

Changed in version 2.7: the default value for isolation_level is ISOLATION_LEVEL_DEFAULT; previously the property would have queried the server and returned the real value applied. To know this value you can run a query such as show transaction_isolation. Usually the default value is READ COMMITTED, but this may be changed in the server configuration.

This value is now entirely separate from the autocommit property: in previous version, if autocommit was set to True this property would have returned ISOLATION_LEVEL_AUTOCOMMIT; it will now return the server isolation level.


Return or set the read-only status for the current session. Available values are True (new transactions will be in read-only mode), False (new transactions will be writable), None (use the default configured for the server by default_transaction_read_only).

New in version 2.7.


Return or set the deferrable status for the current session. Available values are True (new transactions will be in deferrable mode), False (new transactions will be in non deferrable mode), None (use the default configured for the server by default_transaction_deferrable).

New in version 2.7.



This is a legacy method mixing isolation_level and autocommit. Using the respective properties is a better option.

Set the transaction isolation level for the current session. The level defines the different phenomena that can happen in the database between concurrent transactions.

The value set is an integer: symbolic constants are defined in the module psycopg2.extensions: see Isolation level constants for the available values.

The default level is ISOLATION_LEVEL_DEFAULT: at this level a transaction is automatically started the first time a database command is executed. If you want an autocommit mode, switch to ISOLATION_LEVEL_AUTOCOMMIT before executing any command:

>>> conn.set_isolation_level(psycopg2.extensions.ISOLATION_LEVEL_AUTOCOMMIT)

See also Transactions control.


Read or set the client encoding for the current session. The default is the encoding defined by the database. It should be one of the characters set supported by PostgreSQL


A list containing all the database messages sent to the client during the session.

>>> cur.execute("CREATE TABLE foo (id serial PRIMARY KEY);")
>>> pprint(conn.notices)
['NOTICE:  CREATE TABLE / PRIMARY KEY will create implicit index "foo_pkey" for table "foo"\n',
 'NOTICE:  CREATE TABLE will create implicit sequence "foo_id_seq" for serial column ""\n']

Changed in version 2.7: The notices attribute is writable: the user may replace it with any Python object exposing an append() method. If appending raises an exception the notice is silently dropped.

To avoid a leak in case excessive notices are generated, only the last 50 messages are kept. This check is only in place if the notices attribute is a list: if any other object is used it will be up to the user to guard from leakage.

You can configure what messages to receive using PostgreSQL logging configuration parameters such as log_statement, client_min_messages, log_min_duration_statement etc.


List of Notify objects containing asynchronous notifications received by the session.

For other details see Asynchronous notifications.

Changed in version 2.3: Notifications are instances of the Notify object. Previously the list was composed by 2 items tuples (pid,channel) and the payload was not accessible. To keep backward compatibility, Notify objects can still be accessed as 2 items tuples.

Changed in version 2.7: The notifies attribute is writable: the user may replace it with any Python object exposing an append() method. If appending raises an exception the notification is silently dropped.


The default cursor factory used by cursor() if the parameter is not specified.

New in version 2.5.


Returns the process ID (PID) of the backend server process handling this connection.

Note that the PID belongs to a process executing on the database server host, not the local host!

See also

libpq docs for PQbackendPID() for details.

New in version 2.0.8.


Look up a current parameter setting of the server.

Potential values for parameter are: server_version, server_encoding, client_encoding, is_superuser, session_authorization, DateStyle, TimeZone, integer_datetimes, and standard_conforming_strings.

If server did not report requested parameter, return None.

See also

libpq docs for PQparameterStatus() for details.

New in version 2.0.12.


Get the effective dsn parameters for the connection as a dictionary.

The password parameter is removed from the result.


>>> conn.get_dsn_parameters()
{'dbname': 'test', 'user': 'postgres', 'port': '5432', 'sslmode': 'prefer'}

Requires libpq >= 9.3.

See also

libpq docs for PQconninfo() for details.

New in version 2.7.


Return the current session transaction status as an integer. Symbolic constants for the values are defined in the module psycopg2.extensions: see Transaction status constants for the available values.

See also

libpq docs for PQtransactionStatus() for details.


A read-only integer representing frontend/backend protocol being used. Currently Psycopg supports only protocol 3, which allows connection to PostgreSQL server from version 7.4. Psycopg versions previous than 2.3 support both protocols 2 and 3.

See also

libpq docs for PQprotocolVersion() for details.

New in version 2.0.12.


A read-only integer representing the backend version.

The number is formed by converting the major, minor, and revision numbers into two-decimal-digit numbers and appending them together. For example, version 8.1.5 will be returned as 80105.

See also

libpq docs for PQserverVersion() for details.

New in version 2.0.12.


A read-only integer representing the status of the connection. Symbolic constants for the values are defined in the module psycopg2.extensions: see Connection status constants for the available values.

The status is undefined for closed connectons.

lobject([oid[, mode[, new_oid[, new_file[, lobject_factory]]]]])

Return a new database large object as a lobject instance.

See Access to PostgreSQL large objects for an overview.

  • oid – The OID of the object to read or write. 0 to create a new large object and and have its OID assigned automatically.
  • mode – Access mode to the object, see below.
  • new_oid – Create a new object using the specified OID. The function raises OperationalError if the OID is already in use. Default is 0, meaning assign a new one automatically.
  • new_file – The name of a file to be imported in the the database (using the lo_import() function)
  • lobject_factory – Subclass of lobject to be instantiated.

Available values for mode are:

mode meaning
r Open for read only
w Open for write only
rw Open for read/write
n Don’t open the file
b Don’t decode read data (return data as str in Python 2 or bytes in Python 3)
t Decode read data according to connection.encoding (return data as unicode in Python 2 or str in Python 3)

b and t can be specified together with a read/write mode. If neither b nor t is specified, the default is b in Python 2 and t in Python 3.

New in version 2.0.8.

Changed in version 2.4: added b and t mode and unicode support.

Methods related to asynchronous support.

New in version 2.2.0.


Read only attribute: 1 if the connection is asynchronous, 0 otherwise.

Changed in version 2.7: added the async_ alias for Python versions where async is a keyword.


Used during an asynchronous connection attempt, or when a cursor is executing a query on an asynchronous connection, make communication proceed if it wouldn’t block.

Return one of the constants defined in Poll constants. If it returns POLL_OK then the connection has been established or the query results are available on the client. Otherwise wait until the file descriptor returned by fileno() is ready to read or to write, as explained in Asynchronous support. poll() should be also used by the function installed by set_wait_callback() as explained in Support for coroutine libraries.

poll() is also used to receive asynchronous notifications from the database: see Asynchronous notifications from further details.


Return the file descriptor underlying the connection: useful to read its status during asynchronous communication.


Return True if the connection is executing an asynchronous operation.