​The database that powers Heroku Postgres

PostgreSQL​ is an open source, object relational database used by millions of developers and companies worldwide. ​According to Stack Overflow​, it’s the second most popular database among developers.

Developers and companies love PostgreSQL because it scales, it’s easy to query, and it works with many different types of data. At Heroku, we’ve developed deep PostgreSQL expertise. We launched the world’s first database as a service using PostgreSQL back in 2011, and today we manage millions of instances. Our own platform has relied on PostgreSQL since 2007, meaning that when you use Heroku Postgres, you’re taking advantage of everything that we’ve learned about developing with, operating, and tuning PostgreSQL.

New to PostgreSQL? Here are the fundamentals

Relational, JSON, GIS, and more

Like Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL, PostgreSQL is a relational database. That makes it ideal in cases when data needs to be available in different contexts while staying consistent. PostgreSQL goes a step further than most relational databases by natively supporting JSON, offering object inheritance features, and working with a rich extensions ecosystem that makes geographic and other data types available.

Works with almost everything

Thanks to SQL, you can query PostgreSQL data in almost any way you like. Most importantly, SQL means that PostgreSQL works with common tools, frameworks, and infrastructure, including Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Tableau, and more.

Backed by a global community

PostgreSQL is developed by a ​global community​ under an open source license and used by developers worldwide. That means that someone else has almost certainly asked, and answered, any questions you might have. Finding learning resources and help with specific questions is just a search away.

Why use PostgreSQL

With so many data storage options, why should you use PostgreSQL? For over 20 years, the mission of the PostgreSQL community has been to provide an enterprise-class database that’s available to everyone. The result is a supremely queryable data store that prioritizes data integrity, stability, and performance.

Round the clock stability

A data store must earn its place at the heart of your infrastructure. PostgreSQL is built to serve and ingest data around the clock. Upgrades and migrations complete swiftly, while everyday uptime is guaranteed through automatic failover.

SQL compliance

Migrating from other SQL databases is straightforward, thanks to PostgreSQL’s high compliance with SQL standards. It meets 150 out of the ​SQL:2003’s 164 requirements​, with no other database able to meet the full standard.

NoSQL-style data types and query

Working with non-relational data doesn’t mean you have to compromise. PostgreSQL handles JSON, key-value, column store, geographic, and other non-relational data types both natively and through extensions.

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​Extensions ecosystem

The worldwide PostgreSQL developer community provides a vibrant ecosystem of plugins that extend PostgreSQL’s functionality. Extensions offer connections to other database systems, add data types, support novel index types, and more.

Open source

As open source software, there are no unexpected bills or licensing audits with PostgreSQL. And if there is functionality that you’d like to see, you can ​join the development community​ to help see it come to life.

When to use PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL brings so much to the table, you might wonder if you should ever use anything else. There are particular situations, though, where PostgreSQL’s powerful query, operational speed, and stability make it ideally suited.

Operational database

PostgreSQL is unbeatable as the reliable data workhorse at the heart of your software’s infrastructure. It is responsive, scalable, and stable. In addition, creating dev, staging, and backup instances is effortless.

Data warehouse

Its popularity means that PostgreSQL is a standard target for most ETL systems, and a great store for data warehousing. Its performance, query power, and scalability make it ideal for terabytes of data.

Reporting database

The query flexibility of PostgreSQL makes it easier to dive deep into your data. Features, such as Foreign Data Wrappers, also let you query multiple PostgreSQL instances in a single query, bringing data together from across your organization.

Heroku Postgres — a managed PostgreSQL database as a service

Backed by a team of PostgreSQL experts, ​Heroku Postgres​ takes care of everything you need to run PostgreSQL. Get up and running in seconds, then grow with ease.

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Tuned, patched, updated

With Heroku Postgres, every database under our care is performance tuned by our expert operations team. You can rest assured that security patches and version updates are handled on your behalf, leaving you to focus on building your product.

Standards compliance

All Heroku Postgres databases comply with industry standards​. Where you need stricter compliance, Heroku Shield​ delivers PostgreSQL with PCI and HIPAA compliance.

Unique ways to use your data

Only Heroku gives you Heroku Connect​, which syncs data between a Heroku Postgres database and a Salesforce org. Dataclips let you share the results of Heroku Postgres queries as web pages or JSON objects.

See Heroku Postgres in action