Create and use read-only replicas

PostgreSQL read-only replicas provide a great way to reduce the load on the primary server by enabling read-only queries to be performed against the replica. It’s also a good way to optimise query response time across different geographical locations since, with Aiven, the replica can be placed in different regions or even different cloud providers.

Create a replica

To set up a remote replica:

  1. Log in to the Aiven web console.

  2. Select the PostgreSQL instance for which you want to create a remote replica.

  3. In the Overview tab, click Create read replica.

Create read replica button
  1. Enter a name for the remote replica and select the cloud provider, region, and Aiven for PostgreSQL service plan that you want to use, then click Create

The read-only replica is created and added to the list of services in your project. The Overview page of the replica indicates the name of the primary service for the replica.

Image of the name of the primary service in the read only replica overview tab

Read-only replicas can be manually promoted to become the master database if the need arises. For more complex high availability and failover scenarios check the related documentation.

Use a replica

To use a read only replica:

  1. Log in to the Aiven web console and select your PostgreSQL service.

  2. In the Overview page, copy the Replica URI an use it to connect via psql:


Identify replica status

To check whether you are connected to a primary or replica node, run the following command within a psql terminal already connected to a database:

SELECT * FROM pg_is_in_recovery();

If the above command returns TRUE if you are connected to the replica, and FALSE if you are connected to the primary server.


Aiven for PostgreSQL uses asynchronous replication and so a small lag is expected. When running an INSERT operation on the primary node, a minimal delay (usually less than a second) can be expected for the change to be propagated to the replica and to be visible there.