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I have been running PostgreSQL on Windows Server 2003 without a hitch and its fast, so to answer my own question it seems fine.

However I am about to launch a new project and am considering using a Linux box instead as stability and performance are crucial. Since PostgreSQL seems to be developed on Linux distributions mostly, maybe it would be better to stick with Linux?

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  • 2
    choosing a platform is a sysadmin function, even if it is performed by a developer.
    – araqnid
    Jan 14, 2011 at 10:56
  • Related: serverfault.com/questions/99068/… Jan 14, 2011 at 11:48
  • Seems to me like pg extensions are packaged for linux before they are for windows. Nov 19, 2013 at 22:26

4 Answers 4

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PostgreSQL will definitely run faster on Linux than on Windows (and I say this as one of the guys who wrote the windows port of it..) It is designed for a Unix style architecture, and implements this same architecture on Windows, which means it does a number of things that Windows isn't designed to do well. It works fine, but it doesn't perform as well.

For example, PostgreSQL uses a process-per-connection model, not threading. Windows is designed to do threading. If your application does lots of connect and disconnects, it will definitely run significantly slower on Windows, for example.

There is also some assumptions around the filesystem which don't exactly favor NTFS.

The one thing you really need to think about - if you are on Windows, most antivirus products will bug out when used with PostgreSQL, because they are not used to this type of workload (such as 1000 different processes reading and writing to the same file through different handles). That means that the strong recommendation is to always uninstall any antivirus if possible (just disabling it or excluding the PostgreSQL processes/files is often not enough). And this is not just for performance reasons, but also stability under load.

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  • Thanks! Nice to have an authorative answer, though in my case sticking to Windows sounds fine: I very few connections and no anti virus (I dislike them too). Performance has been great too: I think Windows caching and IO speed (when you have up to date drivers) helps me there..
    – user55029
    Jan 24, 2011 at 8:19
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    It would be nice to see some real world throughput benchmarks...
    – user55029
    Feb 14, 2011 at 23:22
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    BTW, use of a connection pool will be particularly helpful on Windows due to the greater process creation/destruction costs. Nov 23, 2012 at 10:49
  • I did do side-by-side comparisons of PostgreSQL on Windows versus Linux in the old 8.1 and 8.2 days. For our load Linux was about 50% faster. It's not clear how much of that was just the networking, though, because clients were on a separate box and using the same Java code to test raw network throughput on an open connection ran 30% faster when both sides were Linux than when both sides were Windows. Interestingly, when one side was Linux and one was Windows it was 15% slower than both sides Linux.
    – kgrittn
    Nov 23, 2012 at 16:22
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    Hi Magnus, after 10 years, do you know if this still is true? Feb 21, 2021 at 16:40
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This is hard to answer: As Ken noted, Postgres doesn't make any differences between the OS and it is as stable/unstable in Windows as it is on Linux.

The only real answer to this question is: try it.

Set up a Linux server and a Windows server with the same specs, use the same amount of data on both machines and run your tests.

PS: This has close votes because it may be better asked at serverfault

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  • Is it better on ServerFault? I would have categorised it as a software problem for developers rather than a issue for an systems admin.
    – user55029
    Jan 14, 2011 at 10:17
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    This ain't a software problem, no developer has ever to worry about his SQL: PostgreSQL uses the samen SQL on Linux as it does on Windows. Jan 14, 2011 at 12:29
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It is my understanding that, for the same hardware, you will get better performance on Linux as opposed to Windows. Also, while Postgres does run on windows, it has been running on *nix for much, much longer. YMMV of course depending on your situation.

A really good reference on Postgres performance is "PostgreSQL 9.0 High Performance" (https://www.packtpub.com/postgresql-9-0-high-performance/book). The title is a bit of a misnomer as it covers more than just version 9.0.

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AFAIK Postgres does not discriminate, they don't cripple features on Windows, or anything like that. So there is nothing about Postgres that requires Linux.

You might be better off asking generally about Linux. vs. Windows as a general server platform.

OPINION: But for my money a server always runs Linux. Would never dream of putting mission-critical server software on Windows. Just my 2 cents. End of Opinion.

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  • stability and **performance** are crucial Apr 25, 2014 at 9:21
  • Read the other answers to see why this guess at an answer is incorrect. Please consider deleting the answer.
    – Sam
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:44

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