I am trying to configure replication in Postgres, and running into an issue where the server is ignoring the setting for wal_level in the configuration file.

I have set in the config file:

wal_level = hot_standby
max_wal_senders = 5

However when I went to start Postgres I ran into the error:

WAL streaming (max_wal_senders > 0) requires wal_level "archive", "hot_standby", or "logical"

If I set max_wal_senders = 0, the server starts fine, but running "show all" in psql shows that wal_level = minimal.

 -bash-4.2$ grep wal_level postgresql.conf
wal_level = hot_standby                 # minimal, archive, hot_standby, or logical

-bash-4.2$ psql -c 'show "wal_level";'

Any idea why it would be ignoring the configuration value?

Nothing of note in the Postgres error log:

Oct 13 11:03:53 postgres[12324]: [3-1] LOG:  database system was shut down at 2016-10-13 10:55:35 UTC
Oct 13 11:03:53 postgres[12324]: [4-1] LOG:  MultiXact member wraparound protections are now enabled
Oct 13 11:03:53 postgres[12328]: [3-1] LOG:  autovacuum launcher started
Oct 13 11:03:53 postgres[12321]: [3-1] LOG:  database system is ready to accept connections

Just the one wal_level config line and archive_mode is enabled and configured to rsync archive files to the slave. I've uploaded the config here: http://pastebin.com/Vi3vByc1

I've checked and it's definitely loading the correct config file.

-bash-4.2$ psql -c 'show config_file;'
(1 row)

-bash-4.2$ grep wal_level /data/pgsql/9.5/data/postgresql.conf
wal_level = hot_standby                 # minimal, archive, hot_standby, or logical

1 Answer 1


Take a look at the postgresql.auto.conf file - it's populated if you changed it using alter system. Also, make sure to restart the instance and not just reload it as this kind of change requires restart.

  • 1
    Eventually found it in there alright, although I don't remember ever doing an alter system, thanks.
    – cduffin
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 13:28
  • 5
    @cduffin: rather then using show wal_level you can use select name, setting, sourcefile, sourceline from pg_settings where name = 'wal_level'; then you can see where the property was set
    – user1822
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 10:46
  • in my docker container th file postgresql.auto.conf is in /var/lib/postgresql/data
    – inye
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 17:02

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