In Microsoft SQL Server, ALTER DATABASE CURRENT SET RECOVERY SIMPLE WITH NO_WAIT; will set the recovery mode for a database to simple, so the transaction log file space can be re-used.

In Postgres, wal_level is available for that purpose.

  1. Is wal_level's minimal equivalent to SQL Server's RECOVERY SIMPLE?
  2. How to set wal_level in Postgres command? - so far, Google Search tells me that wal_level is set in a configuration file.
  3. Is it possible to set wal_level to minimal for a database? If yes, how?

Thank you.

  • 1
    So what does this "simple" mean? And as documented in the manual wal_level is an instance (aka "cluster") wide setting. It can't be applied to individual databases.
    – user1822
    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:04
  • @a_horse_with_no_name, "simple" means reusing transaction log file space, disabling the point in time recovery. The most recent restore point is either complete backup or the latest differential backup. Can the wal_level be set in a Postgres command?
    – hunterex
    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:12
  • In Postgres you can only do point-in-time recovery if you enable/implement WAL archiving. Setting the correct wal_level is a prerequisite for that, but it will not activate WAL archiving. If I "minimal" only means that PITR is disabled, then this is the default mode in Postgres and you don't really need to change anything.
    – user1822
    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:29
  • then this is the default mode - default was changed in postgresql 10: postgresql.org/message-id/…
    – Melkij
    Jan 7, 2021 at 13:51
  • @Melkij: the wal_level default might have changed, but it you still need to take extra steps to implement PITR
    – user1822
    Jan 7, 2021 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


PostgreSQL works quite differently. Transaction log files will be removed with all wal_levels (as soon as the file is full and archived and a checkpoint has completed).

If you want to live without WAL archives, and all you need is crash recovery, you can set wal_level to minimal.

  • how to set wal_level to minimal in a Postgres command?
    – hunterex
    Jan 7, 2021 at 12:18
  • With ALTER SYSTEM. It needs a restart. Jan 7, 2021 at 12:20

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