CHECK Constraint in PostgreSQL

Understanding the CHECK Constraint in PostgreSQL: A Comprehensive Guide


Data integrity matters — a lot. That’s where constraints like CHECK come into the picture. The CHECK constraint allows you to specify conditions that the data in a PostgreSQL table must meet. This ensures that invalid or undesired data doesn’t make its way into your tables. In this tutorial, we will dig deep into the CHECK constraint, its uses, syntax, and how to troubleshoot common errors.

What is a CHECK Constraint?

The CHECK constraint in PostgreSQL allows you to define one or more conditions that the data in a table must satisfy. Each time you insert or update a record, PostgreSQL checks these conditions. If the data fails the check, the operation is aborted, thus maintaining the integrity of your database.


To define a CHECK constraint, you can use the following syntax during table creation:

CREATE TABLE table_name (
    column1 data_type,
    column2 data_type,
    CONSTRAINT constraint_name CHECK (condition),

Or you can use inline syntax for a single column:

CREATE TABLE table_name (
    column1 data_type CHECK (condition),

Example Using the tv_series Table

Let’s say we want to ensure that the seasons column in our tv_series table always has a value greater than 0. We can add a CHECK constraint as follows:

ALTER TABLE public.tv_series
ADD CONSTRAINT seasons_check CHECK (seasons > 0);

Common Errors and Solutions

Error Message:

ERROR: new row for relation "tv_series" violates check constraint "seasons_check"


This error occurs when you try to insert or update a record in the tv_series table with a seasons value less than or equal to 0.


  • Make sure to insert or update the seasons field with a value greater than 0.

Error Message:

ERROR: constraint "seasons_check" for relation "tv_series" already exists


This error happens when you attempt to add a CHECK constraint with a name that already exists on the same table.


  • Choose a different name for the constraint.

Best Practices and Tips

  • Consider the performance implications of complex CHECK constraints as PostgreSQL needs to evaluate them for every insert or update operation.
  • Make your CHECK constraints as specific as possible to avoid ambiguities.
  • Use constraint naming conventions consistently for easier maintenance.


The CHECK constraint is a powerful feature in PostgreSQL that aids in maintaining a high level of data integrity in your tables. By understanding its workings and best practices, you can ensure that only valid data gets stored in your database, making your applications more reliable and robust.

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