Psycopg2 Tutorial – Complete Guide

As the digital realm constantly evolves, it is imperative for every coder or aspiring coder to stay in the know and continue learning. One programming tool that’s making waves in the industry is psycopg2. Also referred to as PostgreSQL database adapter, psycopg2 is a robust tool highly utilized in the world of Python programming. Spanning a wealth of usability, it’s a tool that aspiring coders cannot afford to miss out.

What Is psycopg2?

Psycopg2 is an open-source PostgreSQL database adapter produced for the Python programming language. As an adapter, its main function is to enable Python-based programs to seamlessly interact and communicate with PostgreSQL databases.

Psycopg2 is, undoubtedly, an incredibly useful tool for one primary reason: it permits Python applications to connect with PostgreSQL and execute SQL queries. This means if you’re ever developing an application using Python and you need it to communicate with a PostgreSQL database, psycopg2 is the way to go.

More so, psycopg2 is adaptable with both basic Python and advanced Python frameworks such as Django and SQLAlchemy, cementing it as a widely used and renowned vehicle for Python and PostgreSQL interaction.

Why Should I Learn psycopg2?

The answer to this question lies in psycopg2’s ever-growing popularity and widespread usability. If you’re a Python programmer or an aspiring programmer, learning psycopg2 adds a feather in your cap.

With Python being one of the most highly desired programming languages and PostgreSQL being a powerful, open-source object-relational database system, having the ability to create a seamless interaction between the two will open up a multitude of opportunities for you in your coding career. In essence, investing time in learning psycopg2 equates to enhancing your coding skills, expanding your career opportunities, and staying ahead of the game.

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Getting Started with psycopg2

Before diving into PostgreSQL database connectivity using psycopg2, let’s first make sure that psycopg2 is installed correctly in your Python environment. To do this, simply run the command below in your command prompt:

pip install psycopg2

Connecting to a PostgreSQL Database

A basic operation we can perform with psycopg2 is connecting to a PostgreSQL database. This operation is simple and is comprised of the creation of a connection object.

import psycopg2

   connection = psycopg2.connect(user="username",

   cursor = connection.cursor()
except (Exception, psycopg2.Error) as error :
    print ("Error while connecting to PostgreSQL", error)

In the script above, we’ve used Psycopg2’s connection method to create a new database session and return a new connection object.

Executing Queries

Once connected, we can then execute SQL queries. To do this, let’s use the cursor object we created earlier and call its execute method:

cursor.execute("SELECT * FROM your_table_name")

Fetching Results

After executing a query, we can retrieve the results of that query using fetch methods such as ‘fetchall()’:

rows = cursor.fetchall()

for row in rows:

The above script retrieves all rows from the table and prints them to the console.

Updating Data

In a similar way, you are able to update data using psycopg2:

cursor.execute("UPDATE your_table_name set column_name = 'new_value' WHERE column_name = 'old_value'")

Just as before, remember to commit any changes to the database.


Closing the Connection

Finally, after all operations on the database are done, it’s very important to close the connection with the database.

if connection:
        print("PostgreSQL connection is closed")

Inserting Data

To insert data into a PostgreSQL database, you can use the ‘INSERT INTO’ SQL command. Here’s how to do it:

cursor.execute("INSERT INTO your_table_name (column1, column2, column3) VALUES (%s, %s, %s)", (value1, value2, value3))

As always, remember to commit your changes.


Deleting Data

Similarly, you can delete data from your database using the ‘DELETE FROM’ SQL command:

cursor.execute("DELETE FROM your_table_name WHERE condition")

Don’t forget to commit.


Setting Up Transactions

With psycopg2, you can also set up transactions, which are operations that are executed as a single unit of work. In other words, either all operations within a transaction are executed, or none are. This is achieved using ‘BEGIN’, ‘COMMIT’, and ‘ROLLBACK’.

    cursor.execute("INSERT INTO your_table_name (column1, column2, column3) VALUES (%s, %s, %s)", (value1, value2, value3))

Exception Handling

While writing code with psycopg2, you may encounter errors or exceptions. It’s always good practice to handle these exceptions so that they do not terminate the entire program. For example:

   connection = psycopg2.connect(user="username",

   cursor = connection.cursor()

except (Exception, psycopg2.Error) as error :
    print ("Error while connecting to PostgreSQL", error)
    # Closing database connection.
    if (connection):
        print("PostgreSQL connection is closed")

In the code above, if any error occurs while connecting to the PostgreSQL server, it will be caught and the program will not terminate.

Working with Database Metadata

Lastly, psycopg2 provides valuable database metadata, which can be very useful when debugging or optimizing your code. For instance, you can retrieve data about all tables in the database:

cursor.execute("SELECT table_name FROM information_schema.tables WHERE table_schema = 'public'")
for table in cursor.fetchall():

As you can see, psycopg2 presents a powerful and versatile tool for Python developers needing to interact with PostgreSQL databases. It is a wide-reaching and highly effective vehicle for database management and connectivity, making it a must-learn for anyone interested in Python programming.

Where to Go Next

With the basics of psycopg2 under your belt, you might be wondering, “What’s next?” Here’s the exciting part – the world of Python programming is vast and packed with endless learning opportunities.

At Zenva, we encourage learners like you to continue exploring and mastering new skills. Our recommendation for your next step? Consider enrolling in our comprehensive Python Mini-Degree. Our Python Mini-Degree is not just a course, but rather a holistic collection of curated classes specifically designed to make you proficient in Python programming. The program touches on various aspects of Python including:

  • Python coding basics
  • Algorithms
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Game development
  • App development

The best part is that you don’t just learn – you actually build. Throughout the course, you engage in hands-on coding, building your games, algorithms, and even real-world apps. The program also provides you with a Python portfolio, where you can confidently showcase the projects you’ve created.

Also, check out our more broad collection of Python programmes and continue your learning journey with Python courses at Zenva.


Mastering psycopg2 is just the tip of the iceberg in the vast ocean of Python programming. We’ve barely scratched the surface, and there’s so-so much to explore. Grasp the opportunity to become a proficient Python developer by expanding your skill set and turning your ideas into real-world applications. Our Python Mini-Degree promises to be your guide and mentor in this exciting journey.

Trust us, learning Python is an adventure promising a joyful ride, immersion in problem-solving, and overwhelming satisfaction while watching your creations come to life. Are you ready to embark upon this quest? Join us at Zenva, where learning isn’t just a process, but a way to redefine yourself.

Did you come across any errors in this tutorial? Please let us know by completing this form and we’ll look into it!

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