Postgres: Paginate Query Results
The limit & offset arguments
offset are used for pagination.
limit specifies the number of rows to retain from the result set and
offset determines which slice to retain from
You can see the complete specification of the
offset arguments in the
The following are examples of different pagination scenarios:
Example: Fetch the first 5 authors from the list of all authors:
Limit results from an offset
Example: Fetch 5 authors from the list of all authors, starting with the 6th one:
Limit results in a nested object
Example: Fetch a list of authors and a list of their first 2 articles:
Keyset cursor based pagination
Cursors are used to traverse across rows of a dataset. They work by returning a pointer to a specific row which can then be used to fetch the next batch of data.
Keyset cursors are a column (or a set of columns) of the data that are used as the cursor. The column(s) used as the
cursor must be unique and sequential. This ensures that data is read after a specific row rather than relying on the
position of the row in the dataset as done by
offset, and that duplicate records are not fetched again.
For example, consider the following query to fetch a list of authors with a
where clause used in place of
Here we are fetching authors where the value of
id is greater than 5. This will always skip the previously fetched
results which would have been ids 1 to 5, ensuring no duplicate results. Column
id is acting as the cursor here,
unique and sequential.
The choice of cursor columns depends on the order of the expected results i.e. if the query has an
the column(s) used in the
order_by need to be used as the cursor.
Columns such as
id (auto-incrementing integer/big integer) or
created_at (timestamp) are commonly used as cursors
when an order is not explicit, as they should be unique and sequential.
Keyset cursor based pagination using
where is more performant than using
offset because we can leverage database
indexes on the columns that are being used as cursors.
Fetch limited results along with data aggregated over all results (e.g. total count) in the same query
Sometimes, some aggregated information on all the data is required along with a subset of data.
E.g. the total count of results can be returned along with a page of results. The count can then be used to calculate the number of pages based on the limit that is set.
Example: Fetch a list of articles where a certain condition is true and get their count. Then limit the number of articles to return.