PostgreSQL Alter Trigger, Disable trigger, enable

In PostgreSQL, the ALTER TRIGGER statement allows you to modify the properties of an existing trigger. Triggers are special database objects that are associated with a table and are automatically executed in response to specific events, such as inserts, updates, or deletes on the table. You can use the ALTER TRIGGER command to change the behavior or characteristics of a trigger without dropping and recreating it.


The syntax for the ALTER TRIGGER statement is as follows:

ALTER TRIGGER [ IF EXISTS ] trigger_name 

Let’s explore the different options you can use with the ALTER TRIGGER statement:

DISABLE: This option disables the trigger, preventing it from firing when the associated event occurs. It effectively stops the trigger’s execution until you explicitly enable it again. Disabling a trigger is useful when you want to temporarily suspend its functionality without removing it from the table.

ENABLE: The ENABLE option is used to re-enable a previously disabled trigger. Once enabled, the trigger will resume executing whenever the specified event occurs on the table. It’s important to note that triggers are enabled by default when they are created.

ENABLE REPLICA: This option is specific to PostgreSQL’s logical replication feature. It enables the trigger to fire on the replica side during logical replication. This option is useful when you have a replication setup and want the trigger to be executed on the replica for certain purposes, such as maintaining additional indexes or generating side-effects on the replica.

Additionally, you can use the IF EXISTS clause before the trigger name to prevent an error from occurring if the trigger does not exist. It allows the command to silently do nothing instead.


Here are a few examples of using the ALTER TRIGGER statement:

-- Disable a trigger named my_trigger

-- Enable a trigger named my_trigger

-- Enable a trigger named my_trigger for logical replication

-- Disable a trigger named my_trigger if it exists

Rename trigger

The syntax for renaming a trigger in PostgreSQL is as follows:

ALTER TRIGGER trigger_name 
RENAME TO new_name;

Here, trigger_name is the current name of the trigger, and new_name is the new name you want to assign to the trigger. By executing this statement, you can update the trigger’s name to reflect a more meaningful or descriptive identifier.

For example, let’s say you have a trigger named trigger1 on a table called my_table. You want to rename it to new_trigger to better represent its purpose. You can use the following command:

RENAME TO new_trigger;

After executing this statement, the trigger trigger1 will be renamed to new_trigger. Any references to the old trigger name in your code or other dependent objects will need to be updated accordingly.

It’s important to note that renaming a trigger does not impact its functionality or associated trigger function. The trigger will continue to operate as before, responding to the specified events and executing the trigger function.

The ALTER TRIGGER statement in PostgreSQL provides the ability to rename triggers. This feature allows you to change the name of a trigger without affecting its behavior, providing a more intuitive and descriptive identifier for your database objects.

Remember, triggers are powerful database constructs that can have a significant impact on your database’s behavior. It’s essential to use them judiciously and test thoroughly to ensure they work as intended.