# Re: [PERFORM] How to interpret this explain analyse?

Joost Kraaijeveld wrote:
`Hi all,`

```A question on how to read and interpret the explain analyse statement
(and what to do)```

```I have a query "SELECT A.ordernummer, B.klantnummer FROM orders A
LEFT OUTER JOIN klt_alg B ON A.Klantnummer=B.Klantnummer ORDER BY
A.klantnummer;"```

```Both tables have an btree index on klantnummer (int4, the column the
join is on). I have vacuumed and analyzed both tables. The explain
analyse is:
```

Indexes not necessarily useful here since you're fetching all rows in A and presumably much of B

```Sort
Hash Left Join
Seq Scan on orders a
Hash
Seq Scan on klt_alg b```

I've trimmed the above from your explain output. It's sequentially scanning "b" and using a hash to join to "a" before sorting the results.

```Questions: ->  Hash Left Join  (cost=41557.43..110069.51 rows=1100836
width=12) (actual time=21263.858..42845.158 rows=1104380 loops=1)```

```0. What exactly are the numbers in "cost=41557.43..110069.51" ( I
assume for the other questions that 41557.43 is the estimated MS the
query will take, what are the others)?
```

The cost numbers represent "effort" rather than time. They're only really useful in that you can compare one part of the query to another. There are two numbers because the first shows startup, the second final time. So - the "outer" parts of the query will have increasing startup values since the "inner" parts will have to do their work first.

The "actual time" is measured in ms, but remember to multiply it by the "loops" value. Oh, and actually measuring the time slows the query down too.

```1. I assume that (cost=41557.43..110069.51 rows=1100836 width=12) is
the estimated cost and (actual time=21263.858..42845.158 rows=1104380
loops=1) the actual cost. Is the difference acceptable?```

2. If not, what can I do about it?

The key thing to look for here is the number of rows. If PG expects say 100 rows but there are instead 10,000 then it may choose the wrong plan. In this case the estimate is 1,100,836 and the actual is 1,104,380 - very close.

```--
Richard Huxton
Archonet Ltd```

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