When set to
fsync, which is the default, PostgreSQL will recursively open and synchronize all files in the data directory before crash recovery begins. The search for files will follow symbolic links for the WAL directory and each configured tablespace (but not any other symbolic links). This is intended to make sure that all WAL and data files are durably stored on disk before replaying changes. This applies whenever starting a database cluster that did not shut down cleanly, including copies created with pg_basebackup.
syncfs may be used instead, to ask the operating system to synchronize the whole file systems that contain the data directory, the WAL files and each tablespace (but not any other file systems that may be reachable through symbolic links). This may be a lot faster than the
fsync setting, because it doesn't need to open each file one by one. On the other hand, it may be slower if a file system is shared by other applications that modify a lot of files, since those files will also be written to disk. Furthermore, on versions of Linux before 5.8, I/O errors encountered while writing data to disk may not be reported to PostgreSQL, and relevant error messages may appear only in kernel logs.
This parameter can only be set in the postgresql.conf file or on the server command line.