PostgreSQL is a powerful object-relational database management system, provided under a flexible BSD-style license.[1] PostgreSQL contains many advanced features, is very fast and standards compliant.

PostgreSQL has bindings for many programming languages such as C, C++, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby... It can be used to power anything from simple web applications to massive databases with millions of records.

Client Installation

If you only wish to connect to a PostgreSQL server, do not install the whole PostgreSQL package, but install the PostgreSQL client instead. To do this, use the following command

 sudo apt-get install postgresql-client

you then connect to the server with the following command

 psql -h database user

After you inserted the password you access PostgreSQL with line commands. You may for instance insert the following


You exit the connection with



To install use the command line and type:

 sudo apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib

This will install the latest version available in your Ubuntu release and the commonly used add-ons for it.

See "External Links" below for options for getting newer releases.

Installing PostGIS, procedural languages, client interfaces, etc

Additional packages contain procedural language runtimes, add-ons like PostGIS, language client interfaces like psycopg2 for Python, etc. You can get a listing with:

 apt-cache search postgres


pgAdmin III is a handy GUI for PostgreSQL, it is essential to beginners. To install it, type at the command line:

 sudo apt-get install pgadmin3

You may also use the Synaptic package manager from the System>Administration menu to install these packages.

Basic Server Setup

To start off, we need to change the PostgreSQL postgres user password; we will not be able to access the server otherwise. As the “postgres” Linux user, we will execute the psql command.

In a terminal, type:

sudo -u postgres psql postgres

Set a password for the "postgres" database role using the command:

\password postgres

and give your password when prompted. The password text will be hidden from the console for security purposes.

Type Control+D to exit the posgreSQL prompt.

Create database

To create the first database, which we will call "mydb", simply type:

 sudo -u postgres createdb mydb

Install Server Instrumentation (for PgAdmin) for Postgresql 8.4 or 9.1

PgAdmin requires the installation of an add-on for full functionality. The "adminpack" addon, which it calls Server Instrumentation, is part of postgresql-contrib, so you must install that package if you haven't already:

 sudo apt-get install postgresql-contrib

Then to activate the extension, for ""Postgresql 8.4"", run the adminpack.sql script, simply type:

 sudo -u postgres psql < /usr/share/postgresql/8.4/contrib/adminpack.sql

For ""Postgresql 9.1""+ install the adminpack "extension" in the "postgres" database:

 sudo -u postgres psql

Alternative Server Setup

If you don't intend to connect to the database from other machines, this alternative setup may be simpler.

By default in Ubuntu, Postgresql is configured to use 'ident sameuser' authentication for any connections from the same machine. Check out the excellent Postgresql documentation for more information, but essentially this means that if your Ubuntu username is 'foo' and you add 'foo' as a Postgresql user then you can connect to the database without requiring a password.

Since the only user who can connect to a fresh install is the postgres user, here is how to create yourself a database account (which is in this case also a database superuser) with the same name as your login name and then create a password for the user:

 sudo -u postgres createuser --superuser $USER
 sudo -u postgres psql

 postgres=# \password $USER

Client programs, by default, connect to the local host using your Ubuntu login name and expect to find a database with that name too. So to make things REALLY easy, use your new superuser privileges granted above to create a database with the same name as your login name:

 sudo -u postgres createdb $USER

Connecting to your own database to try out some SQL should now be as easy as:


Creating additional database is just as easy, so for example, after running this:

 create database amarokdb;

You can go right ahead and tell Amarok to use postgresql to store its music catalog. The database name would be amarokdb, the username would be your own login name, and you don't even need a password thanks to 'ident sameuser' so you can leave that blank.

Using pgAdmin III GUI

To get an idea of what PostgreSQL can do, you may start by firing up a graphical client. In a terminal type :


You will be presented with the pgAdmin III interface. Click on the "Add a connection to a server" button (top left). In the new dialog, enter the address (Local host is default, so it can be left out.), a description of the server, the default database ("mydb" in the example above), your username ("postgres") and your password. One more step is required in order to allow pgAdmin III to connect to the server, and that is to edit pg_hba.conf file and change the authentication method from peer to md5 (Will not work if you have not set the password.):

sudo nano /etc/postgresql/9.3/main/pg_hba.conf

and change the line

# Database administrative login by Unix domain socket
local   all             postgres                                peer


# Database administrative login by Unix domain socket
local   all             postgres                                md5

Now you should reload the server configuration changes and connect pgAdmin III to your PostgreSQL database server.

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql reload

With this GUI you may start creating and managing databases, query the database, execute SQl etc.

Managing the Server

To learn more about managing PostgreSQL (but without the Ubuntu specifics) see the official PostgreSQL documentation

Managing users and rights

User management is discussed in detail in the client authentication chapter of the PostgreSQL documentation; the following is an introduction to get you started.

To manage users, you first have to edit /etc/postgresql/current/main/pg_hba.conf and modify the default configuration which is very locked down and secure. For example, if you want postgres to manage its own users (not linked with system users), you will add the following line:

# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        IP-ADDRESS        IP-MASK           METHOD
host    all         all    md5

Which means that on your local network ( - replace with your own local network !), postgres users can connect through the network to the database providing a classical couple user / password.

Besides allowing a user to connect over the network to the to a database on the server, you must enable PostgreSQL to listen across different networks. To do that, open up /etc/postgresql/current/main/postgresql.conf in your favourite editor and alter the listen_addresses as below:

listen_addresses = '*'

to listen on all network interfaces. See the docs for listen_addresses for other options.

To create a database with a user that have full rights on the database, use the following command:

sudo -u postgres createuser -D -A -P myuser
sudo -u postgres createdb -O myuser mydb

The first command line creates the user with no database creation rights (-D) with no add user rights -A) and will prompt you for entering a password (-P). The second command line create the database 'mydb with 'myuser' as owner.

This little example will probably suit most of your needs. For more details, please refer to the corresponding man pages or the online documentation.

restarting the server

After configuring the networking / users you may need to reload the server, here is a suggested command to do so.

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql-9.3 reload

Some settings changes in postgresql.conf require a full restart, which will terminate active connections and abort uncommitted transactions:

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql-9.3 restart

Further reading

If you are not familiar with SQL you may want to look into this powerful language, although some simple uses of PostgreSQL may not require this knowledge (such as a simple Django project).

The PostgreSQL website contains a wealth of information on using this database. In particular, the [[ | tutorial] is a useful starting point, but you can skip the installation step as you've already installed it using Ubuntu packages.

[1] You do not have to pay in order to use PostgreSQL for any application, such as commercial closed source software. See

Official PostgreSQL downloads

The PostgreSQL project provides an official list of download locations, including an Ubuntu software repository, at its download page. In particular, Ubuntu users can get newer PostgreSQL versions than those packaged in their Ubuntu release using apt-get via

For support and services around PostgreSQL see the services and support page.


The PostgreSQL Linux downloads page contains a section on "Graphical installer" built by EnterpriseDB. You download the installer, change its properties to allow to run it as command (it has .run extension), and run it from command prompt as in "sudo".

You end up with

  • configured DB server instance, which starts with your server
  • pgAdmin III UI client application

Note that the installed software will not be integrated with Ubuntu software center. As a result, you will not receive any security updates from Ubuntu. However, the installed version will closely match the latest Ubuntu version.

Turnkey Linux

An Ubuntu-based PostgreSQL appliance is one of the easiest ways to get up and running with PostgreSQL on Ubuntu. It's part of a family of pre-integrated TurnKey Linux Software Appliances based on Ubuntu 10.04.1 (Lucid LTS).

PostgreSQL (last edited 2014-04-19 01:08:18 by sorn-denis)