Setting up a PostgreSQL database: A step-by-step guide

Are you looking to set up a PostgreSQL database? Do you have a project you need to deploy and require a reliable database that can handle large volumes of data? Then you’re in the right place. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up a PostgreSQL database.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database management system. It is widely used for handling large amounts of data and is known for its robustness, scalability, and reliability. Being an open-source database, it is free to use and has an active community of developers who constantly update and improve its features.


Before we start with the installation and set up of your PostgreSQL database, we need to ensure that you have the following prerequisites:


The first step in setting up a PostgreSQL database is to install it on your operating system. The process may differ depending on the operating system you’re using. In this guide, we will focus on installations done on CentOS 7.

Step 1: Update your system

Before we start with the installation of PostgreSQL, let's update the system packages with the following command.

sudo yum update -y

Step 2: Install PostgreSQL

With the updated system, we can now proceed with the installation of PostgreSQL.

sudo yum install postgresql-server postgresql-contrib -y

This command installs the PostgreSQL server and additional modules that will enhance its functionality.

Step 3: Initialize the database cluster

After the installation of PostgreSQL, we need to initialize its database cluster by running the following command:

sudo postgresql-setup initdb

Step 4: Start PostgreSQL service and enable autostart during system boot

We can start PostgreSQL service by running the following command:

sudo systemctl start postgresql

To enable autostart during system boot, we can run:

sudo systemctl enable postgresql

With these steps, PostgreSQL is now installed and ready to use.

Accessing PostgreSQL

To access PostgreSQL, we will be using the psql command-line tool. Let’s create a user that we’ll use to log in to PostgreSQL.

Step 1: Switch to the postgres user account

Switch to the postgres user account by running the following command:

sudo su - postgres

Step 2: Create a new user

Create a new user with the following command:

createuser --interactive

The above command prompts you to enter the name of the new user you want to create. Follow the prompts.

Step 3: Create a new database

After creating the new user, create a new database with the following command:

createdb dbname

Replace dbname with the name of the database you want to create.

Step 4: Access PostgreSQL

With the database and user created, you can now log in to PostgreSQL using the following command:

psql -d dbname -U username

Replace dbname with the name of the database you created and username with the name of the user you created.

Configuring PostgreSQL

After successfully accessing PostgreSQL, we can now proceed to configure it to our liking.

Step 1: Access the PostgreSQL configuration file

Access the PostgreSQL configuration file by running:

sudo vi /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf

This file contains the database's authentication configuration.

Step 2: Modify the configuration file

Identify the IPv4 and IPv6 connections and add the following lines at the end of each:

host    all             all                  md5
host    all             all             ::/0                    md5

The above lines allow connections to the PostgreSQL database from any IP addresses.

Step 3: Restart the PostgreSQL service

After modifying the configuration and saving the changes, restart the PostgreSQL service by running:

sudo systemctl restart postgresql.service

With this, PostgreSQL is now configured, and you can connect to it from any remote machine.

Securing PostgreSQL

After installing and configuring the PostgreSQL database, it is vital to secure it from unauthorized access.

Step 1: Configure firewall rules

Configure the firewall to allow only connections to PostgreSQL from specified IP addresses.

sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-port=5432/tcp --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --reload

The above commands allow connections to the PostgreSQL database on port 5432.

Step 2: Set strong passwords

Set strong passwords for your PostgreSQL users, including the postgres user account.

Step 3: Encrypt connections

Encrypt connections to the PostgreSQL database by enabling SSL. You can achieve this by generating an SSL certificate and keys.

After completing the above steps, your PostgreSQL database will be secure and protected from unauthorized access.


Setting up a PostgreSQL database is made easy with the above steps. With a well-configured and secure PostgreSQL database, you can deploy and scale your applications with ease. We hope this guide has been helpful to you, and you now feel confident setting up PostgreSQL for your next project.

Happy coding!

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