PostgreSQL Installation

This chapter describes the installation of PostgreSQL using the source code distribution. If you are installing a pre-packaged distribution, such as an RPM or Debian package, ignore this chapter and read the packager’s instructions instead.

Short Version

make install
adduser postgres
mkdir /usr/local/pgsql/data
chown postgres /usr/local/pgsql/data
su - postgres
/usr/local/pgsql/bin/initdb -D /usr/local/pgsql/data
/usr/local/pgsql/bin/pg_ctl -D /usr/local/pgsql/data -l logfile start
/usr/local/pgsql/bin/createdb test
/usr/local/pgsql/bin/psql test

The long version is the rest of this chapter.


In general, a modern Unix-compatible platform should be able to run PostgreSQL.

The following software packages are required for building PostgreSQL:

  • ·         GNU make version 3.80 or newer is required; other make programs or older GNU make versions will not work. (GNU make is sometimes installed under the name gmake.) To test for GNU make enter:
make --version
  • You need an ISO/ANSI C compiler (at least C99-compliant). Recent versions of GCC are recommended, but PostgreSQL is known to build using a wide variety of compilers from different vendors.
  • tar is required to unpack the source distribution, in addition to either gzip or bzip2.
  • ·         The GNU Readline library is used by default. It allows psql (the PostgreSQL command line SQL interpreter) to remember each command you type, and allows you to use arrow keys to recall and edit previous commands. This is very helpful and is strongly recommended. If you don’t want to use it then you must specify the --without-readline option to configure. As an alternative, you can often use the BSD-licensed libedit library, originally developed on NetBSD. The libedit library is GNU Readline-compatible and is used if libreadline is not found, or if --with-libedit-preferred is used as an option to configure. If you are using a package-based Linux distribution, be aware that you need both the readline and readline-devel packages, if those are separate in your distribution.
  • ·         The zlib compression library is used by default. If you don’t want to use it then you must specify the --without-zlib option to configure. Using this option disables support for compressed archives in pg_dump and pg_restore.

The following packages are optional. They are not required in the default configuration, but they are needed when certain build options are enabled, as explained below:

  • To build the server programming language PL/Perl you need a full Perl installation, including the libperl library and the header files. The minimum required version is Perl 5.8.3. Since PL/Perl will be a shared library, the libperl library must be a shared library also on most platforms. This appears to be the default in recent Perl versions, but it was not in earlier versions, and in any case it is the choice of whomever installed Perl at your site. configure will fail if building PL/Perl is selected but it cannot find a shared libperl. In that case, you will have to rebuild and install Perl manually to be able to build PL/Perl. During the configuration process for Perl, request a shared library.

If you intend to make more than incidental use of PL/Perl, you should ensure that the Perl installation was built with the usemultiplicity option enabled (perl -V will show whether this is the case).

  • To build the PL/Python server programming language, you need a Python installation with the header files and the distutils module. The minimum required version is Python 2.6. Python 3 is supported.

Since PL/Python will be a shared library, the libpython library must be a shared library also on most platforms. This is not the case in a default Python installation built from source, but a shared library is available in many operating system distributions. configure will fail if building PL/Python is selected but it cannot find a shared libpython. That might mean that you either have to install additional packages or rebuild (part of) your Python installation to provide this shared library. When building from source, run Python’s configure with the --enable-shared flag.

  • To build the PL/Tcl procedural language, you of course need a Tcl installation. The minimum required version is Tcl 8.4.
  • To enable Native Language Support (NLS), that is, the ability to display a program’s messages in a language other than English, you need an implementation of the Gettext API. Some operating systems have this built-in (e.g., Linux, NetBSD, Solaris), for other systems you can download an add-on package from If you are using the Gettext implementation in the GNU C library then you will additionally need the GNU Gettext package for some utility programs. For any of the other implementations you will not need it.
  • You need OpenSSL, if you want to support encrypted client connections. OpenSSL is also required for random number generation on platforms that do not have /dev/urandom (except Windows). The minimum version required is 1.0.1.
  • You need Kerberos, OpenLDAP, and/or PAM, if you want to support authentication using those services.

If you are building from a Git tree instead of using a released source package, or if you want to do server development, you also need the following packages:

  • ·         Flex and Bison are needed to build from a Git checkout, or if you changed the actual scanner and parser definition files. If you need them, be sure to get Flex 2.5.31 or later and Bison 1.875 or later. Other lex and yacc programs cannot be used.
  • ·         Perl 5.8.3 or later is needed to build from a Git checkout, or if you changed the input files for any of the build steps that use Perl scripts. If building on Windows you will need Perl in any case. Perl is also required to run some test suites.

If you need to get a GNU package, you can find it at your local GNU mirror site (see for a list) or at

Also check that you have sufficient disk space. You will need about 350 MB for the source tree during compilation and about 60 MB for the installation directory. An empty database cluster takes about 40 MB; databases take about five times the amount of space that a flat text file with the same data would take. If you are going to run the regression tests you will temporarily need up to an extra 300 MB. Use the df command to check free disk space.

Getting the Source

The PostgreSQL 13.3 sources can be obtained from the download section of our website: You should get a file named postgresql-13.3.tar.gz or postgresql-13.3.tar.bz2. After you have obtained the file, unpack it:

gunzip postgresql-13.3.tar.gz
tar xf postgresql-13.3.tar

(Use bunzip2 instead of gunzip if you have the .bz2 file. Also, note that most modern versions of tar can unpack compressed archives directly, so you don’t really need the separate gunzip or bunzip2 step.) This will create a directory postgresql-13.3 under the current directory with the PostgreSQL sources. Change into that directory for the rest of the installation procedure.

Installation Procedure

  1. Configuration

The first step of the installation procedure is to configure the source tree for your system and choose the options you would like. This is done by running the configure script. For a default installation simply enter:


This script will run a number of tests to determine values for various system dependent variables and detect any quirks of your operating system, and finally will create several files in the build tree to record what it found.

You can also run configure in a directory outside the source tree, and then build there, if you want to keep the build directory separate from the original source files. This procedure is called a VPATH build. Here’s how:

mkdir build_dir
cd build_dir
/path/to/source/tree/configure [options go here]

The default configuration will build the server and utilities, as well as all client applications and interfaces that require only a C compiler. All files will be installed under /usr/local/pgsql by default.

You can customize the build and installation process by supplying one or more command line options to configure. Typically you would customize the install location, or the set of optional features that are built. configure has a large number of options.

  • Build

To start the build, type either of:

make all

(Remember to use GNU make.) The build will take a few minutes depending on your hardware. The last line displayed should be:

All of PostgreSQL successfully made. Ready to install.

If you want to build everything that can be built, including the documentation (HTML and man pages), and the additional modules (contrib), type instead:

make world

The last line displayed should be:

PostgreSQL, contrib, and documentation successfully made. Ready to install.

If you want to invoke the build from another makefile rather than manually, you must unset MAKELEVEL or set it to zero, for instance like this:

        $(MAKE) -C postgresql MAKELEVEL=0 all

Failure to do that can lead to strange error messages, typically about missing header files.

  • Regression Tests

If you want to test the newly built server before you install it, you can run the regression tests at this point. The regression tests are a test suite to verify that PostgreSQL runs on your machine in the way the developers expected it to. Type:

make check

(This won’t work as root; do it as an unprivileged user.) You can repeat this test at any later time by issuing the same command.

  • Installing the Files

To install PostgreSQL enter:

make install

This will install files into the directories. Make sure that you have appropriate permissions to write into that area. Normally you need to do this step as root. Alternatively, you can create the target directories in advance and arrange for appropriate permissions to be granted.

To install the documentation (HTML and man pages), enter:

make install-docs

If you built the world above, type instead:

make install-world

This also installs the documentation.

You can use make install-strip instead of make install to strip the executable files and libraries as they are installed. This will save some space. If you built with debugging support, stripping will effectively remove the debugging support, so it should only be done if debugging is no longer needed. install-strip tries to do a reasonable job saving space, but it does not have perfect knowledge of how to strip every unneeded byte from an executable file, so if you want to save all the disk space you possibly can, you will have to do manual work.

The standard installation provides all the header files needed for client application development as well as for server-side program development, such as custom functions or data types written in C. (Prior to PostgreSQL 8.0, a separate make install-all-headers command was needed for the latter, but this step has been folded into the standard install.)

Client-only installation:  If you want to install only the client applications and interface libraries, then you can use these commands:

make -C src/bin install
make -C src/include install
make -C src/interfaces install
make -C doc install

src/bin has a few binaries for server-only use, but they are small.

Uninstallation:  To undo the installation use the command make uninstall. However, this will not remove any created directories.

Cleaning:  After the installation you can free disk space by removing the built files from the source tree with the command make clean. This will preserve the files made by the configure program, so that you can rebuild everything with make later on. To reset the source tree to the state in which it was distributed, use make distclean. If you are going to build for several platforms within the same source tree you must do this and re-configure for each platform. (Alternatively, use a separate build tree for each platform, so that the source tree remains unmodified.)

If you perform a build and then discover that your configure options were wrong, or if you change anything that configure investigates (for example, software upgrades), then it’s a good idea to do make distclean before reconfiguring and rebuilding. Without this, your changes in configuration choices might not propagate everywhere they need to.

configure Options

configure‘s command line options are explained below. This list is not exhaustive (use ./configure --help to get one that is). The options not covered here are meant for advanced use-cases such as cross-compilation, and are documented in the standard Autoconf documentation.

Installation Locations

These options control where make install will put the files. The --prefix option is sufficient for most cases. If you have special needs, you can customize the installation subdirectories with the other options described in this section. Beware however that changing the relative locations of the different subdirectories may render the installation non-relocatable, meaning you won’t be able to move it after installation. (The man and doc locations are not affected by this restriction.) For relocatable installs, you might want to use the --disable-rpath option described later.


Install all files under the directory PREFIX instead of /usr/local/pgsql. The actual files will be installed into various subdirectories; no files will ever be installed directly into the PREFIX directory.


You can install architecture-dependent files under a different prefix, EXEC-PREFIX, than what PREFIX was set to. This can be useful to share architecture-independent files between hosts. If you omit this, then EXEC-PREFIX is set equal to PREFIX and both architecture-dependent and independent files will be installed under the same tree, which is probably what you want.


Specifies the directory for executable programs. The default is EXEC-PREFIX/bin, which normally means /usr/local/pgsql/bin.


Sets the directory for various configuration files, PREFIX/etc by default.


Sets the location to install libraries and dynamically loadable modules. The default is EXEC-PREFIX/lib.


Sets the directory for installing C and C++ header files. The default is PREFIX/include.


Sets the root directory for various types of read-only data files. This only sets the default for some of the following options. The default is PREFIX/share.


Sets the directory for read-only data files used by the installed programs. The default is DATAROOTDIR. Note that this has nothing to do with where your database files will be placed.


Sets the directory for installing locale data, in particular message translation catalog files. The default is DATAROOTDIR/locale.


The man pages that come with PostgreSQL will be installed under this directory, in their respective manx subdirectories. The default is DATAROOTDIR/man.


Sets the root directory for installing documentation files, except “man” pages. This only sets the default for the following options. The default value for this option is DATAROOTDIR/doc/postgresql.


The HTML-formatted documentation for PostgreSQL will be installed under this directory. The default is DATAROOTDIR.

PostgreSQL Features

The options described in this section enable building of various PostgreSQL features that are not built by default.


Enables Native Language Support (NLS), that is, the ability to display a program’s messages in a language other than English. LANGUAGES is an optional space-separated list of codes of the languages that you want supported, for example --enable-nls='de fr'. (The intersection between your list and the set of actually provided translations will be computed automatically.) If you do not specify a list, then all available translations are installed.

To use this option, you will need an implementation of the Gettext API.


Build the PL/Perl server-side language.


Build the PL/Python server-side language.


Build the PL/Tcl server-side language.


Tcl installs the file, which contains configuration information needed to build modules interfacing to Tcl. This file is normally found automatically at a well-known location, but if you want to use a different version of Tcl you can specify the directory in which to look for


Build with support for the ICU library, enabling use of ICU collation features. This requires the ICU4C package to be installed. The minimum required version of ICU4C is currently 4.2.

By default, pkg-config will be used to find the required compilation options. This is supported for ICU4C version 4.6 and later. For older versions, or if pkg-config is not available, the variables ICU_CFLAGS and ICU_LIBS can be specified to configure, like in this example:

./configure ... --with-icu ICU_CFLAGS='-I/some/where/include' ICU_LIBS='-L/some/where/lib -licui18n -licuuc -licudata'

(If ICU4C is in the default search path for the compiler, then you still need to specify nonempty strings in order to avoid use of pkg-config, for example, ICU_CFLAGS=' '.)


Build with support for LLVM based JIT compilation. This requires the LLVM library to be installed. The minimum required version of LLVM is currently 3.9.

llvm-config will be used to find the required compilation options. llvm-config, and then llvm-config-$major-$minor for all supported versions, will be searched for in your PATH. If that would not yield the desired program, use LLVM_CONFIG to specify a path to the correct llvm-config. For example

./configure ... --with-llvm LLVM_CONFIG='/path/to/llvm/bin/llvm-config'

LLVM support requires a compatible clang compiler (specified, if necessary, using the CLANG environment variable), and a working C++ compiler (specified, if necessary, using the CXX environment variable).


Build with support for SSL (encrypted) connections. This requires the OpenSSL package to be installed. configure will check for the required header files and libraries to make sure that your OpenSSL installation is sufficient before proceeding.


Build with support for GSSAPI authentication. On many systems, the GSSAPI system (usually a part of the Kerberos installation) is not installed in a location that is searched by default (e.g., /usr/include/usr/lib), so you must use the options --with-includes and --with-libraries in addition to this option. configure will check for the required header files and libraries to make sure that your GSSAPI installation is sufficient before proceeding.


Build with LDAP support for authentication and connection parameter lookup. On Unix, this requires the OpenLDAP package to be installed. On Windows, the default WinLDAP library is used. configure will check for the required header files and libraries to make sure that your OpenLDAP installation is sufficient before proceeding.


Build with PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) support.


Build with BSD Authentication support. (The BSD Authentication framework is currently only available on OpenBSD.)


Build with support for systemd service notifications. This improves integration if the server is started under systemd but has no impact otherwise. libsystemd and the associated header files need to be installed to use this option.


Build with support for Bonjour automatic service discovery. This requires Bonjour support in your operating system. Recommended on macOS.


Build the uuid-ossp module (which provides functions to generate UUIDs), using the specified UUID library. LIBRARY must be one of:

  • bsd to use the UUID functions found in FreeBSD, NetBSD, and some other BSD-derived systems
  • e2fs to use the UUID library created by the e2fsprogs project; this library is present in most Linux systems and in macOS, and can be obtained for other platforms as well
  • ossp to use the OSSP UUID library


Obsolete equivalent of --with-uuid=ossp.


Build with libxml2, enabling SQL/XML support. Libxml2 version 2.6.23 or later is required for this feature.

To detect the required compiler and linker options, PostgreSQL will query pkg-config, if that is installed and knows about libxml2. Otherwise the program xml2-config, which is installed by libxml2, will be used if it is found. Use of pkg-config is preferred, because it can deal with multi-architecture installations better.

To use a libxml2 installation that is in an unusual location, you can set pkg-config-related environment variables (see its documentation), or set the environment variable XML2_CONFIG to point to the xml2-config program belonging to the libxml2 installation, or set the variables XML2_CFLAGS and XML2_LIBS. (If pkg-config is installed, then to override its idea of where libxml2 is you must either set XML2_CONFIG or set both XML2_CFLAGS and XML2_LIBS to nonempty strings.)


Build with libxslt, enabling the xml2 module to perform XSL transformations of XML. --with-libxml must be specified as well.


The options described in this section allow disabling certain PostgreSQL features that are built by default, but which might need to be turned off if the required software or system features are not available. Using these options is not recommended unless really necessary.


Prevents use of the Readline library (and libedit as well). This option disables command-line editing and history in psql.


Favors the use of the BSD-licensed libedit library rather than GPL-licensed Readline. This option is significant only if you have both libraries installed; the default in that case is to use Readline.


Prevents use of the Zlib library. This disables support for compressed archives in pg_dump and pg_restore.


Allow the build to succeed even if PostgreSQL has no CPU spinlock support for the platform. The lack of spinlock support will result in very poor performance; therefore, this option should only be used if the build aborts and informs you that the platform lacks spinlock support. If this option is required to build PostgreSQL on your platform, please report the problem to the PostgreSQL developers.


Disable use of CPU atomic operations. This option does nothing on platforms that lack such operations. On platforms that do have them, this will result in poor performance. This option is only useful for debugging or making performance comparisons.


Disable the thread-safety of client libraries. This prevents concurrent threads in libpq and ECPG programs from safely controlling their private connection handles. Use this only on platforms with deficient threading support.

Build Process Details


DIRECTORIES is a colon-separated list of directories that will be added to the list the compiler searches for header files. If you have optional packages (such as GNU Readline) installed in a non-standard location, you have to use this option and probably also the corresponding --with-libraries option.

Example: --with-includes=/opt/gnu/include:/usr/sup/include.


DIRECTORIES is a colon-separated list of directories to search for libraries. You will probably have to use this option (and the corresponding --with-includes option) if you have packages installed in non-standard locations.

Example: --with-libraries=/opt/gnu/lib:/usr/sup/lib.


PostgreSQL includes its own time zone database, which it requires for date and time operations. This time zone database is in fact compatible with the IANA time zone database provided by many operating systems such as FreeBSD, Linux, and Solaris, so it would be redundant to install it again. When this option is used, the system-supplied time zone database in DIRECTORY is used instead of the one included in the PostgreSQL source distribution. DIRECTORY must be specified as an absolute path. /usr/share/zoneinfo is a likely directory on some operating systems. Note that the installation routine will not detect mismatching or erroneous time zone data. If you use this option, you are advised to run the regression tests to verify that the time zone data you have pointed to works correctly with PostgreSQL.

This option is mainly aimed at binary package distributors who know their target operating system well. The main advantage of using this option is that the PostgreSQL package won’t need to be upgraded whenever any of the many local daylight-saving time rules change. Another advantage is that PostgreSQL can be cross-compiled more straightforwardly if the time zone database files do not need to be built during the installation.


Append STRING to the PostgreSQL version number. You can use this, for example, to mark binaries built from unreleased Git snapshots or containing custom patches with an extra version string, such as a git describe identifier or a distribution package release number.


Do not mark PostgreSQL’s executables to indicate that they should search for shared libraries in the installation’s library directory (see --libdir). On most platforms, this marking uses an absolute path to the library directory, so that it will be unhelpful if you relocate the installation later. However, you will then need to provide some other way for the executables to find the shared libraries. Typically this requires configuring the operating system’s dynamic linker to search the library directory.


It’s fairly common, particularly for test builds, to adjust the default port number with --with-pgport. The other options in this section are recommended only for advanced users.


Set NUMBER as the default port number for server and clients. The default is 5432. The port can always be changed later on, but if you specify it here then both server and clients will have the same default compiled in, which can be very convenient. Usually the only good reason to select a non-default value is if you intend to run multiple PostgreSQL servers on the same machine.


The default name of the Kerberos service principal used by GSSAPI. postgres is the default. There’s usually no reason to change this unless you are building for a Windows environment, in which case it must be set to upper case POSTGRES.


Set the segment size, in gigabytes. Large tables are divided into multiple operating-system files, each of size equal to the segment size. This avoids problems with file size limits that exist on many platforms. The default segment size, 1 gigabyte, is safe on all supported platforms. If your operating system has “largefile” support (which most do, nowadays), you can use a larger segment size. This can be helpful to reduce the number of file descriptors consumed when working with very large tables. But be careful not to select a value larger than is supported by your platform and the file systems you intend to use. Other tools you might wish to use, such as tar, could also set limits on the usable file size. It is recommended, though not absolutely required, that this value be a power of 2. Note that changing this value breaks on-disk database compatibility, meaning you cannot use pg_upgrade to upgrade to a build with a different segment size.


Set the block size, in kilobytes. This is the unit of storage and I/O within tables. The default, 8 kilobytes, is suitable for most situations; but other values may be useful in special cases. The value must be a power of 2 between 1 and 32 (kilobytes). Note that changing this value breaks on-disk database compatibility, meaning you cannot use pg_upgrade to upgrade to a build with a different block size.


Set the WAL block size, in kilobytes. This is the unit of storage and I/O within the WAL log. The default, 8 kilobytes, is suitable for most situations; but other values may be useful in special cases. The value must be a power of 2 between 1 and 64 (kilobytes). Note that changing this value breaks on-disk database compatibility, meaning you cannot use pg_upgrade to upgrade to a build with a different WAL block size.

Developer Options

Most of the options in this section are only of interest for developing or debugging PostgreSQL. They are not recommended for production builds, except for --enable-debug, which can be useful to enable detailed bug reports in the unlucky event that you encounter a bug. On platforms supporting DTrace, --enable-dtrace may also be reasonable to use in production.

When building an installation that will be used to develop code inside the server, it is recommended to use at least the options --enable-debug and --enable-cassert.


Compiles all programs and libraries with debugging symbols. This means that you can run the programs in a debugger to analyze problems. This enlarges the size of the installed executables considerably, and on non-GCC compilers it usually also disables compiler optimization, causing slowdowns. However, having the symbols available is extremely helpful for dealing with any problems that might arise. Currently, this option is recommended for production installations only if you use GCC. But you should always have it on if you are doing development work or running a beta version.


Enables assertion checks in the server, which test for many “cannot happen” conditions. This is invaluable for code development purposes, but the tests can slow down the server significantly. Also, having the tests turned on won’t necessarily enhance the stability of your server! The assertion checks are not categorized for severity, and so what might be a relatively harmless bug will still lead to server restarts if it triggers an assertion failure. This option is not recommended for production use, but you should have it on for development work or when running a beta version.


Enable tests using the Perl TAP tools. This requires a Perl installation and the Perl module IPC::Run


Enables automatic dependency tracking. With this option, the makefiles are set up so that all affected object files will be rebuilt when any header file is changed. This is useful if you are doing development work, but is just wasted overhead if you intend only to compile once and install. At present, this option only works with GCC.


If using GCC, all programs and libraries are compiled with code coverage testing instrumentation. When run, they generate files in the build directory with code coverage metrics. This option is for use only with GCC and when doing development work.


If using GCC, all programs and libraries are compiled so they can be profiled. On backend exit, a subdirectory will be created that contains the gmon.out file containing profile data. This option is for use only with GCC and when doing development work.


Compiles PostgreSQL with support for the dynamic tracing tool DTrace. 

To point to the dtrace program, the environment variable DTRACE can be set. This will often be necessary because dtrace is typically installed under /usr/sbin, which might not be in your PATH.

Extra command-line options for the dtrace program can be specified in the environment variable DTRACEFLAGS. On Solaris, to include DTrace support in a 64-bit binary, you must specify DTRACEFLAGS="-64". For example, using the GCC compiler:

./configure CC='gcc -m64' --enable-dtrace DTRACEFLAGS='-64' ...

Using Sun’s compiler:

./configure CC='/opt/SUNWspro/bin/cc -xtarget=native64' --enable-dtrace DTRACEFLAGS='-64' ...

configure Environment Variables

In addition to the ordinary command-line options described above, configure responds to a number of environment variables. You can specify environment variables on the configure command line, for example:

./configure CC=/opt/bin/gcc CFLAGS='-O2 -pipe'

In this usage an environment variable is little different from a command-line option. You can also set such variables beforehand:

export CC=/opt/bin/gcc
export CFLAGS='-O2 -pipe'

This usage can be convenient because many programs’ configuration scripts respond to these variables in similar ways.

The most commonly used of these environment variables are CC and CFLAGS. If you prefer a C compiler different from the one configure picks, you can set the variable CC to the program of your choice. By default, configure will pick gcc if available, else the platform’s default (usually cc). Similarly, you can override the default compiler flags if needed with the CFLAGS variable.

Here is a list of the significant variables that can be set in this manner:


Bison program


C compiler


options to pass to the C compiler


path to clang program used to process source code for inlining when compiling with --with-llvm


C preprocessor


options to pass to the C preprocessor


C++ compiler


options to pass to the C++ compiler


location of the dtrace program


options to pass to the dtrace program


Flex program


options to use when linking either executables or shared libraries


additional options for linking executables only


additional options for linking shared libraries only


llvm-config program used to locate the LLVM installation


msgfmt program for native language support


Perl interpreter program. This will be used to determine the dependencies for building PL/Perl. The default is perl.


Python interpreter program. This will be used to determine the dependencies for building PL/Python. Also, whether Python 2 or 3 is specified here (or otherwise implicitly chosen) determines which variant of the PL/Python language becomes available. If this is not set, the following are probed in this order: python python3 python2.


Tcl interpreter program. This will be used to determine the dependencies for building PL/Tcl. If this is not set, the following are probed in this order: tclsh tcl tclsh8.6 tclsh86 tclsh8.5 tclsh85 tclsh8.4 tclsh84.


xml2-config program used to locate the libxml2 installation

Sometimes it is useful to add compiler flags after-the-fact to the set that were chosen by configure. An important example is that gcc’s -Werror option cannot be included in the CFLAGS passed to configure, because it will break many of configure‘s built-in tests. To add such flags, include them in the COPT environment variable while running make. The contents of COPT are added to both the CFLAGS and LDFLAGS options set up by configure. For example, you could do

make COPT='-Werror'


export COPT='-Werror'

Post-Installation Setup

Shared Libraries

On some systems with shared libraries you need to tell the system how to find the newly installed shared libraries. The systems on which this is not necessary include FreeBSD, HP-UX, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris.

The method to set the shared library search path varies between platforms, but the most widely-used method is to set the environment variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH like so: In Bourne shells (shkshbashzsh):


or in csh or tcsh:

setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH /usr/local/pgsql/lib

Replace /usr/local/pgsql/lib with whatever you set --libdir. You should put these commands into a shell start-up file such as /etc/profile or ~/.bash_profile. Some good information about the caveats associated with this method can be found at

On some systems it might be preferable to set the environment variable LD_RUN_PATH before building.

On Cygwin, put the library directory in the PATH or move the .dll files into the bin directory.

If in doubt, refer to the manual pages of your system (perhaps or rld). If you later get a message like:

psql: error in loading shared libraries cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

then this step was necessary. Simply take care of it then.

If you are on Linux and you have root access, you can run:

/sbin/ldconfig /usr/local/pgsql/lib

(or equivalent directory) after installation to enable the run-time linker to find the shared libraries faster. Refer to the manual page of ldconfig for more information. On FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD the command is:

/sbin/ldconfig -m /usr/local/pgsql/lib

instead. Other systems are not known to have an equivalent command.

Environment Variables

If you installed into /usr/local/pgsql or some other location that is not searched for programs by default, you should add /usr/local/pgsql/bin into your PATH. Strictly speaking, this is not necessary, but it will make the use of PostgreSQL much more convenient.

To do this, add the following to your shell start-up file, such as ~/.bash_profile (or /etc/profile, if you want it to affect all users):

export PATH

If you are using csh or tcsh, then use this command:

set path = ( /usr/local/pgsql/bin $path )

To enable your system to find the man documentation, you need to add lines like the following to a shell start-up file unless you installed into a location that is searched by default:

export MANPATH

The environment variables PGHOST and PGPORT specify to client applications the host and port of the database server, overriding the compiled-in defaults. If you are going to run client applications remotely then it is convenient if every user that plans to use the database sets PGHOST. This is not required, however; the settings can be communicated via command line options to most client programs.

Supported Platforms

A platform (that is, a CPU architecture and operating system combination) is considered supported by the PostgreSQL development community if the code contains provisions to work on that platform and it has recently been verified to build and pass its regression tests on that platform. Currently, most testing of platform compatibility is done automatically by test machines in the PostgreSQL Build Farm. If you are interested in using PostgreSQL on a platform that is not represented in the build farm, but on which the code works or can be made to work, you are strongly encouraged to set up a build farm member machine so that continued compatibility can be assured.

In general, PostgreSQL can be expected to work on these CPU architectures: x86, x86_64, IA64, PowerPC, PowerPC 64, S/390, S/390x, Sparc, Sparc 64, ARM, MIPS, MIPSEL, and PA-RISC. Code support exists for M68K, M32R, and VAX, but these architectures are not known to have been tested recently. It is often possible to build on an unsupported CPU type by configuring with --disable-spinlocks, but performance will be poor.

PostgreSQL can be expected to work on these operating systems: Linux (all recent distributions), Windows (XP and later), FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, macOS, AIX, HP/UX, and Solaris. Other Unix-like systems may also work but are not currently being tested. In most cases, all CPU architectures supported by a given operating system will work.

If you have installation problems on a platform that is known to be supported according to recent build farm results, please report it to <[email protected]>. If you are interested in porting PostgreSQL to a new platform, <[email protected]> is the appropriate place to discuss that.

Platform-Specific Notes

This section documents additional platform-specific issues regarding the installation and setup of PostgreSQL. Be sure to read the installation instructions.

Platforms that are not covered here have no known platform-specific installation issues.


PostgreSQL works on AIX, but AIX versions before about 6.1 have various issues and are not recommended. You can use GCC or the native IBM compiler xlc.

Memory Management

AIX can be somewhat peculiar with regards to the way it does memory management. You can have a server with many multiples of gigabytes of RAM free, but still get out of memory or address space errors when running applications. One example is loading of extensions failing with unusual errors. For example, running as the owner of the PostgreSQL installation:

ERROR:  could not load library "/opt/dbs/pgsql/lib/": A memory address is not in the address space for the process.

Running as a non-owner in the group possessing the PostgreSQL installation:

ERROR:  could not load library "/opt/dbs/pgsql/lib/": Bad address

Another example is out of memory errors in the PostgreSQL server logs, with every memory allocation near or greater than 256 MB failing.

The overall cause of all these problems is the default bittedness and memory model used by the server process. By default, all binaries built on AIX are 32-bit. This does not depend upon hardware type or kernel in use. These 32-bit processes are limited to 4 GB of memory laid out in 256 MB segments using one of a few models. The default allows for less than 256 MB in the heap as it shares a single segment with the stack.

In the case of the plperl example, above, check your umask and the permissions of the binaries in your PostgreSQL installation. The binaries involved in that example were 32-bit and installed as mode 750 instead of 755. Due to the permissions being set in this fashion, only the owner or a member of the possessing group can load the library. Since it isn’t world-readable, the loader places the object into the process’ heap instead of the shared library segments where it would otherwise be placed.

The “ideal” solution for this is to use a 64-bit build of PostgreSQL, but that is not always practical, because systems with 32-bit processors can build, but not run, 64-bit binaries.

If a 32-bit binary is desired, set LDR_CNTRL to MAXDATA=0xn0000000, where 1 <= n <= 8, before starting the PostgreSQL server, and try different values and postgresql.conf settings to find a configuration that works satisfactorily. This use of LDR_CNTRL tells AIX that you want the server to have MAXDATA bytes set aside for the heap, allocated in 256 MB segments. When you find a workable configuration, ldedit can be used to modify the binaries so that they default to using the desired heap size. PostgreSQL can also be rebuilt, passing configure LDFLAGS="-Wl,-bmaxdata:0xn0000000" to achieve the same effect.

For a 64-bit build, set OBJECT_MODE to 64 and pass CC="gcc -maix64" and LDFLAGS="-Wl,-bbigtoc" to configure. (Options for xlc might differ.) If you omit the export of OBJECT_MODE, your build may fail with linker errors. When OBJECT_MODE is set, it tells AIX’s build utilities such as aras, and ld what type of objects to default to handling.

By default, overcommit of paging space can happen. While we have not seen this occur, AIX will kill processes when it runs out of memory and the overcommit is accessed. The closest to this that we have seen is fork failing because the system decided that there was not enough memory for another process. Like many other parts of AIX, the paging space allocation method and out-of-memory kill is configurable on a system- or process-wide basis if this becomes a problem.


PostgreSQL can be built using Cygwin, a Linux-like environment for Windows, but that method is inferior to the native Windows build and running a server under Cygwin is no longer recommended.

When building from source, proceed according to the Unix-style installation procedure (i.e., ./configure; make; etc.), noting the following Cygwin-specific differences:

  • Set your path to use the Cygwin bin directory before the Windows utilities. This will help prevent problems with compilation.
  • The adduser command is not supported; use the appropriate user management application on Windows NT, 2000, or XP. Otherwise, skip this step.
  • The su command is not supported; use ssh to simulate su on Windows NT, 2000, or XP. Otherwise, skip this step.
  • OpenSSL is not supported.
  • Start cygserver for shared memory support. To do this, enter the command /usr/sbin/cygserver &. This program needs to be running anytime you start the PostgreSQL server or initialize a database cluster (initdb). The default cygserver configuration may need to be changed (e.g., increase SEMMNS) to prevent PostgreSQL from failing due to a lack of system resources.
  • Building might fail on some systems where a locale other than C is in use. To fix this, set the locale to C by doing export LANG=C.utf8 before building, and then setting it back to the previous setting after you have installed PostgreSQL.
  • The parallel regression tests (make check) can generate spurious regression test failures due to overflowing the listen() backlog queue which causes connection refused errors or hangs. You can limit the number of connections using the make variable MAX_CONNECTIONS thus:
·         make MAX_CONNECTIONS=5 check

(On some systems you can have up to about 10 simultaneous connections.)

It is possible to install cygserver and the PostgreSQL server as Windows NT services. For information on how to do this, please refer to the README document included with the PostgreSQL binary package on Cygwin. It is installed in the directory /usr/share/doc/Cygwin.


To build PostgreSQL from source on macOS, you will need to install Apple’s command line developer tools, which can be done by issuing

xcode-select --install

(note that this will pop up a GUI dialog window for confirmation). You may or may not wish to also install Xcode.

On recent macOS releases, it’s necessary to embed the “sysroot” path in the include switches used to find some system header files. This results in the outputs of the configure script varying depending on which SDK version was used during configure. That shouldn’t pose any problem in simple scenarios, but if you are trying to do something like building an extension on a different machine than the server code was built on, you may need to force use of a different sysroot path. To do that, set PG_SYSROOT, for example

make PG_SYSROOT=/desired/path all

To find out the appropriate path on your machine, run

xcrun --show-sdk-path

Note that building an extension using a different sysroot version than was used to build the core server is not really recommended; in the worst case it could result in hard-to-debug ABI inconsistencies.

You can also select a non-default sysroot path when configuring, by specifying PG_SYSROOT to configure:

./configure ... PG_SYSROOT=/desired/path

This would primarily be useful to cross-compile for some other macOS version. There is no guarantee that the resulting executables will run on the current host.

To suppress the -isysroot options altogether, use

./configure ... PG_SYSROOT=none

(any nonexistent pathname will work). This might be useful if you wish to build with a non-Apple compiler, but beware that that case is not tested or supported by the PostgreSQL developers.

macOS’s “System Integrity Protection” (SIP) feature breaks make check, because it prevents passing the needed setting of DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH down to the executables being tested. You can work around that by doing make install before make check. Most PostgreSQL developers just turn off SIP, though.

MinGW/Native Windows

PostgreSQL for Windows can be built using MinGW, a Unix-like build environment for Microsoft operating systems, or using Microsoft’s Visual C++ compiler suite. The MinGW build procedure uses the normal build system described in this chapter; the Visual C++ build works completely differently.

The native Windows port requires a 32 or 64-bit version of Windows 2000 or later. Earlier operating systems do not have sufficient infrastructure (but Cygwin may be used on those). MinGW, the Unix-like build tools, and MSYS, a collection of Unix tools required to run shell scripts like configure, can be downloaded from Neither is required to run the resulting binaries; they are needed only for creating the binaries.

To build 64 bit binaries using MinGW, install the 64 bit tool set from, put its bin directory in the PATH, and run configure with the --host=x86_64-w64-mingw32 option.

After you have everything installed, it is suggested that you run psql under CMD.EXE, as the MSYS console has buffering issues.

Collecting Crash Dumps On Windows

If PostgreSQL on Windows crashes, it has the ability to generate minidumps that can be used to track down the cause for the crash, similar to core dumps on Unix. These dumps can be read using the Windows Debugger Tools or using Visual Studio. To enable the generation of dumps on Windows, create a subdirectory named crashdumps inside the cluster data directory. The dumps will then be written into this directory with a unique name based on the identifier of the crashing process and the current time of the crash.


PostgreSQL is well-supported on Solaris. The more up to date your operating system, the fewer issues you will experience.

Required Tools

You can build with either GCC or Sun’s compiler suite. For better code optimization, Sun’s compiler is strongly recommended on the SPARC architecture. If you are using Sun’s compiler, be careful not to select /usr/ucb/cc; use /opt/SUNWspro/bin/cc.

You can download Sun Studio from Many GNU tools are integrated into Solaris 10, or they are present on the Solaris companion CD. If you need packages for older versions of Solaris, you can find these tools at If you prefer sources, look at

Configure Complains About A Failed Test Program

If configure complains about a failed test program, this is probably a case of the run-time linker being unable to find some library, probably libz, libreadline or some other non-standard library such as libssl. To point it to the right location, set the LDFLAGS environment variable on the configure command line, e.g.,

configure ... LDFLAGS="-R /usr/sfw/lib:/opt/sfw/lib:/usr/local/lib"

See the ld man page for more information.

Compiling For Optimal Performance

On the SPARC architecture, Sun Studio is strongly recommended for compilation. Try using the -xO5 optimization flag to generate significantly faster binaries. Do not use any flags that modify behavior of floating-point operations and errno processing (e.g., -fast).

If you do not have a reason to use 64-bit binaries on SPARC, prefer the 32-bit version. The 64-bit operations are slower and 64-bit binaries are slower than the 32-bit variants. On the other hand, 32-bit code on the AMD64 CPU family is not native, so 32-bit code is significantly slower on that CPU family.

Using DTrace For Tracing PostgreSQL

Yes, using DTrace is possible.

If you see the linking of the postgres executable abort with an error message like:

Undefined                       first referenced
 symbol                             in file
AbortTransaction                    utils/probes.o
CommitTransaction                   utils/probes.o
ld: fatal: Symbol referencing errors. No output written to postgres
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make: *** [postgres] Error 1

your DTrace installation is too old to handle probes in static functions. You need Solaris 10u4 or newer to use DTrace.