INITDB(1) PostgreSQL 9.2.7 Documentation INITDB(1)
initdb - create a new PostgreSQL database cluster
initdb [option...] [--pgdata | -D] directory
initdb creates a new PostgreSQL database cluster. A database cluster is a collection of
databases that are managed by a single server instance.
Creating a database cluster consists of creating the directories in which the database
data will live, generating the shared catalog tables (tables that belong to the whole
cluster rather than to any particular database), and creating the template1 and postgres
databases. When you later create a new database, everything in the template1 database is
copied. (Therefore, anything installed in template1 is automatically copied into each
database created later.) The postgres database is a default database meant for use by
users, utilities and third party applications.
Although initdb will attempt to create the specified data directory, it might not have
permission if the parent directory of the desired data directory is root-owned. To
initialize in such a setup, create an empty data directory as root, then use chown to
assign ownership of that directory to the database user account, then su to become the
database user to run initdb.
initdb must be run as the user that will own the server process, because the server needs
to have access to the files and directories that initdb creates. Since the server cannot
be run as root, you must not run initdb as root either. (It will in fact refuse to do so.)
initdb initializes the database cluster's default locale and character set encoding. The
character set encoding, collation order (LC_COLLATE) and character set classes (LC_CTYPE,
e.g. upper, lower, digit) can be set separately for a database when it is created. initdb
determines those settings for the template1 database, which will serve as the default for
all other databases.
To alter the default collation order or character set classes, use the --lc-collate and
--lc-ctype options. Collation orders other than C or POSIX also have a performance
penalty. For these reasons it is important to choose the right locale when running initdb.
The remaining locale categories can be changed later when the server is started. You can
also use --locale to set the default for all locale categories, including collation order
and character set classes. All server locale values (lc_*) can be displayed via SHOW ALL.
More details can be found in Section 22.1, "Locale Support", in the documentation.
To alter the default encoding, use the --encoding. More details can be found in Section
22.3, "Character Set Support", in the documentation.
-A authmethod, --auth=authmethod
This option specifies the authentication method for local users used in pg_hba.conf
(host and local lines). Do not use trust unless you trust all local users on your
system. trust is the default for ease of installation.
This option specifies the authentication method for local users via TCP/IP connections
used in pg_hba.conf (host lines).
This option specifies the authentication method for local users via Unix-domain socket
connections used in pg_hba.conf (local lines).
-D directory, --pgdata=directory
This option specifies the directory where the database cluster should be stored. This
is the only information required by initdb, but you can avoid writing it by setting
the PGDATA environment variable, which can be convenient since the database server
(postgres) can find the database directory later by the same variable.
-E encoding, --encoding=encoding
Selects the encoding of the template database. This will also be the default encoding
of any database you create later, unless you override it there. The default is derived
from the locale, or SQL_ASCII if that does not work. The character sets supported by
the PostgreSQL server are described in Section 22.3.1, "Supported Character Sets", in
Sets the default locale for the database cluster. If this option is not specified, the
locale is inherited from the environment that initdb runs in. Locale support is
described in Section 22.1, "Locale Support", in the documentation.
--lc-collate=locale, --lc-ctype=locale, --lc-messages=locale, --lc-monetary=locale,
Like --locale, but only sets the locale in the specified category.
Equivalent to --locale=C.
Makes initdb read the database superuser's password from a file. The first line of the
file is taken as the password.
-T CFG, --text-search-config=CFG
Sets the default text search configuration. See default_text_search_config for further
-U username, --username=username
Selects the user name of the database superuser. This defaults to the name of the
effective user running initdb. It is really not important what the superuser's name
is, but one might choose to keep the customary name postgres, even if the operating
system user's name is different.
Makes initdb prompt for a password to give the database superuser. If you don't plan
on using password authentication, this is not important. Otherwise you won't be able
to use password authentication until you have a password set up.
-X directory, --xlogdir=directory
This option specifies the directory where the transaction log should be stored.
Other, less commonly used, options are also available:
Print debugging output from the bootstrap backend and a few other messages of lesser
interest for the general public. The bootstrap backend is the program initdb uses to
create the catalog tables. This option generates a tremendous amount of extremely
Specifies where initdb should find its input files to initialize the database cluster.
This is normally not necessary. You will be told if you need to specify their location
By default, when initdb determines that an error prevented it from completely creating
the database cluster, it removes any files it might have created before discovering
that it cannot finish the job. This option inhibits tidying-up and is thus useful for
Print the internal settings, then exit.
Print the initdb version and exit.
Show help about initdb command line arguments, and exit.
Specifies the directory where the database cluster is to be stored; can be overridden
using the -D option.
This utility, like most other PostgreSQL utilities, also uses the environment variables
supported by libpq (see Section 31.14, "Environment Variables", in the documentation).
initdb can also be invoked via pg_ctl initdb.
PostgreSQL 9.2.7 2014-02-17 INITDB(1)