Adding a New User in PostgreSQL: A Step-by-step Guide


Managing databases can be a daunting task, but PostgreSQL makes it easy to handle. It is an open-source relational database management system that provides a high level of reliability, security, and performance. PostgreSQL also offers various features out-of-the-box such as support for JSON data, user-defined functions, and advanced indexing methods.

One critical aspect of managing PostgreSQL databases is controlling user privileges. As the database grows in size and complexity, it becomes essential to add new users with different roles and permissions to maintain the integrity of data while allowing users to access necessary information.

This article will provide you with a detailed step-by-step guide on how to add a new user in PostgreSQL. Whether you are an experienced database administrator or someone who is just starting with PostgreSQL, this guide will help you understand how users are managed in this system.

Explanation of PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL (often referred to as Postgres) is an open-source object-relational database management system that has been around since 1986. It was created by Michael Stonebraker at the University of California, Berkeley as an enhancement over the existing Ingres database management system.

PostgreSQL has become increasingly popular due to its robustness and scalability while maintaining excellent performance even on large-scale enterprise-level databases. It supports various programming languages such as C/C++, Java, Python, Ruby, Perl among others which make it accessible for developers working on different projects.

PostgreSQL follows the ACID (Atomicity Consistency Isolation Durability) properties that ensure transactions are processed accurately without any conflict with other transactions. The consistency also ensures that all related transactions happen correctly together in isolation from other changes within the system.

Importance of Adding New Users in PostgreSQL

As more people interact with your database over time, controlling access becomes paramount when it comes to security and maintaining order within your data infrastructure. Adding new users to your PostgreSQL database allows you to assign specific privileges and roles that help to ensure data integrity.

Having multiple users with different roles and permissions can also create a more organized workflow, as it enables the separation of responsibilities for executing tasks on the database. For instance, the developer can have read/write access to certain tables within the database while restricting their access to other data.

Furthermore, by creating user accounts with specific permissions and privileges, you can control the type of functionality that each user has access to. This will ensure that they do not accidentally cause any damage or negatively impact other aspects of your system.

Overview of The Step-By-Step Guide

This guide provides a comprehensive step-by-step process on how to add new users in PostgreSQL. The process involves preparing for adding a new user by determining its role and privileges, creating a new account with assigned password and granted permissions, configuring roles/permissions, testing the new user account for successful login and usability.

Each section in this guide provides an in-depth explanation of what you need to do at each stage of adding a new user. Additionally, we will provide examples using commands through PostgreSQL’s command-line interface (CLI) which is known as psql.

This guide offers beginners fundamental knowledge on how PostgreSQL works concerning managing users’ authorization for accessing data stored within it. Experienced Postgres administrators are likely familiar with many parts of this guide but will still find value in understanding our approach here.

Preparing to Add a New User

Accessing PostgreSQL command line interface

To add a new user in PostgreSQL, you need to access the command-line interface of the database. This can be done by opening up the terminal and typing in “psql”.

This will open up the PostgreSQL command-line interface. From there, you can start entering SQL commands that will allow you to create a new user and grant them permissions.

Checking existing users and their privileges

Before creating a new user in PostgreSQL, it’s important to check if there are any existing users and what their privileges are. You can do this by using the “\du” command in the PostgreSQL command-line interface. This will show you a list of all users that have been created in the database along with their roles and other relevant information.

You may also want to check which tables or schemas these existing users have access to, as this information can help you determine what level of access your new user needs. You can use commands like “\dt” or “\dS” to view all tables or schemas respectively and see which users have access to them.

Determining the new user’s role and privileges

Once you’ve checked for existing users and their privileges, it’s time to determine what role your new user should have and what privileges they should be granted. Roles in PostgreSQL allow you to group together certain permissions that are needed for specific tasks.

Commonly used roles include “read-only”, “read-write”, “superuser”, etc., each with different levels of access depending on your organization’s requirements. Determining these roles beforehand makes it easier for you to assign permissions later on when creating a new user account.

It is also important to determine which databases or schemas the new user should have access to. Keep in mind that granting too many privileges could potentially compromise security, so it’s important to assign only the necessary permissions for the user to perform their job effectively.

Creating a New User Account

To add a new user account in PostgreSQL, you will first need to log in to the PostgreSQL command line interface with an account that has sufficient privileges. Once logged in, you can use the CREATE USER command to create a new user.

The syntax for this command is as follows: “` CREATE USER username; “`

Replace “username” with the name of the new user you wish to create. By default, this will create a user with no password and no special privileges.

Syntax for Creating a New User Account

To specify additional options when creating a new user account, you can modify the CREATE USER command using various keywords and parameters. For example, you can specify a password for the new user using the PASSWORD keyword: “` CREATE USER username PASSWORD ‘password’; “`

Replace “password” with the desired password for the new user. You can also specify additional options such as login settings, connection limits, and more.

Assigning a Password to the New User Account

When creating a new user account in PostgreSQL, it is important to assign a strong password that meets certain security standards. This helps prevent unauthorized access and protects your database from potential attacks. To assign a password to the new user account using SQL commands, use the ALTER ROLE statement: “`

ALTER ROLE username WITH PASSWORD ‘password’; “` Replace “username” with the name of the target user and “password” with their desired password.

Granting Privileges to The New User Account

After creating and configuring your new PostgreSQL login role (account), it’s time to grant it some privileges so that it can interact with your databases in meaningful ways. For instance, if you want your newly created “webapp” role to have full access (read/write) on your “customers” table inside your “store” database, you can use the following command: “`

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON TABLE customers TO webapp; “` This command grants the webapp role all privileges (SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE) on the customers table only.

If you want to grant privileges to more than one table or even a whole schema (directory), you need to execute these commands consecutively. By following these steps and granting appropriate privileges, your new user account is now ready to interact with your PostgreSQL database.

Configuring User Roles and Permissions

Understanding user roles in PostgreSQL

In PostgreSQL, a role is an account that can own database objects and is used to control access to those objects. There are two types of roles: login roles and group roles. Login roles are used to log in to the database system, while group roles serve as containers for other roles or users.

PostgreSQL comes with several predefined roles, including superuser, which has all privileges on the system; postgres, which is the default superuser account; and public, which is a group role that contains all users by default. When creating a new user account in PostgreSQL, it’s important to assign appropriate role memberships based on the user’s responsibilities and access needs.

Assigning roles to the new user account

To assign a role to a new user account in PostgreSQL, use the ALTER ROLE command followed by the name of the role and its membership(s). For example, if you want to assign a login role named “exampleuser” membership in group role “examplegroup”, you would run: “` ALTER ROLE exampleuser IN GROUP examplegroup; “`

You can also use this command to remove a role from a group or change its membership(s). It’s important to consider carefully which groups and permissions each user should have before assigning them.

Configuring permissions for the new user account

Permissions in PostgreSQL control what actions users can perform on database objects such as tables or views. The GRANT command is used to give permissions to users or groups of users.

For example, if you want to allow “exampleuser” SELECT access on table “exampletable”, you would run: “` GRANT SELECT ON TABLE exampletable TO exampleuser; “`

When granting permissions for a new user account in PostgreSQL, it’s important not only to grant the appropriate access but also to deny any unnecessary or potentially harmful access. Be sure to review existing permissions and revoke any that are no longer needed.

Understanding user roles and permissions is crucial when adding new users to a PostgreSQL database. By carefully assigning roles and configuring permissions for each user, you can ensure that they have the appropriate level of access while maintaining the security of your system.

Testing the New User Account

Once you have created a new user account in PostgreSQL and configured their roles and permissions, it is important to test that the new user can actually access the database. This step will ensure that you have set up the user account correctly and that there are no errors or issues with their privileges. To test the new user account, you can log out of your current session and log in as the new user using their username and password.

This will give you an idea of what level of access they have to PostgreSQL. You should also check whether they can run SQL queries on all tables, views, functions, etc., depending on their assigned permissions.

Verifying That The New User Can Access PostgreSQL

The first step in testing your new user account is to verify that they can actually access PostgreSQL. You can check this by logging out of your current session and logging in as the new user using their username and password. Once you have logged in as the new user, type “\l” (without quotes) into the command line interface to list all available databases.

If your database appears on this list, then the new user has been granted permission to access it. If you get an error message saying “permission denied”, then it means that either the login credentials are incorrect or there is an issue with your permissions settings for this particular database.

Testing That All Assigned Permissions Are Working As Expected

The second step in testing your new user account is to ensure that all assigned permissions are working properly so that they cannot see or modify any data outside of what they’re supposed to be able to access. You can check if all assigned permissions are working by running various SQL queries such as “SELECT”, “INSERT”, “UPDATE” or “DELETE” commands on different tables within your database. If some permissions do not work well for certain tables or views, you can modify the permissions using the ALTER command.

On the other hand, if some permissions work too well and allow unintended access to sensitive data, you should revoke these privileges immediately. Make sure to repeat this process several times with different types of SQL queries and table names to ensure that all assigned permissions are working as expected for your new user account in PostgreSQL.


Adding a new user in PostgreSQL is an essential part of database administration. This step-by-step guide has covered the process in detail, from preparing to add the new user to testing their account. By following these steps, you can ensure that your new user has the proper permissions and roles necessary to do their job effectively.

Summary of Key Points Covered in this Guide

We started by explaining what PostgreSQL is and why adding a new user is important. Then we covered how to prepare for creating a new user by accessing the PostgreSQL command line interface and checking existing users’ privileges. We also reviewed how to create a new account by assigning a password and granting appropriate privileges.

We then delved into configuring user roles and permissions, including assigning roles and configuring permissions for the new user account. We tested the new user account to verify that it can access PostgreSQL correctly.

The Importance of Following Proper Security Protocols When Adding a New User

It’s essential to follow proper security protocols when adding a new user account in any system or application. In PostgreSQL, you need to ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive data or perform critical tasks on the database system. This means following best practices such as using strong passwords, limiting access based on roles and permissions, and regularly reviewing accounts with elevated privileges.

Resources for Further Learning on PostgreSQL Administration

If you want to learn more about administrating PostgreSQL or deepen your understanding of database systems in general, there are many resources available online. The official PostgreSQL website offers extensive documentation on all aspects of administration, from installation guides to advanced configuration options. There are also many online courses available through platforms such as Udemy or Coursera that cover basic through advanced topics in database administration.

Consider joining the PostgreSQL community to connect with other users, ask questions, and share your knowledge. The PostgreSQL community is active and supportive, with many resources available to help you succeed in using and administrating this powerful database system.

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