How to Connect to a PostgreSQL Database from Linux or Windows

February 22, 2024


PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database management system. Users can access PostgreSQL databases via an interactive terminal program, psql, or a graphical interface called pgAdmin.

These tools enable administrators to edit, automate, and execute database queries within PostgreSQL. Both programs are compatible with Linux and Windows.

Follow the steps in this guide to learn how to connect to a PostgreSQL database and start managing your tables and data sets.

Instructions to connect to a PostgreSQL database from Linux and Windows.


How to Access a PostgreSQL Database from Linux

PostgreSQL creates a default user account called postgres during the installation. Users can switch to this account to access PostgreSQL databases.

The examples in this guide are presented using Ubuntu 22.04. The same commands work in other Linux distributions.

Connect to PostgreSQL Database via SQL Shell (psql)

Enter the following command to open a bash shell and switch the current user context to the default postgres user:

sudo -i -u postgres
Connect to psql postgres user in Linux.

The same command applies if you have created a different user. Simply substitute the postgres user account name with the name of your existing user.

Note: Check out our in-depth article on different ways to create a Postgres user.

Use the following command to access psql, a terminal-based front-end to PostgreSQL:

Access psql shell in Linux.

To retrieve information about the current connection and user, type:

Connection info in psql shell.

The output helps you determine which user and database you are currently interacting with.

PostgreSQL can support and maintain multiple databases and users simultaneously. Enter the following command to list available users and databases:

List available PostgreSQL databases in Linux.

Use the \c command and the database name to connect to a different database owned by the postgres user:

\c template1
Connect to different database in psql.

In this example, the name of the database is template1. Enter the name of the database you want to connect to.

To exit the psql prompt, enter:


Use the exit command to leave the postgres Linux command prompt and return to your regular system user:

Exit the psql and PostgreSQL connection in Linux.

The logout message confirms the action.

Connect to PostgreSQL Database from Terminal

If all the components of your databases and users are correctly configured, you can bypass the intermediary bash shell and connect to PostgreSQL directly.

Use the following command to log into psql directly from the Linux terminal window:

sudo -u postgres psql

The -u (user) option causes sudo to run the specified command as a user other than root, specifically the postgres user.

Access PostgreSQL database from Linux command line.

As with the previous method, you can now work on databases by executing queries interactively. Enter \q to exit the prompt.

Connect to PostgreSQL Database via pgAdmin

PgAdmin 4 is a graphical front-end tool for PostgreSQL. It provides a visual, user-friendly environment with many practical database management solutions.

1. Open a web browser and enter the pgAdmin 4 instance URL. For example, if pgAdmin 4 is installed locally, type:



2. Enter your credentials to access the pgAdmin 4 dashboard.

Logging into pgAdmin 4 in Linux.

3. Click Add New Server on the Dashboard tab.

Add new server in pgAdmin 4 in Linux.

4. Open the General tab and enter a server name in the Name field.

Enter server name in pgAdmin 4 in Linux.

5. Access the Connection tab and enter the server's hostname and database user credentials.

Note: The Host name/address is the location of the machine where the PostgreSQL server is running.

6. Click Save to establish a database connection.

Connect to database server in pgAdmin 4 in Linux.

7. The interface provides an overview of the databases that your user account has access to. Press ALT+Shift+Q within the current database to enter and execute queries.

Execute queries in pgAdmin 4 Linux.

Note: Read our comprehensive guide if you need help creating new databases in PostgreSQL.

How to Access PostgreSQL Database from Windows

On headless servers, the most common way to access PostgreSQL from Windows is to use a terminal-based solution like psql.

In environments that support graphical tools, users can utilize pgAdmin 4 or other GUIs like DBeaver and Navicat.

Note: Before proceeding, ensure that you have installed PostgreSQL and added PostgreSQL's bin directory to the Windows PATH environment variable.

Connect to PostgreSQL Database via PowerShell

PowerShell is a built-in Windows shell capable of running standard psql commands. It also has advanced scripting capabilities that allow users to automate database management tasks.

1. Type PowerShell in the Windows Start menu and open the app.

Access PostgreSQL database using Windows Powershell.

2. Enter the psql command and specify the database name, username, and host:

psql -U [username] -d [database_name] -h [host]


  • [username] with your PostgreSQL database username.
  • [database_name] with the name of the database you want to connect to.
  • [host] with the hostname or IP address of the PostgreSQL server.

If the database is on a local machine, you can enter localhost. For example, to connect to a local database called phoenixnap, using the postgres user, enter:

psql -U postgres -d phoenixnap -h localhost

If the database is password protected, psql prompts for the password.

Accessing postgres database from Windows PowerShell.

You can now use standard psql commands to manage the database.

Note: The PostgreSQL server uses port 5432 by default. If your server is configured to use a custom port, add the -p [port] option to the psql command to specify the port number.

Type \q to close the connection and exit the psql session.

Connect to PostgreSQL Database via CMD

To connect to a PostgreSQL database from the Windows Command Prompt (CMD):

1. Type Command Prompt in the Windows search bar and launch the app.

Access Windows Command Prompt.

2. Enter the following command to initiate a session as the postgres user:

psql -U postgres

The system prompts you to enter the password for the postgres user. If you already created a different user, replace postgres in the command above with your PostgreSQL username.

Access PostgreSQL database from Windows CMD.

3. To list existing databases, use the \l meta-command:

Listing PostgreSQL databases in Windows.

4. To switch to a different database, type \c followed by the database name. For example, to connect to the template1 database, enter:

\c template1
Accessing a different database in PostgreSQL in Windows.

Replace template1 with the name of the database you wish to connect to.

Use the \q command to exit psql and return to the main CMD interface.

Access PostgreSQL Database via pgAdmin

When installing PostgreSQL on Windows, pgAdmin 4 is often included in the installation bundle.

This graphical interface provides an easy and user-friendly way to log in, administer, and shape databases to fit your requirements.

To access a database using pgAdmin 4:

1. Launch pgAdmin 4 from the Start Menu or double-click the desktop shortcut.

2. Select Add New Server in the Dashboard tab.

Access PostgreSQL database from Windows pgAdmin 4.

3. Enter the server name in the Name field in the General tab.

Enter PostgreSQL server name in Windows pgAdmin 4.

4. Add the necessary server information and credentials to the Connection tab. These include the PostgreSQL hostname/address, port, maintenance database, username, and password.

5. Click Save to establish a connection.

Connect to PostgreSQL database from Windows.

A list of servers and databases appear in the left navigation panel. To start querying a database, right-click a database and select the Query Tool option.

Query Tool option in pgAdmin 4.

The central field can be used to enter the SQL query.

Write SQL query in pgAdmin 4.

You can also press ALT+Shift+Q to start writing queries for the selected server.


This guide showed you how to connect to your PostgreSQL database on both Linux and Windows servers.

Establishing a connection is an essential first step. Next, explore querying and viewing data within databases using the PostgreSQL SELECT statement.

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Vladimir Kaplarevic
Vladimir is a resident Tech Writer at phoenixNAP. He has more than 7 years of experience in implementing e-commerce and online payment solutions with various global IT services providers. His articles aim to instill a passion for innovative technologies in others by providing practical advice and using an engaging writing style.
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