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34.17. The Connection Service File

The connection service file allows libpq connection parameters to be associated with a single service name. That service name can then be specified in a libpq connection string, and the associated settings will be used. This allows connection parameters to be modified without requiring a recompile of the libpq-using application. The service name can also be specified using the PGSERVICE environment variable.

Service names can be defined in either a per-user service file or a system-wide file. If the same service name exists in both the user and the system file, the user file takes precedence. By default, the per-user service file is located at ~/.pg_service.conf; this can be overridden by setting the environment variable PGSERVICEFILE. The system-wide file is named pg_service.conf. By default it is sought in the etc directory of the PostgreSQL installation (use pg_config --sysconfdir to identify this directory precisely). Another directory, but not a different file name, can be specified by setting the environment variable PGSYSCONFDIR.

Either service file uses an INI file format where the section name is the service name and the parameters are connection parameters; see Section 34.1.2 for a list. For example:

# comment
[mydb]
host=somehost
port=5433
user=admin

An example file is provided in the PostgreSQL installation at share/pg_service.conf.sample.

Connection parameters obtained from a service file are combined with parameters obtained from other sources. A service file setting overrides the corresponding environment variable, and in turn can be overridden by a value given directly in the connection string. For example, using the above service file, a connection string service=mydb port=5434 will use host somehost, port 5434, user admin, and other parameters as set by environment variables or built-in defaults.