14th September 2023: PostgreSQL 16 Released!
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Character Types

SQL92 defines two primary character types: char and varchar. Postgres supports these types, in addition to the more general text type, which unlike varchar does not require an upper limit to be declared on the size of the field.

Table 8-5. Postgres Character Types

Character Type Storage Recommendation Description
char 1 byte SQL92-compatible Single character
char(n) (4+n) bytes SQL92-compatible Fixed-length blank padded
text (4+x) bytes Best choice Variable-length
varchar(n) (4+n) bytes SQL92-compatible Variable-length with limit

There is one other fixed-length character type. The name type only has one purpose and that is to provide Postgres with a special type to use for internal names. It is not intended for use by the general user. It's length is currently defined as 32 chars but should be reference using NAMEDATALEN. This is set at compile time and may change in a future release.

Table 8-6. Postgres Specialty Character Type

Character Type Storage Description
name 32 bytes Thirty-two character internal type