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21.2. Creating a Database

In order to create a database, the PostgreSQL server must be up and running (see Section 17.3).

Databases are created with the SQL command CREATE DATABASE:


where name follows the usual rules for SQL identifiers. The current role automatically becomes the owner of the new database. It is the privilege of the owner of a database to remove it later (which also removes all the objects in it, even if they have a different owner).

The creation of databases is a restricted operation. See Section 20.2 for how to grant permission.

Since you need to be connected to the database server in order to execute the CREATE DATABASE command, the question remains how the first database at any given site can be created. The first database is always created by the initdb command when the data storage area is initialized. (See Section 17.2.) This database is called postgres. So to create the first "ordinary" database you can connect to postgres.

A second database, template1, is also created during database cluster initialization. Whenever a new database is created within the cluster, template1 is essentially cloned. This means that any changes you make in template1 are propagated to all subsequently created databases. Because of this, avoid creating objects in template1 unless you want them propagated to every newly created database. More details appear in Section 21.3.

As a convenience, there is a program you can execute from the shell to create new databases, createdb.

createdb dbname

createdb does no magic. It connects to the postgres database and issues the CREATE DATABASE command, exactly as described above. The createdb reference page contains the invocation details. Note that createdb without any arguments will create a database with the current user name.

Note: Chapter 19 contains information about how to restrict who can connect to a given database.

Sometimes you want to create a database for someone else, and have him become the owner of the new database, so he can configure and manage it himself. To achieve that, use one of the following commands:

CREATE DATABASE dbname OWNER rolename;

from the SQL environment, or:

createdb -O rolename dbname

from the shell. Only the superuser is allowed to create a database for someone else (that is, for a role you are not a member of).