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21.2. User Name Maps #

When using an external authentication system such as Ident or GSSAPI, the name of the operating system user that initiated the connection might not be the same as the database user (role) that is to be used. In this case, a user name map can be applied to map the operating system user name to a database user. To use user name mapping, specify map=map-name in the options field in pg_hba.conf. This option is supported for all authentication methods that receive external user names. Since different mappings might be needed for different connections, the name of the map to be used is specified in the map-name parameter in pg_hba.conf to indicate which map to use for each individual connection.

User name maps are defined in the ident map file, which by default is named pg_ident.conf and is stored in the cluster's data directory. (It is possible to place the map file elsewhere, however; see the ident_file configuration parameter.) The ident map file contains lines of the general forms:

map-name system-username database-username
include file
include_if_exists file
include_dir directory

Comments, whitespace and line continuations are handled in the same way as in pg_hba.conf. The map-name is an arbitrary name that will be used to refer to this mapping in pg_hba.conf. The other two fields specify an operating system user name and a matching database user name. The same map-name can be used repeatedly to specify multiple user-mappings within a single map.

As for pg_hba.conf, the lines in this file can be include directives, following the same rules.

There is no restriction regarding how many database users a given operating system user can correspond to, nor vice versa. Thus, entries in a map should be thought of as meaning this operating system user is allowed to connect as this database user, rather than implying that they are equivalent. The connection will be allowed if there is any map entry that pairs the user name obtained from the external authentication system with the database user name that the user has requested to connect as. The value all can be used as the database-username to specify that if the system-username matches, then this user is allowed to log in as any of the existing database users. Quoting all makes the keyword lose its special meaning.

If the database-username begins with a + character, then the operating system user can login as any user belonging to that role, similarly to how user names beginning with + are treated in pg_hba.conf. Thus, a + mark means match any of the roles that are directly or indirectly members of this role, while a name without a + mark matches only that specific role. Quoting a username starting with a + makes the + lose its special meaning.

If the system-username field starts with a slash (/), the remainder of the field is treated as a regular expression. (See Section for details of PostgreSQL's regular expression syntax.) The regular expression can include a single capture, or parenthesized subexpression, which can then be referenced in the database-username field as \1 (backslash-one). This allows the mapping of multiple user names in a single line, which is particularly useful for simple syntax substitutions. For example, these entries

mymap   /^(.*)@mydomain\.com$      \1
mymap   /^(.*)@otherdomain\.com$   guest

will remove the domain part for users with system user names that end with, and allow any user whose system name ends with to log in as guest. Quoting a database-username containing \1 does not make \1 lose its special meaning.

If the database-username field starts with a slash (/), the remainder of the field is treated as a regular expression (see Section for details of PostgreSQL's regular expression syntax). It is not possible to use \1 to use a capture from regular expression on system-username for a regular expression on database-username.


Keep in mind that by default, a regular expression can match just part of a string. It's usually wise to use ^ and $, as shown in the above example, to force the match to be to the entire system user name.

The pg_ident.conf file is read on start-up and when the main server process receives a SIGHUP signal. If you edit the file on an active system, you will need to signal the postmaster (using pg_ctl reload, calling the SQL function pg_reload_conf(), or using kill -HUP) to make it re-read the file.

The system view pg_ident_file_mappings can be helpful for pre-testing changes to the pg_ident.conf file, or for diagnosing problems if loading of the file did not have the desired effects. Rows in the view with non-null error fields indicate problems in the corresponding lines of the file.

A pg_ident.conf file that could be used in conjunction with the pg_hba.conf file in Example 21.1 is shown in Example 21.2. In this example, anyone logged in to a machine on the 192.168 network that does not have the operating system user name bryanh, ann, or robert would not be granted access. Unix user robert would only be allowed access when he tries to connect as PostgreSQL user bob, not as robert or anyone else. ann would only be allowed to connect as ann. User bryanh would be allowed to connect as either bryanh or as guest1.

Example 21.2. An Example pg_ident.conf File


omicron         bryanh                  bryanh
omicron         ann                     ann
# bob has user name robert on these machines
omicron         robert                  bob
# bryanh can also connect as guest1
omicron         bryanh                  guest1

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