PostgreSQL or Postgres is a powerful object-relational high-performance database management system (ORDBMS) published under a flexible BSD-style license. PostgreSQL is well suited for large databases and has many advanced features.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install and configure a PostgreSQL database server on FreeBSD. We will install the latest version of PostgreSQL 11 on the FreeBSD 12.0 system.


For this guide, we will use FreeBSD 12 with 2 GB of RAM memory and 2 CPUs. If you have a large deployment, you will need more than that. You will also need the root privileges for package installation.

Update and Upgrade Packages

Firstly, we will update the packages repositories and upgrade all packages to the latest version using the pkg package management tool for FreeBSD.

pkg update
pkg upgrade

Install PostgreSQL 11

In this step, we’re going to install the latest stable version PostgreSQL 11. By default, the FreeBSD repository provides multiple versions of PostgreSQL package. You can use the following command to check all available version of PostgreSQL packages.

pkg search postgresql

You will get multiple versions of PostgreSQL database server.

Now install the PostgreSQL 11 package using the command below.

pkg install postgresql11-server postgresql11-client

Next, we need to add the PostgreSQL service to the system boot and initialize the database before starting the service. Add the PostgreSQL to the system boot using the command below.

sysrc postgresql_enable=yes

Now initialize the PostgreSQL database, and then start the service, using the following commands

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql initdb
service postgresql start
service postgresql status

Verify the output of the last command gives a similar output:

root@bsdstation:/home/joe # service postgresql status
pg_ctl: server is running (PID: 1122)
/usr/local/bin/postgres "-D" "/var/db/postgres/data11"

The PostgreSQL service is up and running on FreeBSD 12.0. Additionally you can check the system port used by the PostgreSQL service using the sockstat command below. You should get the port 5432 is used by the PostgreSQL service.

sockstat -l4 -P tcp

Configure PostgreSQL Authentication

In this step, we’re going to set up the authentication method for PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL supports different authentication methods such as trust authentication (default), password-based authentication, Kerberos, GSSAPI, LDAP, RADIUS, and PAM. For this guide, we’re going to set up the password-based authentication using MD5. Go to the /var/db/postgresql/data11 directory, edit the pg_hba.conf file using a text editor.

cd /var/db/postgres/data11
vi pg_hba.conf

Now change the authentication method for all local connection to md5 as below, and add a line to allow external access to the database if needed.

# TYPE  DATABASE        USER            ADDRESS                 METHOD
# "local" is for Unix domain socket connections only
local   all             all                                     trust
# IPv4 local connections:
host    all             all               md5
# IPv6 local connections:
host    all             all             ::1/128                 md5
# External connections
host    all             all            md5

Save and close the file, and then restart the PostgreSQL service, enabling the password-based authentication using md5 for the PostgreSQL server.

service postgresql restart

Setup New User and Database

In this step, we’re going to set up a new user and database on PostgreSQL. We’re going to create a new password for default user postgres, and create a new user and database. Log in to the ‘postgres’ user using the command below.

su - postgres

Now login to the interactive PostgreSQL shell psql.


Then create a new password for the postgres user.

\password postgres

Next, we will create a new user called joe with the database joe_db. And the give privileges for the user to the database by running the following queries.


You can now exit from the PostgreSQL interactive shell with \q. As a result, the password for the default postgres user has been created. And the new user and database have been set up.

Testing connection

Log in to the postgres user and then run the psql command to get into the PostgreSQL interactive shell.

su - postgres

Show list users and database on the PostgreSQL server using the following queries. You will get the new user joe and the database joe_db on the result.


Type \q to exit from the psql shell. Next, we will log in using the created user joe to the database joe_db using the command below.

psql -U joe -d joe_db -W  

Type the joe password to continue. Now we will proceed to create a new table user_table and insert some data into it.

CREATE TABLE user_table (id INT, name TEXT, site TEXT);
INSERT INTO user_table (id, name, site) VALUES ( 1 , 'Joe the Man', '');

Show content of tables using the following query.

SELECT * FROM user_table; 

Finally, the installation and configuration of PostgreSQL 11 on the FreeBSD 12.0 system has been completed successfully.