20.2. File Locations
In addition to the
postgresql.conf file already mentioned, PostgreSQL uses two other manually-edited configuration files, which control client authentication (their use is discussed in Chapter 21). By default, all three configuration files are stored in the database cluster's data directory. The parameters described in this section allow the configuration files to be placed elsewhere. (Doing so can ease administration. In particular it is often easier to ensure that the configuration files are properly backed-up when they are kept separate.)
Specifies the directory to use for data storage. This parameter can only be set at server start.
Specifies the main server configuration file (customarily called
postgresql.conf). This parameter can only be set on the
Specifies the configuration file for host-based authentication (customarily called
pg_hba.conf). This parameter can only be set at server start.
Specifies the configuration file for user name mapping (customarily called
pg_ident.conf). This parameter can only be set at server start. See also Section 21.2.
Specifies the name of an additional process-ID (PID) file that the server should create for use by server administration programs. This parameter can only be set at server start.
In a default installation, none of the above parameters are set explicitly. Instead, the data directory is specified by the
-D command-line option or the
PGDATA environment variable, and the configuration files are all found within the data directory.
If you wish to keep the configuration files elsewhere than the data directory, the
-D command-line option or
PGDATA environment variable must point to the directory containing the configuration files, and the
data_directory parameter must be set in
postgresql.conf (or on the command line) to show where the data directory is actually located. Notice that
PGDATA for the location of the data directory, but not for the location of the configuration files.
If you wish, you can specify the configuration file names and locations individually using the parameters
config_file can only be specified on the
postgres command line, but the others can be set within the main configuration file. If all three parameters plus
data_directory are explicitly set, then it is not necessary to specify
When setting any of these parameters, a relative path will be interpreted with respect to the directory in which
postgres is started.