pg_service.conf: The forgotten config file

02.2016 / Category: / Tags: |

Once in a while, I rediscover features in PostgreSQL which have been there for many many years, but which are so rarely used that people tend not to talk about them. One of those (in my experience) rarely-used features is the ability to create a file called "pg_service.conf".

The basic idea is to configure services in a config file and address them without having to worry about host, port, user and so on.

A simple pg_service.conf file

How does it work? Well, here's an example:

In this case two services have been defined. Note that PostgreSQL uses a standard .ini-file format. Inside a section you can use all connection parameters available in PostgreSQL (a full list can be found here:

The first important thing is that a service can be referenced by name. The way to do that is to set an environment variable:


A connection can now be established without passing parameters to psql:


Actually a pg_service.conf file is a pretty convenient thing to have. Maybe I should reconsider my behavior, and use this thing more often.

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7 years ago

Also, instead of export PGSERVICE you can swap services at psql invocation time in one line with PGSERVICE=myservice psql

7 years ago
Reply to  pabloedison

Even better, I came up with adding this to my .bashrc:

pg() { PGSERVICE=$1 psql


random blogger
random blogger
3 years ago

you can also do "psql service=hansservice" because libpq accepts a connection string in the database name parameter.

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