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How to install Postgresql 8.4 in a Vagrant box

2474931f864bd75089bfd026a75c87dfby Mario Zaizar|

Aug 11, 2011


If you don't know what Vagrant is, go read our first post about it


Ok, we've been using Vagrant to manage our servers and services for a while, and we love it. It's clean, easy and we don't mess with our original systems. Last week we started a new proyect that uses postgresql, so we tried doing the common apt-get install postgresql but nothing seemed to work, there is a chef recipe, but it looks like it has some issues and we didn't have enough time to do the research. In one word: Frustration.

So, what did we do?, we installed it with our bare hands, step by step.

Let's start!

Start your vagrant box.

you$ vagrant up
you$ vagrant ssh

1) Fixing the 'Please check that your locale settings' error

Seems like the current box from vagrant have issues with postgres & lang settings. Easy to fix..

vagrant$ sudo vim /etc/bash.bashrc

# Add this lines to the bottom:
export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8
export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8

Save & Exit. Then run these commands:

vagrant$ sudo locale-gen en_US.UTF-8
vagrant$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Ok, now your system has configured the default LANG. No more 'LANG=C' error.

2) Install postgres 8.4, and the comunity extras

vagrant$ sudo apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib; 

Add postgres's binaries to the PATH.

vagrant$ sudo nano /etc/bash.bashrc

# Add this lines to the file:
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/lib/postgresql/8.4/bin/
export PGDATA=/usr/local/pgsql/data

Save & Exit. Ok, now you can run postgres --version and other postgresql executables. Also, you've defined the default data folder, you will need that soon (1).

Setup postgres's user, and data folder.

Postgresql server should be started by his own system user, and it have been created by the installation but using a random password. Now you'll change that password.

Change postgres's password.

vagrant$ sudo su
root# passwd postgres
# Type a new password, like 'postgres'

Init postgres data structure, and create the storage folder

root# mkdir /usr/local/pgsql/data
root# chown postgres /usr/local/pgsql/data
root# su postgres

Init the data folder

postgres$ initdb -D /usr/local/pgsql/data

Note (1): Make sure this is the same directory as your PGDATA variable.

3) Enable remote connections

postgres$ vim /usr/local/pgsql/data/postgres.conf

# Change this `listen_address='localhost'` to

Save & exit.

Enable access from local network

postgres$ nano /usr/local/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf

# Vagrant uses like addresses
host all all trust

Save & exit.

Start server

vagrant$ su postgres
postgres$ postgres





  • You can stop the server pressing ctrl + C.
  • You can start the server in background using postgres$ postgres &
  • You must start postgresql using postgres user.
  • You could improve this post saying how to start postgresql as a service, would you?

GUI admin?

Now you can install tools like pgAdmin3 to manage your postgresql server and databases directly from your host. It's multiplatform and free.


Disclamer & feedback

Please note that all of these steps have been discovered by us entirely with some help of google's special powers... feel free to add comments if you know of a better way to do something, or if there is a mistake that need to be remarked. Also, if you are using Ubuntu, you probably won't need all of these steps, as Ubuntu provides the server with all the structure, and preconfigured files.

Also, we should write another post describing how to use a Chef recipe for this avoiding all this s**t... And it shall be called, The Easy Way, coming soon.

Stay tuned!

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