How to Change a PostgreSQL User Password: A Step-by-Step Guide

In the realm of databases, keeping things secure is absolutely crucial. A key piece of that security puzzle is making sure that user credentials, especially passwords, are regularly updated and follow strict security rules. PostgreSQL stands out as one of the most sophisticated open-source relational database systems out there, and a big part of keeping it secure involves carefully managing user passwords. That’s where database administrators come into play. In this guide, we’re going to show you, step by step, how to update a PostgreSQL user password. It’s all about making sure your database stays locked down and only the right people can get in.

Step 1: Log into PostgreSQL

First things first, to change a user’s password, you need to access your PostgreSQL database. This can be done via the command line. Open your terminal and enter the following command:

psql -U username -d databasename

Here, replace username with your actual PostgreSQL username and databasename with the name of the database you wish to connect to. This command assumes you’re operating on the local machine where PostgreSQL is hosted. If you’re connecting remotely, additional parameters like the host and port might be required.

Step 2: Changing the Password

Once you’ve successfully logged into the PostgreSQL database, you can proceed to change the user’s password with the ALTER USER command. The syntax is straightforward:

ALTER USER username WITH PASSWORD 'newpassword';

Make sure to replace username with the actual name of the user whose password you’re changing, and newpassword with the new password. Remember, it’s crucial to use a strong, secure password that meets your organization’s security guidelines.

Step 3: Exit PostgreSQL

After executing the ALTER USER command, your user’s password will be immediately updated. To exit the PostgreSQL command-line interface, simply type:


This will bring you back to your system’s command prompt.

Here is some tips

  • Password Complexity: Always choose passwords that are difficult to guess. Incorporate a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Quoting Passwords: In the ALTER USER command, ensure that the new password is enclosed in single quotes to avoid syntax errors.
  • Application Updates: If the user whose password you’ve changed is used by any applications to connect to the PostgreSQL database, remember to update the application’s configuration with the new password.
  • Permissions Awareness: Be mindful of who in your organization has the ability to change passwords and manage user roles within PostgreSQL. Restricting this ability to a few trusted administrators helps enhance security.