How to Check PostgreSQL Version: Your Quick and Easy Guide

By Cristian G. Guasch • Updated: 09/22/23 • 8 min read

If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself needing to check the version of your PostgreSQL database at some point. Maybe it’s because an application isn’t behaving as expected, or perhaps you’re planning an upgrade and want to ensure compatibility. Whatever the reason, knowing how to find this crucial piece of information is a fundamental skill for any database administrator.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to check your PostgreSQL version. We’re going to cover various methods suited for different scenarios – whether you have shell access or only SQL command-line access. By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped with all the knowledge required to easily determine the version number of your PostgreSQL installation.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive right in! Remember that these steps will work across multiple platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems. It doesn’t matter where your database resides; we’ve got it covered! So keep reading if you need help figuring out which version of PostgreSQL is running on your server.

Understanding the Importance of PostgreSQL Version

I can’t overstate the importance of knowing your PostgreSQL version. It’s like having a roadmap to navigate an unfamiliar city. Without it, you’re prone to miss out on important features or encounter unexpected bugs.

For starters, understanding your PostgreSQL version helps you avoid compatibility issues. Different versions may not play well with each other due to changes in syntax or functionality. For instance, let’s say you’re using a specific SQL command that works perfectly in your local development environment, but when deployed into production, it crashes and burns! The culprit? A difference in PostgreSQL versions.

Here’s how you might check your PostgreSQL version:

$ psql -V

This should return something like this:

psql (PostgreSQL) 13.3

The number after “PostgreSQL” is the version number.

Moreover, being aware of your PostgreSQL version lets you leverage newer features and improvements. As open-source software, PostgreSQL continually evolves thanks to its dedicated community of developers worldwide. Each new release generally comes with performance boosts and additional capabilities which could be game-changing for your projects.

Another key point is security implications. Older versions are more likely to have unresolved vulnerabilities that malicious actors could exploit; staying updated helps mitigate these risks.

Finally yet importantly is the support aspect: older versions tend to lose official assistance over time as focus shifts towards supporting fresher releases – another compelling reason for keeping tabs on your current edition.

However, mistakes happen all too often when checking one’s PostgreSQL version. One common error is confusing the client library libpq’s version with that of the server itself – they’re two different entities!

So there we have it! Knowing how essential it is to understand our PostgreSQL edition brings us one step closer towards becoming savvy database administrators.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Check PostgreSQL Version

Ever wondered how to confirm the version of your PostgreSQL? I’m going to walk you through it. A key aspect of managing any software is being aware of its version. It’s critical for compatibility, updates or even when seeking support. Here’s a simple guide on how to check your PostgreSQL version.

Firstly, you need access to your server where PostgreSQL is installed. This could be a local machine or a remote server. Make sure you have necessary permissions too! Next, fire up your command line interface (CLI). For windows users, this might be PowerShell or Command Prompt while Linux and MacOS users would use Terminal.

Here’s the magic command:

psql -V

That’s right! Just type psql -V (case-sensitive) and hit enter. Your CLI should output something similar to psql (PostgreSQL) 13.2, with ‘13.2’ being the version number.

But wait, what if psql isn’t recognized as a command? Don’t panic! That usually means PostgreSQL wasn’t added to PATH during installation. You’ll need to navigate directly into the bin directory of PostgreSQL install folder using cd.

cd /usr/local/pgsql/bin 
./psql -V

Just replace ‘/usr/local/pgsql/bin’ with your actual path!

Sometimes, folks try typing PSQL -V instead of psql -V. Remember it’s case sensitive! Others forget about adding it in their PATH and wonder why they can’t find it straight off the bat.

So there you go! Easy peasy lemon squeezy way of checking which version of PostgreSQL is running on your system.

Common Issues When Checking PostgreSQL Version

Sometimes, it’s not as simple as we’d like to check the PostgreSQL version. You might encounter a few challenges along the way. Let’s dive into some of these common issues and how you can navigate around them.

First off, an error that often pops up is ‘psql: command not found’. This issue likely means that PostgreSQL isn’t installed on your system or the path to psql binary isn’t set correctly. To rectify this, you’ll need to install PostgreSQL or add its path to your system’s PATH variable. Here’s a sample command using homebrew for installation:

brew install postgresql

And here’s how you can add the path:

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/pgsql/bin/

Another problem users face is seeing an incorrect version displayed when running ‘SELECT VERSION();’. This could be due to multiple versions of PostgreSQL installed on your machine, with different instances running simultaneously. The remedy? Specify the exact database while executing the query or stop all other running instances.

Next up is getting an authentication error while trying to check the version number. This typically occurs when incorrect credentials are provided or if there are stricter security settings enabled on your server. It’s always essential to ensure that you’re using correct login details and have necessary permissions.

Lastly, sometimes, despite entering correct commands and credentials, users find themselves staring at an unresponsive terminal — another common snag. In such cases, it might be due to network connectivity issues or problems with your server itself.

In conclusion, checking a PostgreSQL version isn’t always smooth sailing – but don’t worry! With this guide at hand and a little patience, you’ll soon become adept at tackling any obstacle that comes your way.

Tips to Troubleshoot PostgreSQL Version Errors

Navigating through PostgreSQL can be a daunting task, especially when you’re encountering version errors. But fear not, I’ve got some handy tips that’ll help you sail smoothly.

Firstly, it’s essential to ensure that your PATH variable is set correctly. This common mistake often leads to users running the wrong version without realizing it. Here’s what your command should look like:

export PATH=/usr/local/pgsql/bin:$PATH

Replace /usr/local/pgsql/bin with the path where your desired PostgreSQL version resides.

Secondly, if you’re still getting errors after setting your PATH variable correctly, then there might be multiple versions of PostgreSQL installed on your system. It’s easy for things to get messy here; hence it’s recommended to only keep the version you need and remove the rest. You can check for multiple installations by using this command:

ps -ef | grep postgres

If there are multiple entries shown, it means there are several versions installed.

Thirdly, configuration issues can also lead to trouble. PostgreSQL uses two main configuration files: postgresql.conf and pg_hba.conf. If these files aren’t configured properly or if they’re in conflicting states between different versions of PostgreSQL on your machine, errors may arise.

Lastly but importantly, always make sure you’ve updated all necessary drivers associated with PostgreSQL. Outdated drivers can cause incompatibility issues with newer versions of the software.


  • Always verify PATH variable.
  • Keep an eye out for multiple installations.
  • Ensure correct configuration.
  • Update drivers regularly.

By adhering to these simple but effective pointers, troubleshooting PostgreSQL version errors won’t seem like a herculean task anymore!

Conclusion: Staying Updated with Your PostgreSQL Version

Knowing how to check your PostgreSQL version is vital. It’s not just about keeping up with the latest updates and features. More importantly, it’s about ensuring your system remains secure and efficient. So let me share some final thoughts on this topic.

First off, remember that checking your PostgreSQL version should be a routine task. Technologies evolve fast – staying updated ensures you’re leveraging the best that PostgreSQL has to offer.

Let’s take a quick recap:

  1. SELECT version(); — A simple SQL query in your psql command line.
  2. psql --version or postgres -V — Basic terminal commands for UNIX systems.
  3. Check logs or documentation — Usually more time-consuming but reliable if other methods fail.

Make sure you’re running these checks consistently, and keep track of any changes or updates.

When it comes to common mistakes, I’ve seen many overlook the case sensitivity of command lines – remember that ‘V’ is not the same as ‘v’. Misplacing hyphens can also lead to errors; so double-check those commands before hitting enter!

Another tip I’d like to add is always ensure compatibility between your PostgreSQL version and other software in use. This helps prevent potential conflicts or performance issues down the line.

To conclude, staying updated with your PostgreSQL version isn’t rocket science – it just requires a bit of attention and diligence from your end. With these tips at hand, I’m confident you’ll manage this aspect effortlessly!

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