Where are the files postgresql.conf and pg_hba.conf on a Linux server running PostgreSQL 8.4 installed from Ubuntu repos?

  • 4
    The problem is b/w the chair and the keyboard. It depends on how you installed it. Did you use source tar-gz file or did you use apt utility. If you download tar-gzipped file and installed it. The pg_hba.conf file does not exist yet unless you initialize your data directory. The INSTALL/Readme file has that info. You will find pg_hba.conf file in whatever you selected as your data directory. Secondly, if you used apt utility then you should find it in /etc/postgresql/8.4/main you can also do a 'find' on the filename but doing that on the entire disk is cpu-consuming. Jun 20, 2010 at 17:56
  • 1
    Installing from source to the default install location, you run the following: /usr/local/pgsql/bin/initdb -D /usr/local/pgsql/data before starting postgres and hba file will be created in that directory. Jun 20, 2010 at 17:59
  • in kubuntu v20.04 i used sudo updatedb and sudo locate pg_hba.conf
    – SL5net
    Jan 4, 2022 at 18:52

6 Answers 6


Looking for "pg_hba.conf ubuntu" on Google gives you


which shows the location of the files.

The documentation states the following:

Client authentication is controlled by a configuration file, which traditionally is named pg_hba.conf and is stored in the database cluster's data directory. (HBA stands for host-based authentication.) A default pg_hba.conf file is installed when the data directory is initialized by initdb. It is possible to place the authentication configuration file elsewhere, however; see the hba_file configuration parameter.

Note it says stored in the database cluster's data directory and that it's possible to place it elsewhere, via a configuration parameter. Official documentation cannot point you to a specific folder because the actual location depends on both how the OS maker and the machine's administrator have set PostgreSQL up. Remember PostgreSQL supports a lot of different operating systems (and Linux distributions.)

As Neutrino shows, if you can access your server via psql, you can tell it to show you the file location.

Also, two tips:

  1. locate will help you find files you know the name of but not the location
  2. Debian based distributions place under /usr/share/doc documentation on how they set up different packages by default, I'm sure you'll find under /usr/share/doc/postgresql-8.4 (or maybe just postgresql) info about the configuration files. Very useful to read in case they have modified some standard behavior.
  • 2
    Give a man a fish... blah blah, teach a man how to fish.. etc. The right way is to know how to have postgres tell you where the file is. Universally. show hba_file; in psql. See @neutrino's answer. Jul 17, 2019 at 10:20
  • If and only if you can access your running PostgreSQL instance. If your HBA file is messed up you might not be able to. I've linked to Neutrino's answer.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic
    Jul 18, 2019 at 8:32
  • How to find it at the remote server then? Apr 6, 2020 at 18:30

Open a command prompt.

> psql -U postgres
=# show hba_file;
=# show config_file

When they change the names of the config settings, or you want to see something else.

=# show all;





As Vinko said, the location is distribution-dependent. To add to his answer:

Your package management sofware will tell you where are the files installed by each package, (for example: dpkg -L postgresql).

You can also look inside the service startup script ( typically /etc/init.d/postgresql)


To see the configuration files from the terminal:

psql -U postgres -c 'SHOW hba_file'
psql -U postgres -c 'SHOW config_file'

To check the data directory:

echo $PGDATA 


psql -U postgres -c 'SHOW data_directory'

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