I am trying to create the postgresql database.

When I install PostgreSQL, I gave this command:

sudo yum install postgresql postgresql-server

and later I modified the config file:

sudo vim /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf

and modified as

local   all         all                               trust
host    all         all          trust
host    all         all         ::1/128               trust
host    all         all             md5

While I am trying to startup the postgresql service:

sudo service postgresql initdb

> Data directory is not empty!                               [FAILED]

sudo chkconfig postgresql on

sudo service postgresql start

Starting postgresql service:                               [  OK  ]

What is caused these errors and how do I fix them?


Initdb should only be run once. It will create the directory where you'll keep the config files and (usually) the actual database. You've obviously already done that already; otherwrise there wouldn't be any pg_hba.conf for you to edit.

So, just don't run postgresql initdb again, unless you are doing a complete reinstall.

  • thanks for the reply.. i run it twice... you mean the its not the problem in installation.. – sridhar May 8 '13 at 8:36
  • I mean that there is no problem with your installation, at least not any that you've shown. The only thing that is failing is doing initdb more than once, and that should fail - everything else shows as OK. If there's any other problem, it would help if you could describe it. – Jenny D May 8 '13 at 8:39
  • Thank you very much.. then its not a problem.. if i face a problem i will let you know.. – sridhar May 8 '13 at 8:47

From here:

If you're completely wiping & reinstalling a Postgres DB, when running initdb like:

service postgresql-9.2 initdb -E 'UTF8' --pgdata="/foo/bar/"

you can encounter this service error:

Data directory is not empty! [FAILED]

To fix it (and this is the nuclear option -- all db data is wiped!)

On Amazon Linux (2014-x):

rm -rf /var/lib/pgsql9/data

On CentOS (6.x)

rm -rf /var/lib/pgsql/9.2/data

Now try the initdb command again and it should work this time:

service postgresql-9.2 initdb


On systemd based systems like RHEL/CentOS 7 and Fedora the procedure for running initdb is somewhat different. This is no longer done by the init scripts (which no longer exist), and the new procedure is much closer to the upstream instructions.

You must first su to the postgres user, and then run initdb or pg_ctl initdb. It's not necessary to provide a data directory if you are using a Red Hat build as its default automatically chooses the default data directory /var/lib/pgsql.

For example:

# su - postgres
$ pg_ctl initdb
$ exit

Of course, you only do this once, on first installation, to set up the initial data directory. You would not do it again unless you were creating a completely new installation or restoring from a disaster.


I had the same issue, using PostgreSQL 9.3 on CentOS 6.

I deleted the /var/lib/pgsql/9.3/data folder, then re-ran the command

sudo service postgresql-9.3 initdb

... which successfully initialised the db service again.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.