How to install PostgreSQL on Mac OS X

There are a number of ways to install Postgres on Mac, here’s three. While these instructions are for a clean install of Lion, they may work for Mountain Lion.


The easy option! Simply go to download, and double click – that’s it! It also includes PLV8 and PostGIS (see second comment below for details). If you want more info about the project, check out this

Postgres one click installer

Another easy option! This is a one click installer from The EnterpriseDB PostgreSQL Company. It includes PostgreSQL, pgAdmin, PL/Java and the PL/pgSQL debugger plugin. Note that this creates a new postgresql user on your system – you may or may not like that

To install, simply download and double click, from here.


Homebrew – the much loved “missing package manager for OS X”.

In terminal:

brew install postgresql

Then follow the instructions at the end, for me there were:

initdb /usr/local/var/postgres

mkdir -p ~/Library/LaunchAgents
cp /usr/local/Cellar/postgresql/9.1.4/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
  launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist

And these are handy to note

Or start manually with:
  pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres -l /usr/local/var/postgres/server.log start

And stop with:
  pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres stop -s -m fast

Which one to use?

If you want a quick an easy solution, the Postgresapp seems like a good choice – it just works. If you don’t mind a new user being created on your system them it might be worth trying the one click installer. If you already use Homebrew then that may be your preferred choice.

Personally I would go with the first or last choice as I’m not keen on having additional users on my system.

Install the pg gem

If you want to install the postgres gem, including ARCHFLAGS is recommended:

env ARCHFLAGS=”-arch x86_64″ gem install pg