psql FATAL database "root" does not exist

The Problem

When getting started with Postgres, you might come across this error: psql: FATAL: database "root" does not exist or psql: FATAL: database "<your user name>" does not exist. This can happen particularly when running psql with no arguments from your command line. The issue is that if you specify no arguments, psql assumes you want to access a database with the same name as your user name.

The Solution

If you are just setting up Postgres for the first time, you will need to use the postgres user to configure your database initially. Either do su - postgres in your command line to switch to that user, or log in as the postgres user on your computer.

Once you have the database set up, you can use the -d option to the psql command or append the database name after all the other psql options, e.g. psql -H myhost database.

Further Reading

If you’re looking to get a deeper understanding of how application monitoring works, take a look at the following articles:


Evan Hicks

Do you like corporate newsletters?

Neither do we. Sign up anyway.

Want more banter/opinions?

Follow @getsentry on twitter
© 2022 • Sentry is a registered Trademark
of Functional Software, Inc.