Correct way to install psql without full Postgres on macOS?

brew install psql
install psql mac
install psql client mac
psql command not found mac
brew install postgres 11
postgres client mac
is postgres installed on my mac

Official page do not mention such case. But many users need only psql without a local database (I have it on AWS). Brew do not have psql.

You could also use homebrew to install libpq.

brew install libpq

This would give you psql, pg_dump and a whole bunch of other client utilities without installing Postgres.

You then add the installation directory to your path. In my case, the directory location is:


A installation guide for a PostgreSQL on MacOS setup for having a SQL The checklist is not comprehensive, though, as it is used for several  Testing your PostgreSQL installation on Windows. After you are done installing PostgreSQL, you can verify if the installation was correct or not. For this, simply press the Windows button from your keyboard and type psql. Select the option that says SQL Shell (psql).

Homebrew only really has the postgres formula, and doesn't have any specific formula that only installs the psql tool.

So the "correct way" to get the psql application is indeed to install the postgres formula, and you'll see toward the bottom of the "caveats" section that it doesn't actually run the database, it just puts the files on your system:

$  brew install postgres
==> Downloading
######################################################################## 100.0%
==> Pouring postgresql-9.6.5.sierra.bottle.tar.gz
==> /usr/local/Cellar/postgresql/9.6.5/bin/initdb /usr/local/var/postgres
==> Caveats
To have launchd start postgresql now and restart at login:
  brew services start postgresql
Or, if you don't want/need a background service you can just run:
  pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres start
==> Summary
🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/postgresql/9.6.5: 3,269 files, 36.7MB

Now you can use psql to connect to remote Postgres servers, and won't be running a local one, although you could if you really wanted to.

To verify that the local postgres daemon isn't running, check your installed homebrew services:

$ brew services list
Name       Status  User Plist
mysql      stopped      
postgresql stopped      

If you don't have Homebrew Services installed, just

$ brew tap homebrew/services

...and you'll get this functionality. For more information on Homebrew Services, read this excellent blog post that explains how it works.

macOS without the macOS Server add-on installed includes only the PostgreSQL Minor updates are provided by Apple, but not necessarily right after a new PostgreSQL for PostgreSQL on macOS, which is the recommended way to install. There are many guides around for installing and running postgres on macOS/OSX, a lot of them are old and almost all of them do something drastically differently. This is my process for installing and managing a postgres install which follows as closely to the official postgres docs as I can.

libpq 11.2 MacOS & zsh or bash

below works

  1. install libpq
brew install libpq
  1. update PATH

    if use zsh:

    echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/libpq/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.zshrc
    source ~/.zshrc

    if use bash:

    echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/libpq/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    source ~/.bash_profile

The following instructions to install PostgreSQL are based on macOS. For Windows and It should not differ a lot, especially past the installation phase. On macOS Right after we log in to PostgreSQL! Go back to Download my free books, and check out my upcoming Full-Stack JavaScript Bootcamp! The database will be initialized during installation, so there isn’t a need to run initdbto finish installation of Postgres via Homebrew. Near the end of the installation instructions you should see mention of the command brew services. If you don’t already have brew servicesinstalled.

Install libpq:

 brew install libpq

Then, create a symlink:

ln -s /usr/local/opt/libpq/bin/psql /usr/local/bin/psql

Hope it helps.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to install PostgreSQL on two different PostgreSQL, you can verify if the installation was correct or not. Now you can use psql to connect to remote Postgres servers, and won't be running a local one, although you could if you really wanted to. To verify that the local postgres daemon isn't running, check your installed homebrew services: $ brew services list Name Status User Plist mysql stopped postgresql stopped.

If you truly don't need postgresql then you don't even have to alter your path to use libra, just link libpq. The docs say the only reason it isn't is to avoid conflicts with the PostgreSQL package.

brew uninstall postgresql
brew install libpq
brew link --force libpq

(In a terminal, run locate psql | grep /bin , and make note of the path. Appears "​the way" to install the client, if you want to use hombrew, is: Apparently there's no way of using psql without installing the whole database engine. AFAIK, doesn't support connections via Unix sockets (I am not sure what this is. The installer is designed to be a straightforward, fast way to get up and running with PostgreSQL on macOS. Advanced users can also download a zip archive of the binaries, without the installer. This download is intended for users who wish to include PostgreSQL as part of another application installer.

How to Start PostgreSQL Server on Mac OS X via Homebrew We won't go through the entire (albeit short) installation process of Homebrew, Note: Double-check that the command is correct: It should've been part of the installation To manually startup Postgres without rebooting, again you should be able to use the  However this tool is set of plpgsql functions, which means should you be able to install it directly without declaring an extension. Here's a few steps to try it out: $ git clone $ make anon_standalone.sql $ psql .. -f anon_standalone.sql.

Note: That this only installs the psql client and not the PostgreSQL database. Install Windows 10. We recommend using the installer from  Joey Adam's solution is correct, but has become slightly dated with postgres 9.1: I did the following differently from his post: Instead of using postgresql-server-devel, I ran 'sudo port install postgresql91-server' (the former has been replaced by the latter)

Here the intention is to teach how to do this on Mac only and using homebrew, if you are not But still is I believe that does not satisfy your basic needs, that is, have this By now we have postgresql installed, but still can be easier right, Short introduction about this “alias” it's a way to create shortcut's to  Upgraded 10.6 from 10.5 and now postgres 8.1 is whacked. To make things worse I tried installing 8.4 which I'm pretty sure just made things ten times worse. Anyhow, the exception I'm getting when I try to fire postgres up and just createuser is this:

  • Why do you think there exists a "correct way" to do this, given that you linked to the official download page, which says there isn't a way?
  • For those on MacPorts, here's what I did:…
  • @Ssswift It doesn't say there isn't a way, just doesn't say there is a way.
  • Works like a charm after creating symlink: ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/libpq/10.3/bin/psql /usr/local/bin/psql
  • You could also do brew link --force libpq but that will create a bunch of other symlinks you may not want/need.
  • symlinks du jour ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/libpq/11.3/bin/psql /usr/local/bin/psql / ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/libpq/11.3/bin/pg_dump /usr/local/bin/pg_dump / ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/libpq/11.3/bin/pg_restore /usr/local/bin/pg_restore
  • Symlinks that do not depend on libpq version: for cmd in psql pg_dump pg_restore; do ln -s ../opt/libpq/bin/$cmd /usr/local/bin/$cmd; done
  • This doesn't actually answer the question, which boils down to "how do I install psql (and maybe other postgres utilities) WITHOUT installing postgres". @PPS's answer is the correct one.
  • IMO, this is the better option because it doesn't require the brew link step. Forcing the link with libpq is necessary due to the keg_only declaration in the formula. Given this specific complication, I stand by this answer as being the "correct" way to do what the question asks. I recognize that many users will still prefer the libpq approach though.
  • echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/libpq/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile if you're using bash.
  • @HenryC yep, thanks, bash is much more common, my answer was based on zsh.
  • This works for me.
  • brew install postgresql install psql with database itself :(