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PostgreSQL Reference Manual - Volume 3 - Server Administration Guide
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 204 pages
ISBN 0954612043
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7.1 The pg_hba.conf file

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.

The general format of the ‘pg_hba.conf’ file is a set of records, one per line. Blank lines are ignored, as is any text after the # comment character. A record is made up of a number of fields which are separated by spaces and/or tabs. Fields can contain white space if the field value is quoted. Records cannot be continued across lines.

Each record specifies a connection type, a client IP address range (if relevant for the connection type), a database name, a user name, and the authentication method to be used for connections matching these parameters. The first record with a matching connection type, client address, requested database, and user name is used to perform authentication. There is no “fall-through” or “backup”: if one record is chosen and the authentication fails, subsequent records are not considered. If no record matches, access is denied.

A record may have one of the seven formats

local database user auth-method [auth-option]
host database user CIDR-address auth-method [auth-option]
hostssl database user CIDR-address auth-method [auth-option]
hostnossl database user CIDR-address auth-method [auth-option]
host database user IP-address IP-mask auth-method [auth-option]
hostssl database user IP-address IP-mask auth-method
 [auth-option]
hostnossl database user IP-address IP-mask auth-method
 [auth-option]

The meaning of the fields is as follows:

local
This record matches connection attempts using Unix-domain sockets. Without a record of this type, Unix-domain socket connections are disallowed.
host
This record matches connection attempts made using TCP/IP. host records match either SSL or non-SSL connection attempts.

Note: Remote TCP/IP connections will not be possible unless the server is started with an appropriate value for the listen_addresses configuration parameter, since the default behavior is to listen for TCP/IP connections only on the local loopback address localhost.

hostssl
This record matches connection attempts made using TCP/IP, but only when the connection is made with SSL encryption. To make use of this option the server must be built with SSL support. Furthermore, SSL must be enabled at server start time by setting the ssl configuration parameter (see section 3.7 Secure TCP/IP Connections with SSL for more information).
hostnossl
This record type has the opposite logic to hostssl: it only matches connection attempts made over TCP/IP that do not use SSL.
database
Specifies which database names this record matches. The value all specifies that it matches all databases. The value sameuser specifies that the record matches if the requested database has the same name as the requested user. The value samerole specifies that the requested user must be a member of the role with the same name as the requested database. (samegroup is an obsolete but still accepted spelling of samerole.) Otherwise, this is the name of a specific PostgreSQL database. Multiple database names can be supplied by separating them with commas. A separate file containing database names can be specified by preceding the file name with @.
user
Specifies which database user names this record matches. The value all specifies that it matches all users. Otherwise, this is either the name of a specific database user, or a group name preceded by +. (Recall that there is no real distinction between users and groups in PostgreSQL; a + mark really means “match any of the roles that are directly or indirectly members of this role”, while a name without a + mark matches only that specific role.) Multiple user names can be supplied by separating them with commas. A separate file containing user names can be specified by preceding the file name with @.
CIDR-address
Specifies the client machine IP address range that this record matches. It contains an IP address in standard dotted decimal notation and a CIDR mask length. (IP addresses can only be specified numerically, not as domain or host names.) The mask length indicates the number of high-order bits of the client IP address that must match. Bits to the right of this must be zero in the given IP address. There must not be any white space between the IP address, the /, and the CIDR mask length. Typical examples of a CIDR-address are 172.20.143.89/32 for a single host, or 172.20.143.0/24 for a small network, or 10.6.0.0/16 for a larger one. To specify a single host, use a CIDR mask of 32 for IPv4 or 128 for IPv6. In a network address, do not omit trailing zeroes. An IP address given in IPv4 format will match IPv6 connections that have the corresponding address, for example 127.0.0.1 will match the IPv6 address ::ffff:127.0.0.1. An entry given in IPv6 format will match only IPv6 connections, even if the represented address is in the IPv4-in-IPv6 range. Note that entries in IPv6 format will be rejected if the system's C library does not have support for IPv6 addresses. This field only applies to host, hostssl, and hostnossl records.
IP-address
IP-mask
These fields may be used as an alternative to the CIDR-address notation. Instead of specifying the mask length, the actual mask is specified in a separate column. For example, 255.0.0.0 represents an IPv4 CIDR mask length of 8, and 255.255.255.255 represents a CIDR mask length of 32. These fields only apply to host, hostssl, and hostnossl records.
auth-method
Specifies the authentication method to use when connecting via this record. The possible choices are summarized here; details are in section 7.2 Authentication methods.
trust
Allow the connection unconditionally. This method allows anyone that can connect to the PostgreSQL database server to login as any PostgreSQL user they like, without the need for a password. See section 7.2.1 Trust authentication for details.
reject
Reject the connection unconditionally. This is useful for “filtering out” certain hosts from a group.
md5
Require the client to supply an MD5-encrypted password for authentication. See section 7.2.2 Password authentication for details.
crypt

Note: This option is recommended only for communicating with pre-7.2 clients.

Require the client to supply a crypt()-encrypted password for authentication. md5 is now recommended over crypt. See section 7.2.2 Password authentication for details.
password
Require the client to supply an unencrypted password for authentication. Since the password is sent in clear text over the network, this should not be used on untrusted networks. It also does not usually work with threaded client applications. See section 7.2.2 Password authentication for details.
krb5
Use Kerberos V5 to authenticate the user. This is only available for TCP/IP connections. See section 7.2.3 Kerberos authentication for details.
ident
Obtain the operating system user name of the client (for TCP/IP connections by contacting the ident server on the client, for local connections by getting it from the operating system) and check if the user is allowed to connect as the requested database user by consulting the map specified after the ident key word. See section 7.2.4 Ident-based authentication for details.
ldap
Authenticate using LDAP to a central server. See section 7.2.5 LDAP authentication for details.
pam
Authenticate using the Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) service provided by the operating system. See section 7.2.6 PAM authentication for details.
auth-option
The meaning of this optional field depends on the chosen authentication method. Details appear below.

Files included by @ constructs are read as lists of names, which can be separated by either whitespace or commas. Comments are introduced by #, just as in ‘pg_hba.conf’, and nested @ constructs are allowed. Unless the file name following @ is an absolute path, it is taken to be relative to the directory containing the referencing file.

Since the ‘pg_hba.conf’ records are examined sequentially for each connection attempt, the order of the records is significant. Typically, earlier records will have tight connection match parameters and weaker authentication methods, while later records will have looser match parameters and stronger authentication methods. For example, one might wish to use trust authentication for local TCP/IP connections but require a password for remote TCP/IP connections. In this case a record specifying trust authentication for connections from 127.0.0.1 would appear before a record specifying password authentication for a wider range of allowed client IP addresses.

The ‘pg_hba.conf’ file is read on start-up and when the main server process receives a SIGHUP signal. If you edit the file on an active system, you will need to signal the server (using pg_ctl reload or kill -HUP) to make it re-read the file.

Tip: To connect to a particular database, a user must not only pass the ‘pg_hba.conf’ checks, but must have the CONNECT privilege for the database. If you wish to restrict which users can connect to which databases, it's usually easier to control this by granting/revoking CONNECT privilege than to put the rules into ‘pg_hba.conf’ entries.

Some examples of ‘pg_hba.conf’ entries are shown in section 7.1 The pg_hba.conf file. See the next section for details on the different authentication methods.

Example pg_hba.conf entries:

# Allow any user on the local system to connect to any
# database under any database user name using
# Unix-domain sockets (the default for local
# connections).
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
local   all         all                               trust

# The same using local loopback TCP/IP connections.
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
host    all         all         127.0.0.1/32          trust

# The same as the last line but using a separate
# netmask column
#
# TYPE DATABASE USER IP-ADDRESS IP-MASK METHOD
host all all 127.0.0.1 255.255.255.255 trust

# Allow any user from any host with IP address
# 192.168.93.x to connect to database "postgres" as the
# same user name that ident reports for the connection
# (typically the Unix user name).
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
host postgres all 192.168.93.0/24 ident sameuser

# Allow a user from host 192.168.12.10 to connect to
# database "postgres" if the user's password is
# correctly supplied.
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
host    postgres    all         192.168.12.10/32      md5

# In the absence of preceding "host" lines, these two
# lines will reject all connection from 192.168.54.1
# (since that entry will be matched first), but allow
# Kerberos 5 connections from anywhere else on the
# Internet. The zero mask means that no bits of the
# host IP address are considered so it matches any
# host.
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
host    all         all         192.168.54.1/32       reject
host    all         all         0.0.0.0/0             krb5

# Allow users from 192.168.x.x hosts to connect to any
# database, if they pass the ident check. If, for
# example, ident says the user is "bryanh" and he
# requests to connect as PostgreSQL user "guest1", the
# connection is allowed if there is an entry in
# pg_ident.conf for map "omicron" that says "bryanh" is
# allowed to connect as "guest1".
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
host all all 192.168.0.0/16 ident omicron

# If these are the only three lines for local
# connections, they will allow local users to connect
# only to their own databases (databases with the same
# name as their database user name) except for
# administrators and members of role "support", who may
# connect to all databases. The file $PGDATA/admins
# contains a list of names of administrators. Passwords
# are required in all cases.
#
# TYPE  DATABASE    USER        CIDR-ADDRESS          METHOD
local   sameuser    all                               md5
local   all         @admins                           md5
local   all         +support                          md5

# The last two lines above can be combined into a
# single line:
local   all         @admins,+support                  md5

# The database column can also use lists and file
# names:
local   db1,db2,@demodbs  all                         md5
ISBN 0954612043PostgreSQL Reference Manual - Volume 3 - Server Administration GuideSee the print edition