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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 3 - Server Administration Guide
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 274 pages
ISBN 9781906966072
RRP £9.95 ($14.95)

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3.3.2 Client Connection Problems

Although the error conditions possible on the client side are quite varied and application-dependent, a few of them might be directly related to how the server was started. Conditions other than those shown below should be documented with the respective client application.

psql: could not connect to server: Connection refused
Is the server running on host "server.joe.com" and accepting 
  TCP/IP connections on port 5432?

This is the generic “I couldn't find a server to talk to” failure. It looks like the above when TCP/IP communication is attempted. A common mistake is to forget to configure the server to allow TCP/IP connections.

Alternatively, you'll get this when attempting Unix-domain socket communication to a local server:

psql: could not connect to server: No such file or directory
Is the server running locally and accepting connections on 
  Unix domain socket "/tmp/.s.PGSQL.5432"?

The last line is useful in verifying that the client is trying to connect to the right place. If there is in fact no server running there, the kernel error message will typically be either Connection refused or No such file or directory, as illustrated. (It is important to realize that Connection refused in this context does not mean that the server got your connection request and rejected it. That case will produce a different message, as shown in section 5.4 Authentication problems.) Other error messages such as Connection timed out might indicate more fundamental problems, like lack of network connectivity.

ISBN 9781906966072The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 3 - Server Administration GuideSee the print edition