AWS Redshift compatible PostgreSQL client

How to install a PostgreSQL client (psql) that is compatible with AWS Redshift


Install psql

In order to use a version that is as much compatible as possible with Amazon Redshift you need version v8.0.2.

You can build it in few minutes.

Install requirements

sudo apt-get install make gcc libreadline-dev zlib1g-dev -y

Choose the directory where you want to install it, I recommend using

export PGROOT=/usr/local/

Then download it and build it with the following commands

cd /tmp
tar xf postgresql-8.0.2.tar.gz
cd postgresql-8.0.2
./configure --prefix=$PGROOT
sudo make install


Do not forget to add $PGROOT/bin to your $PATH: it should be already ok if you used the PGROOT recommended above.

Consider set your environment to point to your main database. For example I added to my ~/.bashrc something like

export PGPORT=5439
export PGDATABASE=mydb
export PGUSER=mydb_user
Redshift hostname. You can find it in the AWS console, look for Cluster Endpoint in your Redshift instance Configuration tab: it is something like PGPORT
5439, is default Redshift password. PGDATABASE
Your database name. PGUSER
Your database user name.
Do not use PGPASSWORD to set credentials, it is strongly recommended to use a pgpass file (read below).


It is a good choice to use a pgpass file to store passwords.

Create it,

touch ~/.pgpass
chmod 600 ~/.pgpass

and add lines in the following format


For instance

echo $PGHOST:$PGPORT:$PGDATABASE:$PGUSER:password >> ~/.pgpass

Then edit .pgpass and change password.

Now you can connect to the database just launching psql.

It is possible to have multiple lines since environment variables are read first, then password is grabbed from pgpass file.

Custom prompt

To display also the database user in the prompt, put the following line in your ~/.psqlrc

\set PROMPT1 '%n@%/=%# '

See also psql prompting for more choices.