Getting Started with the CREATE DATABASE Command in PostgreSQL

The CREATE DATABASE command in PostgreSQL provides the capability to establish new databases on your PostgreSQL server. This operation is foundational in PostgreSQL database management. In this guide, we’ll delve into the CREATE DATABASE command, highlighting typical flags and usage scenarios with examples.

What is the CREATE DATABASE Command?

In PostgreSQL, the CREATE DATABASE command is used to create a new, empty database. It’s basically the first step to organise your data into a meaningful structure.


Before we begin, make sure you have PostgreSQL installed on your system and have access to a PostgreSQL user with the necessary privileges to create databases.

Basic Syntax

Creating a database couldn’t be easier. The basic syntax is:

CREATE DATABASE database_name;

Example: Creating a Database for TV Series Data

Let’s say you’re building an application to track TV series. You’d want to store the information in a dedicated database, right?

Creating the tv_series_db Database

CREATE DATABASE tv_series_db;

And voila! You’ve got yourself a brand new database named tv_series_db.

Common Flags and Usage Patterns

Setting the Owner

You can specify the owner of the database using the OWNER keyword:

CREATE DATABASE tv_series_db OWNER username;

Setting the Character Encoding

To set the character encoding for the database, use the ENCODING option:


Here, we’ve set the character encoding to UTF-8.

Using a Template

PostgreSQL allows you to create a new database based on an existing one—known as a template.

CREATE DATABASE new_db TEMPLATE existing_db;

Common Errors and Solutions

Error Message:

ERROR: database "database_name" already exists


This error pops up when you try to create a database with a name that’s already been taken.


You’ve got a couple of options here:

  • Choose a different name for your new database.
  • Check if the database already exists by running a SQL query like:

    SELECT datname FROM pg_database WHERE datname = 'database_name';

    If the query returns a result, you know the database already exists.

Error Message:

ERROR: permission denied to create database


Your PostgreSQL user doesn’t have the necessary permissions to create a new database.


  • You can log in as a superuser or another user that has the CREATEDB privilege.
  • Alternatively, a superuser can grant you the CREATEDB privilege:


Invalid Database Name

Error Message:

ERROR: invalid database name

This error occurs when you provide an invalid or improperly formatted name for the database. Database names in PostgreSQL have specific rules, such as not starting with a digit or containing special characters.

Ensure that the database name you provide adheres to PostgreSQL’s naming rules:

  • Start with a letter (a-z, A-Z) or an underscore.
  • Subsequent characters can include letters, digits (0-9), and underscores.
  • Avoid using special characters or spaces in database names.

Template Database Not Found

Error Message:

ERROR: database "template1" does not exist

This error can occur if you specify a template database that doesn’t exist in PostgreSQL.

Ensure that the template database you specify in the TEMPLATE option exists. By default, PostgreSQL includes a template database called "template1." If it’s missing, you may need to recreate it or use another existing database as a template.

There you have it!! The CREATE DATABASE command in PostgreSQL is a highly flexible tool that lets you set up new databases tailored to your specific requirements. Whether you’re establishing a basic database or configuring it with special settings, mastering the CREATE DATABASE command is key to effective database management in PostgreSQL.

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