Binary Release

[ Download from release page ]

The release page has precompiled binaries for Mac OS X, Windows, and several Linux distros. Extract the tarball and run the binary inside with the --help flag to see usage instructions:

# Untar the release (available at

$ tar zxf postgrest-[version]-[platform].tar.xz

# Try running it
$ ./postgrest --help

# You should see a usage help message


You can use the Homebrew package manager to install PostgREST on Mac

# Ensure brew is up to date
brew update

# Check for any problems with brew's setup
brew doctor

# Install the postgrest package
brew install postgrest

This will automatically install PostgreSQL as a dependency. The process tends to take up to 15 minutes to install the package and its dependencies.

After installation completes, the tool is added to your $PATH and can be used from anywhere with:

postgrest --help

PostgreSQL dependency

To use PostgREST you will need an underlying database (PostgreSQL version 9.3 or greater is required). You can use something like Amazon RDS but installing your own locally is cheaper and more convenient for development.

Build from Source


We discourage building and using PostgREST on Alpine Linux because of a reported GHC memory leak on that platform.

When a pre-built binary does not exist for your system you can build the project from source. You’ll also need to do this if you want to help with development. Stack makes it easy. It will install any necessary Haskell dependencies on your system.

  • Install Stack for your platform

  • Install Library Dependencies

    Operating System Dependencies
    Ubuntu/Debian libpq-dev, libgmp-dev
    CentOS/Fedora/Red Hat postgresql-devel, zlib-devel, gmp-devel
    BSD postgresql95-server
    OS X postgresql, gmp
  • Build and install binary

    git clone
    cd postgrest
    # adjust local-bin-path to taste
    stack build --install-ghc --copy-bins --local-bin-path /usr/local/bin


If building fails and your system has less than 1GB of memory, try adding a swap file.

  • Check that the server is installed: postgrest --help.

PostgREST Test Suite

Creating the Test Database

To properly run postgrest tests one needs to create a database. To do so, use the test creation script create_test_database in the test/ folder.

The script expects the following parameters:

test/create_test_db connection_uri database_name [test_db_user] [test_db_user_password]

Use the connection URI to specify the user, password, host, and port. Do not provide the database in the connection URI. The Postgres role you are using to connect must be capable of creating new databases.

The database_name is the name of the database that stack test will connect to. If the database of the same name already exists on the server, the script will first drop it and then re-create it.

Optionally, specify the database user stack test will use. The user will be given necessary permissions to reset the database after every test run.

If the user is not specified, the script will generate the role name postgrest_test_ suffixed by the chosen database name, and will generate a random password for it.

Optionally, if specifying an existing user to be used for the test connection, one can specify the password the user has.

The script will return the db uri to use in the tests–this uri corresponds to the db-uri parameter in the configuration file that one would use in production.

Generating the user and the password allows one to create the database and run the tests against any postgres server without any modifications to the server. (Such as allowing accounts without a passoword or setting up trust authentication, or requiring the server to be on the same localhost the tests are run from).

Running the Tests

To run the tests, one must supply the database uri in the environment variable POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION.

Typically, one would create the database and run the test in the same command line, using the postgres superuser:

POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION=$(test/create_test_db "postgres://postgres:[email protected]" test_db) stack test

For repeated runs on the same database, one should export the connection variable:

export POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION=$(test/create_test_db "postgres://postgres:[email protected]" test_db)
stack test
stack test

If the environment variable is empty or not specified, then the test runner will default to connection uri


This connection assumes the test server on the localhost:code: with the user postgrest_test without the password and the database of the same name.

Destroying the Database

The test database will remain after the test, together with four new roles created on the postgres server. To permanently erase the created database and the roles, run the script test/delete_test_database, using the same superuser role used for creating the database:

test/destroy_test_db connection_uri database_name

Testing with Docker

The ability to connect to non-local PostgreSQL simplifies the test setup. One elegant way of testing is to use a disposable PostgreSQL in docker.

For example, if local development is on a mac with Docker for Mac installed:

$ docker run --name db-scripting-test -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=pwd -p 5434:5432 -d postgres
$ POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION=$(test/create_test_db "postgres://postgres:[email protected]:5434" test_db) stack test

Additionally, if one creates a docker container to run stack test (this is necessary on MacOS Sierra with GHC below 8.0.1, where stack test fails), one can run PostgreSQL in a separate linked container, or use the locally installed

Build the test container with test/Dockerfile.test:

$ docker build -t pgst-test - < test/Dockerfile.test
$ mkdir .stack-work-docker ~/.stack-linux

The first run of the test container will take a long time while the dependencies get cached. Creating the ~/.stack-linux folder and mapping it as a volume into the container ensures that we can run the container in disposable mode and not worry about subsequent runs being slow. .stack-work-docker is also mapped into the container and must be specified when using stack from Linux, not to interfere with the .stack-work for local development. (On Sierra, stack build works, while stack test fails with GHC 8.0.1).

Linked containers:

$ docker run --name pg -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=pwd  -d postgres
$ docker run --rm -it -v `pwd`:`pwd` -v ~/.stack-linux:/root/.stack --link pg:pg -w="`pwd`" -v `pwd`/.stack-work-docker:`pwd`/.stack-work pgst-test bash -c "POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION=$(test/create_test_db "postgres://postgres:[email protected]" test_db) stack test"

Stack test in Docker for Mac, on mac:

$ host_ip=$(ifconfig en0 | grep 'inet ' | cut -f 2 -d' ')
$ export POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION=$(test/create_test_db "postgres://postgres@$HOST" test_db)
$ docker run --rm -it -v `pwd`:`pwd` -v ~/.stack-linux:/root/.stack -v `pwd`/.stack-work-docker:`pwd`/.stack-work -e "HOST=$host_ip" -e "POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION=$POSTGREST_TEST_CONNECTION" -w="`pwd`" pgst-test bash -c "stack test"
$ test/destroy_test_db "postgres:[email protected]" test_db