How to List All Databases in Postgres: A Complete Guide


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to list all databases in Postgres. If you are an avid user of this open-source relational database management system, you might be wondering how to easily retrieve a complete list of all databases within your Postgres environment. In this article, we will walk you through various methods and techniques to accomplish this task efficiently.

Method 1: Using the psql Command

Option 1: List Databases with Command-Line Flags

The first method we will discuss involves using the psql command-line utility with specific flags to retrieve a list of all databases. By running the command psql -l or psql --list, you can obtain an overview of all available databases on your Postgres server. This will include essential information such as database names, owners, sizes, and encoding details.

By default, psql will automatically connect to the local database server, but you can specify a different server using the -h flag followed by the server’s address. Additionally, if you want to suppress unnecessary information like access privileges, you can use the -t or --tuples-only flag.

Option 2: Connecting to psql and Listing Databases

If you prefer a more interactive method, you can connect to the psql command-line interface and list all databases there. Start by typing psql followed by the necessary connection details like hostname, username, and password. Once connected to psql, you can list databases using the command \l or \list. This will display detailed information about each database, including the number of tables, sizes, and additional comments if available.

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Method 2: Querying the pg_database Catalog

Option 1: Using SQL SELECT Statement

If you want to retrieve a list of databases programmatically or execute a query to obtain specific database details, you can utilize SQL statements in combination with the pg_database system catalog. To get a list of all databases, you can execute the following query:

SELECT datname FROM pg_database WHERE datistemplate = false;

This query filters out template databases, commonly used as blueprints for creating new databases. The result will provide you with a clean list of all non-template databases in your Postgres environment.

Option 2: Utilizing psql Meta-Commands

If you prefer to stick with the psql command-line interface, you can also use its meta-commands to retrieve a list of databases. Inside psql, you can type \dt or \l to accomplish this. The \dt meta-command specifically lists all tables in the current database, while \l provides an overview of all databases.


Q: How can I list all databases in Postgres using pgAdmin?

A: In pgAdmin, you can expand the server group in the browser tree and navigate to the “Databases” folder. This will display all available databases, including essential information about each one.

Q: Can I list all databases in Postgres without logging in?

A: Unfortunately, you need administrative permissions or a valid user account to list all databases in Postgres. It is a necessary security measure to protect the confidentiality of the database environment.

Q: Are there alternative methods to list all databases in Postgres?

A: Yes, apart from the methods mentioned in this guide, you can also utilize programming languages like Python or frameworks like Django to retrieve and manipulate database information programmatically.

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Q: How often should I list all databases in Postgres?

A: The frequency of listing all databases depends on your specific use case. If you frequently create or delete databases, it is advisable to check the list regularly to ensure accurate information and proper management.

Q: Can I list databases from a remote Postgres server?

A: Yes, you can list databases from a remote Postgres server by specifying the appropriate connection details using the psql command-line utility or by accessing the remote server through tools like pgAdmin or a programming language-specific library.

Q: What should I do if I cannot list all databases in Postgres?

A: If you encounter any issues while trying to list all databases in Postgres, make sure you have the necessary permissions and double-check your connection details. If the problem persists, consult the Postgres documentation or seek assistance from the Postgres community.


Congratulations! You have successfully learned various methods to list all databases in Postgres. Whether you prefer the simplicity of psql commands or the programmability of SQL queries, you now have the necessary tools to retrieve crucial database information. Keep exploring different aspects of Postgres and its powerful features. If you want to dive deeper, be sure to check out our other articles on advanced Postgres topics such as database administration, optimization techniques, and data modeling.