How to install PostgreSQL 9.6 on Mac OS X (10.7 or later)

PostgreSQL is an open source relational database system that has been around for well over a decade and has proven to be a great all around storage choice when developing a web application.

In this guide we are going to walk through installing PostgreSQL 9.6 on Mac OS X (10.7 or later) so that we can eventually start using it with a Go application, but you can follow along with this guide to set up Postgres for use with pretty much anything, including Rails, Django, or Go.

Once we have Postgres setup we will also look at adding all of the executables to our path so that we can type things like psql in the terminal in order to access Postgres. It is important to note that this step IS NOT required to use postgres, but it is nice to have so I suggest doing it.


The first thing we want to do is install PostgreSQL using You can find that here: is about 50mb, and is by far the easiest way to setup Postgres on a Mac. It runs like any other you would download, can automatically start up with your Mac, and allows us to skip a lot of command line steps that used to be required to set up Postgres on a Mac. Yay for progress!

You can grab whatever version you need at the “Other versions” section of the page, but I will be using th emost recent version which currently uses PostgreSQL 9.6.0.

Once you have unzipped the download you will want to copy the Postgres app to your Applications folder and then open it. You might be asked if you want to open this application because it was downloaded from the internet. Click open.

You should now have Postgres running locally, and you should see a little elephant icon on the top right section of your menu bar. Click on it and then click the “Open psql” option.

Opening psql via the elephant icon.

If you don’t see any errors that means everything is working! Congrats!

Now lets go ahead and add Postgres to our path.

Enabling Postgres command line tools

If you are using the default terminal, you are going to want to modify the file at ~/.bash_profile. If you are using something like Oh My Zsh you are going to want to modify the file ~/.zshrc.

To edit this file you likely need to open it via the terminal, so open your terminal and type open ~/.bash_profile. You can replace the word open with subl or whatever text editor you prefer.

Once your zbash_profile or .zshrc file is open, add the following line to the end of the file:

export PATH=$PATH:/Applications/

After that you will need to quit and restart your terminal This is to make sure it reloads with the changes you just made.

Once you have restarted your terminal, try running psql.

psql -U postgres

You should get the following output.

psql (9.6.0)
Type "help" for help.


You have now successfully connected to Postgres using the postgres role. This role doesn’t require a password because Postgres is only accessible locally, so it is unlikely to present any security issues.

Up Next…

Now that you have PostgreSQL 9.6 installed you are ready to start using it! Check out the next article in this series to learn how to do that - Creating PostgreSQL databases and tables with raw SQL

You can also check out an overview of the entire series, along with links to each article in the series, by going here - Using PostgreSQL with Golang.

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Jon Calhoun

Jon Calhoun is a full stack web developer who teaches about Go, web development, algorithms, and anything programming. If you haven't already, you should totally check out his Go courses.

Previously, Jon worked at several statups including co-founding EasyPost, a shipping API used by several fortune 500 companies. Prior to that Jon worked at Google, competed at world finals in programming competitions, and has been programming since he was a child.

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This post is part of the series, Using PostgreSQL with Go.

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