What is PostgreSQL?

Robust, reliable open source relational database

PostgreSQL is an advanced, enterprise class open source relational database that supports both SQL (relational) and JSON (non-relational) querying. It is a highly stable database management system, backed by more than 20 years of community development which has contributed to its high levels of resilience, integrity, and correctness. PostgreSQL is used as the primary data store or data warehouse for many web, mobile, geospatial, and analytics applications.

PostgreSQL has a rich history for support of advanced data types, and supports a level of performance optimization that is common across its commercial database counterparts, like Oracle and SQL Server. AWS supports PostgreSQL through a fully managed database service with Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility is also built using PostgreSQL.

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Benefits of using PostgreSQL

Rich features and extensions

PostgreSQL possesses robust feature sets including Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), point in time recovery, granular access controls, tablespaces, asynchronous replication, nested transactions, online/hot backups, a refined query planner/optimizer, and write ahead logging. It supports international character sets, multi-byte character encodings, Unicode, and it is locale-aware for sorting, case-sensitivity, and formatting. PostgreSQL is highly scalable both in the quantity of data it can manage and in the number of concurrent users it can accommodate.

Reliability and standards compliance

PostgreSQL’s write ahead logging makes it a highly fault tolerant database. Its large base of open source contributors lends it a built-in community support network. PostgreSQL is ACID compliant, and has full support for foreign keys, joins, views, triggers, and stored procedures, in many different languages. It includes most SQL:2008 data types, including INTEGER, NUMERIC, BOOLEAN, CHAR, VARCHAR, DATE, INTERVAL, and TIMESTAMP. It also supports storage of binary large objects, including pictures, sounds, or video.

Open source license

PostgreSQL source code is available under an open source license, granting you the freedom to use, modify, and implement it as you see fit, at no charge. PostgreSQL carries no licensing cost, which eliminates the risk for over-deployment. PostgreSQL's dedicated community of contributors and enthusiasts regularly find bugs and fixes, contributing to the overall security of the database system.

History of PostgreSQL

The PostgreSQL project started in 1986 under the direction of Professor Michael Stonebreaker at the University of California, Berkeley. The project was originally named POSTGRES, in reference to the older Ingres database, also developed at Berkeley. POSTGRES aimed to add the fewest features needed to completely support multiple data types. In 1996, the project was renamed to PostgreSQL to illustrate its support for the SQL querying language (although PostgreSQL is still commonly abbreviated as Postgres). A dedicated and diverse community of contributors – the PostgreSQL Global Development Group – continues to make regular major and minor releases of the free and open source database project.

General purpose OLTP database

Startups and large enterprises alike use PostgreSQL as the primary data store to support their internet-scale applications, solutions, and products.

Geospatial database

When used with the PostGIS extension, PostgreSQL supports geographic objects, and can be used as a geospatial data store for location based services and geographic information systems (GIS).

Federated hub database

PostgreSQL's Foreign Data Wrappers and JSON support allow it to link with other data stores - including NoSQL types - and act as a federated hub for polyglot database systems.

LAPP open source stack

PostgreSQL can run dynamic websites and apps as part of a robust alternative to the LAMP stack (LAPP stands for Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, and PHP, Python, and Perl).

Language support

PostgreSQL supports most leading programming languages and protocols, including:

Python

Java

Perl

.Net

Go

Ruby

C/C++

Tcl

ODBC

Fully managed PostgreSQL on AWS

Amazon offers a fully managed relational database service, Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL, available for trial at no cost with the AWS Free Tier. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale PostgreSQL deployments in the cloud. With Amazon RDS, you can deploy internet-scale PostgreSQL deployments in minutes, with cost-efficient and resizable hardware capacity.
Getting started with Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL is simple:
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Sign up for Amazon RDS

Get access to the Amazon RDS Free Tier.
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Learn with Simple Tutorials

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Start building with Amazon RDS

Begin building with help from the PostgreSQL on Amazon RDS user guide.