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Most access to the database, including the psql program, goes through the libpq library. This library includes a feature where if you specify a file called .pgpass (or the file referenced by PGPASSFILE) you can put the password needed to connect as a user in there. This allows automating routine administration tasks through mechanisms like cron.

The format of the .pgpass file is the following:


the character '*' can match any value in any of the fields (except password)

n.b.: if the environment variable PGPASSWORD is set, then the ~/.pgpass file is not read

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