installing your PostgreSQL and pgAdmin4 database and management containers in docker

PostgreSQL + pgAdmin4 Docker Containers

Containers Aug 26, 2021

Databases are extremely useful. As containers, they can also be resource intensive, so you probably don't want too many. The below walkthrough shows you how to create a single server with the ability to create multiple databases for any postgres need you have.

For those interested, I explain a bit more about the various types of database here, and you can check out this page's MySQL counterpart here.

First up, we need to

Create the containers

SSH into your machine. The first thing we will do is create a custom network in docker by typing:

docker network create postgres
the system will automatically choose the next unused docker bridge subnet in the sequence
for more detailed information about docker networks, click here

Now it's time to create our postgres and pgAdmin containers. In your favourite docker compose folder, create your 'docker-compose.yml' and copy paste the following:

    external: true

    container_name: postgres
    image: postgres
    restart: always
      POSTGRES_USER: root #change if necessary
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: root #change if necessary
      POSTGRES_DB: test_DB #change if necessary
      - "5432:5432" #change *before* the : if necessary
      - postgres
    container_name: pgadmin4
    image: dpage/pgadmin4
    restart: always
      PGADMIN_DEFAULT_EMAIL: [email protected] #only needed for logon so no need to change
      PGADMIN_DEFAULT_PASSWORD: a-good-password #change
      - "80:80" #change *before* the : if necessary
      - postgres
      - db
you'll notice the networks variables have been set to the postgres network we created

In SSH, navigate to the same folder and run docker-compose up -d. This will create your postgres database container AND your admin container. In both instances, as we didn't specify otherwise, the latest version of each image will be pulled.

We now only need to work with the admin container.

if you have set up your NAS firewall to block everything you haven't explicitly allowed, you will need to allow the docker network IPs and ports for these containers. The ports are listed above after the :. To find your containers' IPs, type in docker network inspect [network name] and note the address, which will start 172.xx.x.x

There are 5 things we now need to do, listed below in order:

  1. Access pgAdmin
  2. Create a postgres server
  3. Create a login
  4. Create a database
  5. Enable communication between postgres and another container

Accessing pgAdmin

In your browser, type in your NAS IP, : followed by the port number, for instance, which will bring you to the login screen:

if you used a port other than 80 in your compose file, use that instead

Login using the credentials you specified in the `docker-compose.yml` for PGADMIN_DEFAULT_EMAIL and PFADMIN_DEFAULT_PASSWORD, and you'll be greeted by an almost blank screen.

Creating a new server

In the top left corner, right click Servers, then Create > Server

In the General tab, give it a name:

Head over to the Connection tab. Enter postgres as the hostname, port 5432, keep the maintenance database as postgres, then enter the username and password you specified as the POSTGRES_USERNAME and POSTGRES_PASSWORD in the docker-compose file above. We set them as root:root, so that's what we'll use below:

Hit Save, and your new server has been created.

Creating a new login

You'll hopefully notice that the test_db and root referenced in the compose file have been created here. You can use these, however I would recommend creating new logins and new databases for each container you plan to use them with.

Not to be confused with creating a new user to access this pgAdmin, we will create a new login which will 'own' a database or group of databases.

Right-click on Login/Group Roles and select Create > Login/Group Role...

A screen will pop up with multiple tabs. Under General give your new login a name:

and then navigate to Privileges. Here we only need to toggle Can login? to Yes :

Hit save and you've created your first login!

Creating a new database

In the nav panel on the left hand side of the screen, right click Databases, then click Create > Database.... In the pop up, give your database a name and select the Owner from the drop down (in this case, our newly created MyName):

Navigate to the Security tab, hit the + on the Privileges column.

this allows the database owner to inherit privileges from the root user

Choose your Grantee (normally same as Owner) click into the empty 'Privileges' box and select All. Leave the 'Grantor' as root and hit save.

Making sure your new container can communicate with Postgres

Now that you've configured your new database inside your Postgres container, you need to make sure that your app can connect to it. To do this, you need to make sure that your app container and your Postgres container are on the same docker network.

if you need/want to create a new network, follow the steps here

Let's say we wanted to connect our Postgress and Nextcloud containers to a network called databases. We start off with creating the network (in SSH):

docker network create databases

There are then a couple of ways we can connect our containers to new networks:

  1. Modify your docker-compose file to include the new network (you can use more than one network in your 'networks' block, and you can connect your container to more than one network at a time) and run docker-compose up -d postgres or docker-compose up -d nextcloud. Defining the container name will ensure that when your compose file includes more than one container, only the defined container is recreated
  2. Use Portainer - go to your container inside portainer, scroll to the bottom, select the right network from the drop down list and click the 'Join network' button
  3. SSH - you can connect a container to a network by typing
docker network connect [network name] [container name]
replace the [ ] information with your correct names
  • So, to connect both our postgres and nextcloud containers to the databases network, we type
docker network connect databases postgres && docker network connect databases nextcloud
you can read up a lot more on docker networking at the official docker documentation here

Congratulations, you now have a new postgres server, database and login, and know how to make sure it can communicate with your container app. Recreate the login, database and network steps for each new postgres DB requirement you have!

Creating Multi-Use databases in docker
An explanation of the main databases you will find docker images for, and how to install and manage their associated containers
Docker: Setting up MySQL and phpMyAdmin database containers
A step-by-step walkthrough to set up your MySQL or MariaDB container and their complementary management tool, phpMyAdmin, all in docker


PTS fell down the selfhosted rabbit hole after buying his first NAS in October 2020, only intending to use it as a Plex server. Find him on the Synology discord channel

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