I'm working on Ubuntu. Following is one of my commands.

$ psql -U kuser -d postgres

Then this connects to the database. But from postgres terminal when i try

postgres=> CREATE DATABASE kdb;
ERROR:  permission denied to create database

When I try a similar command in Ubuntu, it gives the following

$ sudo -u kuser createdb kdb
sudo: unknown user: kuser
sudo: unable to initialize policy plugin

How do I create this DB?. I have sudo rights and kuser is not me.

1 Answer 1


It appears you have a database user named kuser, but there is no system user with that name. This is why you're able to get a postgres prompt, but sudo fails.

That user isn't able to create a database because the account doesn't have the createdb permission.

You can either grant that permission to the user using the postgres account (the default management account on Ubuntu):

sudo -u postgres psql -c 'alter user kuser with createdb' postgres

Or just use that management account to create the database and specify that it is owned by the kuser account:

sudo -u postgres createdb -O kuser kdb

If that user isn't going to be creating other databases I'd advise using the latter option, better to limit the privileges that are granted to the account.

  • sudo -u postgres psql -c 'alter user USER_NAME with createdb' postgres saved my day :) Nov 26, 2017 at 10:59

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