It looks like for single user I should create a login role and than respective group roles because I can't directly assign privileges on login role. Is it true? What's the purpose of such separation?

Also as I understand it's only possible to authenticate with login role. So what's the purpose of the password field in a group role? Or it's possible to authenticate as group role? Then why anyone would need login roles?

Also it looks like I can set both login and group roles in pg_hba.

1 Answer 1


All these questions are basically answered in the documentation. To be specific:

A role is an entity that can own database objects and have database privileges; a role can be considered a "user", a "group", or both depending on how it is used.

That implies that internally there is no difference between these, except the LOGIN option. If you specify LOGIN (or use CREATE USER):


dezso will become a login role, otherwise not. You can specify passwords for non-login roles, too - if you later decide to make it a login role, use

CREATE ROLE non_login_role PASSWORD 'bla';

ALTER ROLE non_login_role WITH LOGIN;

You are right when saying 'it's only possible to authenticate with login role'. Note, however, that a password is not always necessary - if you use anything else than the password or md5 authentication methods. On the other hand this means that a role without the LOGIN option set cannot log in in any way.

Finally, you may set rules in pg_hba.conf for non-login roles, but as it's used only for authentication, those roles will have no effect (unless you enable login later, as above).

  • 1
    Why can't I assign table privileges for login roles in pgAdmin? Only group roles are listed there.
    – Vlad
    Feb 9, 2016 at 14:49
  • 4
    It must be some design issue/bug - I was wondering myself. Such issues are the reasons why I am exclusively using psql and normal SQL statements for everything. Feb 9, 2016 at 15:13

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