Trying to import a csv file as follows:

psql -h -d jira_statistics -U admin -p 5432 -c "COPY bugs FROM '/home/centos/bugs.csv' delimiter '|' csv;"
Password for user admin: 
ERROR:  could not open file "/home/centos/bugs.csv" for reading: No such file or directory
HINT:  COPY FROM instructs the PostgreSQL server process to read a file. You may want a client-side facility such as psql's \copy.

However both the file and the table exist in jira_statistics db

[root@jira-statistics ~]# ls /home/centos/bugs.csv

[root@jira-statistics ~]# psql -h -p 5432 -U admin jira_statistics
Password for user admin: 
psql (9.2.24, server 11.1 (Debian 11.1-3.pgdg90+1))
WARNING: psql version 9.2, server version 11.0.
         Some psql features might not work.
Type "help" for help.

jira_statistics=# \dt
         List of relations
 Schema |   Name   | Type  | Owner 
 public | bugs     | table | admin
 public | devtasks | table | admin
 public | releases | table | admin
 public | stories  | table | admin

The most common reason for COPY failing is what is suggested in the hint, but then the error is a "Permission denied".

Since you get "No such file or directory", and a simple ls shows that the file exists, there are first a few plausible explanations that you want to check:

  1. /home/centos/bugs.csv is a soft link pointing to an non-existing file. Use ls -l to be sure an check the destination if it's a soft link.

  2. is redirected at the network level to a different machine. This technique is widely used to connect to remote services through SSH tunnels.

  3. Your OS uses fancy security/isolation features that forbids postgres to read /home/centos/bugs.csv without issuing a Permission denied error. Try ls -l /home/centos/bugs.csv under the postgres OS account.

  4. Your server and client don't run under the same MOUNT namespace, due to containerization.

In cases #2 #3 or #4, just use \copy as suggested in the HINT part of the error message.

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  • I am on Centos7, i disabled SELINUX and changed the file to 777 but still the same error. – pkaramol Feb 14 '19 at 18:11
  • I also moved the file to /tmp/bugs.csv so that the entire path is 777 – pkaramol Feb 14 '19 at 18:14
  • About being on CentOS: the signature of your server is server 11.1 (Debian 11.1-3.pgdg90+1) which tends to show that the postgres service is on a different machine running Debian. See my point #2 – Daniel Vérité Feb 14 '19 at 18:18
  • Yes postgres is containerized. However I am running the psql command from host, that's why I tried disabling selinux and chmodded to 777 – pkaramol Feb 15 '19 at 6:45
  • @pkaramol: containerization explains it. The server and client filesystems are insulated from each other with namespaces. – Daniel Vérité Feb 15 '19 at 11:33

This could be either a database permissions issue, a filesystem permissions issue, or perhaps an issue with the file's encoding type. (It could also be none of the above). Here are my suggestions:

For database permissions: only a superuser or a specifically-roled user can use COPY. See the postgresql documentation on the COPY command:

COPY naming a file or command is only allowed to database superusers or users who are granted one of the default roles pg_read_server_files, pg_write_server_files, or pg_execute_server_program, since it allows reading or writing any file or running a program that the server has privileges to access.

For filesystem permissions: check that the service has read permission on the file.

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