I'm using Postges 9.6 on Ubuntu Linux 16. I'm trying to figure out how the Postgres server was installed so I can figure out a command to start and stop it. It evidently isn't installed as a Linux service

[rails@server ~]$ sudo service postgresql status
Redirecting to /bin/systemctl status postgresql.service
Unit postgresql.service could not be found.

"which psql" reveals

[rails@server ~]$ which psql

I'm sort of at a loss for the next steps in figure out the command to start and stop it.

  • What does dpkg -l | grep postgres say? Nov 8, 2019 at 22:20
  • It returns nothing
    – Dave
    Nov 8, 2019 at 22:27
  • What about locate postgres? It might produce a lot of output. Nov 8, 2019 at 22:28
  • Sure did. I coudl include all of it as an edit to my question but probably the most relevant thing it spat back was "/usr/pgsql-9.6/bin/postgres".
    – Dave
    Nov 8, 2019 at 22:35
  • How about dpkg -S "/usr/pgsql-9.6/bin/postgres"?
    – jjanes
    Nov 9, 2019 at 0:17

1 Answer 1


If you are simply looking to start and stop it, and a service or systemctl module doesn't exist on your machine, you can use pg_ctl to start and stop the Postgres server. You will also need to have the path to the data directory handy (typically, the folder that contains postgresql.conf and pg_hba.conf), and pass that in along with the -D flag:

pg_ctl -D /path/to/data_dir start|stop

If no data directory exists, you will either need further assistance to help you get an existing database cluster up and running, or you can use initdb to create a new database cluster

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