We need to migrate our existing database server (PG 12) to a new server. I followed this [https://www.postgresql.org/docs/8.1/app-pg-dumpall.html] article and created the dump as

pg_dumpall > alldb.sql

then copied the file alldb.sql to the new system and tried to restore using

psql -f alldb.sql postgres

and it failed with the following error messages

psql:allbackup.sql:314: ERROR: option "locale" not recognized LINE 1: ...3103" WITH TEMPLATE = template0 ENCODING = 'UTF8' LOCALE = '... ^ psql:allbackup.sql:317: ERROR: database "XXXXX" does not exist psql:allbackup.sql:319: error: \connect: FATAL: database "XXXXX" does not exist

What could be the issue?

  • Ubuntu 20.04
  • Postgres version 12
  • 2
    Not directly related to your problem, but why are you reading the manual for version 8.1 if you are using 12?
    – user1822
    Apr 19, 2022 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


The CREATE DATABASE statement did not accept a LOCALE parameter until PostgreSQL version 13. It fails in your case because the target server is version 12.

The pg_dumpall command put that parameter because its version is newer than 12, so it considers that you're going to restore into a version newer than 12. You can check the version with pg_dumpall --version

The solution is to use the same version of pg_dumpall than your target server. On Ubuntu, you might have several versions installed. Check if you have /usr/lib/postgresql/12/bin/pg_dumpall, and if you do, call it directly with that full path.

If it's not installed, it can be installed with the postgresql-client-12 package.

  • yes , you are right .. the postgres client we were using was version 14. Thanks a lot
    – Biju Soman
    Apr 20, 2022 at 5:39

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