PostgreSQL Two-Factor Authentication Implementation Run-Book

Securing PostgreSQL: A Comprehensive Guide to Implementing Two-Factor Authentication


Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your PostgreSQL database by requiring users to provide two forms of identification before accessing the system. This run-book outlines the steps to implement 2FA in PostgreSQL, helping you enhance the authentication process and protect sensitive data from unauthorized access.


  • PostgreSQL server installation
  • Administrative access to the PostgreSQL server
  • Basic understanding of PostgreSQL configuration files and command-line tools

Steps to Implement Two-Factor Authentication in PostgreSQL:

  1. Choose an Authentication Method:
    • Identify the preferred 2FA method suitable for your environment, such as One-Time Password (OTP), Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP), or Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
    • Evaluate available PostgreSQL authentication plugins that support 2FA, such as pg_otp or pg_ident with OTP.
  2. Install and Configure Required Extensions:
    • Install the necessary PostgreSQL extensions related to the chosen 2FA method.
    • Update the PostgreSQL configuration file (postgresql.conf) to enable and configure the authentication extensions.
  3. Configure User Accounts:
    • Create a user account for each PostgreSQL user who will be using 2FA.
    • Set up user-specific 2FA credentials, such as OTP tokens or digital certificates, for each user.
  4. Update pg_hba.conf:
    • Modify the pg_hba.conf file to include the necessary rules for 2FA authentication.
    • Define the authentication method and parameters for each user or user group.
    • Specify the location of the 2FA authentication plugin in the pg_hba.conf file.
  5. Test and Validate 2FA Configuration:
    • Restart the PostgreSQL service to apply the changes made to the configuration files.
    • Verify the functionality of 2FA by attempting to connect to the PostgreSQL server using a user account with 2FA enabled.
    • Ensure the correct OTP token, digital certificate, or other required 2FA credentials are requested during the authentication process.
  6. Update Documentation and Procedures:
    • Document the steps taken to implement 2FA in PostgreSQL, including the chosen method and configuration details.
    • Update user guides, policies, and procedures to reflect the addition of 2FA as part of the authentication process.
  7. Ongoing Management and Maintenance:
    • Regularly review and update user accounts to ensure 2FA credentials are up to date.
    • Monitor authentication logs and audit trails for any suspicious activities related to 2FA authentication attempts.
    • Stay informed about security updates and patches for the chosen 2FA authentication method and PostgreSQL itself.


Implementing two-factor authentication in PostgreSQL strengthens the security of your database by requiring an additional layer of user verification. By following this run-book, you can successfully configure 2FA in PostgreSQL, enhancing the authentication process and mitigating the risk of unauthorized access to your sensitive data.

Remember to regularly review and update your 2FA configuration, stay informed about security best practices, and keep your PostgreSQL environment up to date with the latest security patches.

For any further assistance or guidance, feel free to contact our PostgreSQL experts at or call us at (844) 588-7287.

About Shiv Iyer 455 Articles
Open Source Database Systems Engineer with a deep understanding of Optimizer Internals, Performance Engineering, Scalability and Data SRE. Shiv currently is the Founder, Investor, Board Member and CEO of multiple Database Systems Infrastructure Operations companies in the Transaction Processing Computing and ColumnStores ecosystem. He is also a frequent speaker in open source software conferences globally.