Namespace-Scoped pgAdmin 4


FEATURE AVAILABILITY: Available in v5.5.0 and above

The PostgreSQL Operator lets you deploy pgAdmin 4 independently from a PostgresCluster. This way, rather than have one pgAdmin 4 deployment tied to one PostgresCluster, you can have one pgAdmin 4 deployment managing several PostgresClusters in a namespace, or even easily access one PostgresCluster from several pgAdmin 4 deployments.


Namespace-Scoped pgAdmin currently support all actively maintained versions of Postgres

When you deploy pgAdmin 4 through the Operator in this way, you can define selectors to dynamically discover PostgresClusters. This means that you can set up pgAdmin 4 to already know about your labeled PostgresClusters without having to manually import each server individually!

The namespace-scoped pgAdmin 4 architecture also gives you access to an administrator user which you can use for direct user management.


After you have v5.5.0 or later running, the pgadmin resource should be available in your cluster. To make sure you are set up, check the existing CustomResourceDefinitions. You can do this with a selector flag to limit which CRDs are returned:

# I'm using the label our installers add to our CRDs as a selector:
kubectl get crd \

NAME                                                 CREATED AT           ...

Here you see the pgadmins Custom Resource, which allows the Operator to create and manage namespace-scoped pgAdmin 4 installations. If you see that, you should be good to go!

If you do not see the pgadmins CRD, you will need to upgrade to v5.5.0 or later, which should automatically install the pgadmins CRD. To make sure you have the most current installer before upgrading or installing, check the crd (or if you're using the Helm installer, crds) directory to verify that the postgres-operator.crunchydata.com_pgadmins.yaml file is present.

Create a pgAdmin 4

Once you've verified that you have the pgadmins CRD installed and a v5.5.0 or later Operator is running, you're ready to request a pgAdmin 4 deployment.

Much like a PostgresCluster, a pgAdmin 4 deployment is defined as YAML:

kind: PGAdmin
  name: rhino
  dataVolumeClaimSpec: # 1
    - "ReadWriteOnce"
        storage: 1Gi
  serverGroups: # 2
  - name: supply
    postgresClusterSelector: {}

We'll cover those fields labeled 1 and 2 in Configuration Details below.

Let's say this file is saved locally as pgadmin.yaml. This file can then be sent to Kubernetes via kubectl:

kubectl apply -f pgadmin.yaml

Configuration Details

  1. The dataVolumeClaimSpec section is required. This section describes the storage that your pgAdmin 4 instance will use. It is modeled after the Persistent Volume Claim. If you do not provide a spec.dataVolumeClaimSpec.storageClassName, then the default storage class in your Kubernetes environment is used.

  2. The serverGroups field is optional but necessary for dynamic server discovery. (See the Warning about zero servers below.) serverGroups is an array of serverGroup objects. A serverGroup consists of

  • a name, which is used as the name of the ServerGroup when registering these PostgresClusters with pgAdmin 4; and
  • a postgresClusterSelector, which is used to find the PostgresClusters to be registered. This field is a LabelSelector.

Dynamic server discovery

A namespace-scoped pgAdmin 4 deployment is capable of discovering PostgresClusters so that any user who can sign in to that pgAdmin 4 deployment can see that PostgresCluster. How does that work?

Discovery by selector

Every pgadmin custom resource can be set up with 0 or more serverGroups as detailed above. Each serverGroup has a required postgresClusterSelector field which the Operator uses to select certain PostgresClusters by label.

Let's walk through the following pgadmin example to see how this would work.

  - name: demand
        owner: logistics
  - name: supply
    postgresClusterSelector: {}
  - name: maintenance
      - { key: owner, operator: In, values: [logistics, transportation] }

Here we have defined three serverGroups, showing three separate ways to select on labels.

  1. The demand group has a postgresClusterSelector in the matchLabels form: any PostgresCluster that matches all of the labels here will be registered automatically.

  2. The supply group matches an empty postgresClusterSelector. This is a Kubernetes-specific idiom that will match all PostgresClusters in the namespace.

  3. The maintenance group uses the matchExpressions format to define what labels to match on.

To be clear, this example is meant to demonstrate several different ways you can define the postgresClusterSelector. If you had a PostgresCluster with the label owner: logistics, you should be able to log in to your pgAdmin 4 instance and see that PostgresCluster in all three ServerGroups.


Warning about zero servers

If the serverGroups field is omitted or if the specified selectors do not match any PostgresClusters, then no servers will be found. Currently, if no servers are detected by pgAdmin 4, the initial administrator user will not be able to add new ServerGroups or Servers manually using the pgAdmin 4 dashboard.

In this case, the administrator user can still be used to manage users, and those users will be able to manually manage ServerGroups and Servers.

Registering the servers

When a PostgresCluster matches the postgresClusterSelector section of a serverGroup, that cluster will be registered in pgAdmin 4 as a shared server owned by the initial administrator user set up by pgAdmin 4.

Because the server is shared, any user who logs into this pgAdmin 4 will be able to see that PostgresCluster, but will be unable to delete or rename it.

(Note: for namespace-scoped pgAdmin 4 deployments, there is no automatic synchronization between pgAdmin 4 and Postgres users as there is with PostgresCluster-limited pgAdmin 4. Even if you can sign into pgAdmin 4 and see PostgresClusters, you will still need a valid Postgres user and credentials to access the Postgres database.)

So if you want to deploy one pgAdmin 4 to manage all the PostgresClusters in a namespace and share those servers with all the pgAdmin 4 users, you can set your pgadmin deployment to register all those PostgresClusters automatically and skip manually importing them one-by-one!

Configuring custom pgAdmin 4

You can configure pgAdmin 4 using the spec.config field. For most basic pgAdmin configurations you will only need the spec.config.settings field, but if you want to enable more advanced features, like external authentication sources, you will need to use some other fields. In this section we will go through an example configuration that outlines each of the spec.config sub-fields.

Basic pgAdmin settings

The spec.config.settings field will be used to set any value that you would find in the pgAdmin 4 file. Some of easiest values to describe are the SHOW_GRAVATAR_IMAGE and DEBUG settings. The following configuration will enable DEBUG mode and disable gravatars when your users log in:

      DEBUG: True

The values provided in spec.config.settings are stored in a ConfigMap that is mounted to the pgAdmin Pod. The mounted ConfigMap and its values are passed to pgAdmin through the configuration file.

It is worth noting that CPK will own some of the fields, and you won't be able to configure them. A good example of this is the SERVER_MODE setting. Since we want pgAdmin to run as a web server and not a desktop app, CPK will always set this value.


You can check the pgAdmin settings ConfigMap with the following command:

kubectl get cm -l -o yaml

Using custom files in pgAdmin

In some cases you may need to mount configuration files to the pgAdmin 4 Pod. For example, if you wanted to secure the connection to your LDAP server using TLS, you will need to provide cert files (more on that in LDAP TLS configuration). You can mount files by defining ConfigMaps or Secrets in the spec.config.files field. The contents of the defined objects are mounted to the /etc/pgadmin/conf.d directory in the pgAdmin Pod using projected volumes. The following mounts tls.crt of Secret mysecret to /etc/pgadmin/conf.d/tls.crt:

      - secret:
          name: mysecret
            - key: tls.crt

Authentication Sources

Another configuration option that pgAdmin provides is the AUTHENTICATION_SOURCES setting which allows you to adjust the ways in which pgAdmin users can authenticate. By default, pgAdmin is setup to only allow internal users to authenticate. If you wanted your pgAdmin users to be able to authenticate via an external source, such as LDAP, you would need to include this option in the AUTHENTICATION_SOURCES setting array.

You can include multiple AUTHENTICATION_SOURCES as an array:

      AUTHENTICATION_SOURCES: ['ldap', 'internal']

The first source in the list will have a higher priority, meaning you can use ldap as your first source and internal as a fallback in case ldap fails.

LDAP Configuration

The pgAdmin 4 file has configuration options to enable LDAP authentication into pgAdmin 4. These settings will depend on your LDAP server. We will go through some simple examples here to show how you can connect to an LDAP server.

Basic connection

You will configure a majority of LDAP settings using the spec.config.settings field. The first step to enabling LDAP is to update your AUTHENTICATION_SOURCES setting to include the new source. CPK requires that you enable the LDAP_AUTO_CREATE_USER setting so that pgAdmin will create a pgAdmin user for any LDAP user that successfully logs in.

      AUTHENTICATION_SOURCES: ['ldap', 'internal']
      LDAP_AUTO_CREATE_USER: True # Required if using LDAP authentication source

This is also where you will configure your LDAP_SERVER_URI and other LDAP settings, like LDAP_SEARCH_BASE_DN or LDAP_ANONYMOUS_BIND. Reference the pgAdmin 4 LDAP documentation for more information about LDAP settings.

LDAP Bind User and Password

Depending on your LDAP configuration, you might need to define a user and password that will bind pgAdmin 4 to the LDAP server. These options are defined in as LDAP_BIND_USER and LDAP_BIND_PASSWORD. You will define the LDAP_BIND_USER like you would any other setting. However, the LDAP_BIND_PASSWORD is not something that we recommend storing in your PGAdmin spec. Instead, CPK provides the ldapBindPassword field that lets you point at a Secret:

      LDAP_BIND_USER: $user
      name: ldappass
      key: $password

This field is a Secret key reference that will be mounted to the pgAdmin Pod. CPK will configure pgAdmin to look in the mounted file instead of using the plaintext LDAP_BIND_PASSWORD setting. This helps to keep you password secure.

Connection to a TLS LDAP server

If you are connecting to a LDAP server using TLS, you will need to provide cert files to secure the connection. Like we covered above, you will use the spec.config.settings field to mount your cert files. Once the files are available to pgAdmin, you will need to tell pgAdmin where to look for them. This is done using the LDAP_CA_CERT_FILE, LDAP_CERT_FILE, and LDAP_KEY_FILE settings. Your final spec should include something like this:

      LDAP_SERVER_URI: ldaps://
      LDAP_CA_CERT_FILE: /etc/pgadmin/conf.d/certs/ca.crt
      LDAP_CERT_FILE: /etc/pgadmin/conf.d/certs/tls.crt
      LDAP_KEY_FILE: /etc/pgadmin/conf.d/certs/tls.key
    - secret:
        name: openldap
          - key: ca.crt
            path: certs/ca.crt
          - key: tls.crt
            path: certs/tls.crt
          - key: tls.key
            path: certs/tls.key

Connecting to pgAdmin 4

To connect to pgAdmin 4, you will need to access the port and get the user credentials.

Accessing the pgAdmin 4 port

PgAdmin 4 is available on port 5050 of the Pod. To access it, you have two options:

  • Direct Port-Forwarding to the Pod: You can create a port-forward directly to the Pod.
  • Port-Forwarding via a Service: Alternatively, you can set up a Service and then establish a port-forward to that Service.

Before proceeding with either method, you need to identify the specific pgAdmin Pod you want to connect to. This can be done by selecting the Pod based on its label. If you want to connect to the rhino pgAdmin instance as mentioned earlier, execute the following command:

# You select the pod by the `` label
# and save the name to the variable PGADMIN_POD just to make it easier to reuse.
export PGADMIN_POD=$(kubectl get pod -n postgres-operator \
  -l -o name)

Once you've identified your pgAdmin Pod, you could port-foward to it directly:

kubectl port-forward -n postgres-operator ${PGADMIN_POD} 5050:5050

Or you could create a Service, such as by using the kubectl expose command and port-forwarding to that Service:

kubectl expose -n postgres-operator ${PGADMIN_POD} --name rhino-pgadmin

# `expose` creates a Service, which you can then use to port-forward:
kubectl port-forward -n postgres-operator svc/rhino-pgadmin 5050:5050

Point your browser at http://localhost:5050 and you will be prompted to log in.

Using your initial user credentials

pgAdmin 4 requires an initial administrator user. As part of deploying, CPK sets up an administrator user and creates a password for that user that you can use.

  • Username: The admin user name is set as admin@<pgAdmin_name>.<pgAdmin_namespace>.svc. So the user for a PGAdmin named rhino in the namespace postgres-operator would be admin@rhino.postgres-operator.svc. This naming format was chosen since pgAdmin 4 requires an email format in order to log in; and to reinforce the connection between the username and the pgAdmin 4 instance being logged into. For ease of use, this username is saved in the Secret with the label<pgAdmin_name>.
  • Password: The password is saved in a Secret with the label<pgAdmin_name>.

With the rhino pgadmin example, you could enter the following commands to get the username and password:

# To retrieve the username:
kubectl get secret -n postgres-operator \
  -l \
  -o jsonpath={.items\[0\].data.username} | base64 -d

# To retrieve the password:
kubectl get secret -n postgres-operator \
  -l \
  -o jsonpath={.items\[0\].data.password} | base64 -d

That will output the password. Now with the username and password, you can log in as the administrator and manage other users.

Deleting pgAdmin 4

You can remove the pgAdmin 4 deployment by sending a delete request:

kubectl delete pgadmin rhino -n postgres-operator

# or using the YAML file defined above
kubectl delete -f pgadmin.yaml