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pgAdmin 4 Deployment Modes

Fahar Abbas4/5/2022
Thought leadershipOpen source

Desktop mode

Desktop mode can be installed using installers, RPM or DEB packages on Linux, and a disk image on macOS. 

Users can then easily run pgAdmin 4 from the Start Menu, launcher, Finder, or equivalent.

Desktop runtime mode is based on NWjs which integrates a browser and NodeJS, and manages pgAdmin's Python server to create a standalone application.

Features in Desktop mode

  • In order to secure and later unlock the saved server passwords, a master password is required. 
  • By default, PSQL is available. Using the PSQL tool, users can connect to PostgreSQL or EDB Advanced servers through their browser using the psql command line interface.
  • Under the File menu section, there is an option called Runtime. It includes Configure, View log, Enter Fullscreen, Actual size, Zoom in and Zoom out options, similar to those you might find in your web browser.
  • The data directory of the storage is set to the user’s home directory for all the platforms other than Windows. On Windows, the location is set to  %APPDATA%\pgAdmin

Server mode

Server mode can be installed using RPM, DEB, and Python packages. With RPM and DEB installations, the Apache HTTPD server will be configured to serve the application. A Docker container is also available.

Features in Server mode

  • Multi-user support, with the following authentication options in addition to an internal, standalone option:
    • LDAP
    • Kerberos
    • OAUTH2
    • Web server authentication
    • Two-Factor Authentication
  • A user management dialogue for managing user accounts.
  • In Server mode, PSQL is not enabled by default but users can use it after adding ENABLE_PSQL = True in the or configuration file.
  • Login Screen and Change Password are only available in this mode.
  • The data directory of the storage is set to /var/lib/pgadmin directory on all the platforms other than Windows. On Windows, the location is set to  %APPDATA%\pgAdmin
  • The Storage Manager under Tools is only available in server mode and allows users to manage files in their private storage area


In this blog, I explained the differences between desktop and server modes in pgAdmin 4.

  • For more information, please consult the documentation:


Fahar Abbas works at EDB as a Principal QA Engineer. He previously worked on multiple company products at EnterpriseDB, and has been a member of the pgAdmin team since 2016.