You need to be careful about the security of your PostgreSQL instance when installing PoWA.

We designed POWA so that the user interface will only communicate with PostgreSQL via prepared statements. This will prevent the risk of SQL injection.

However to connect to the PoWA User Interface, you will use the login and password of a PostgreSQL user. If you don’t protect your communications, an attacker placed between the GUI and PostgreSQL, or between you and the GUI, could gain your user rights to your database server.

Therefore we strongly recommend the following precautions:

  • Read the Great PostgreSQL Documentation
  • Check your pg_hba.conf file
  • Do not allow users to access PoWA from the Internet
  • Do not allow users to access PostgreSQL from the Internet
  • Run PoWA on a HTTPS server and disable HTTP access
  • Use SSL to protect the connection between the GUI and PostgreSQL
  • Reject unprotected connections between the GUI and PostgreSQL (hostnossl …. reject)
  • Check your pg_hba.conf file again

Please also note that you need to manually authorize the roles to see the data in the powa database. For instance, you might run:

powa=# GRANT SELECT ON pg_statistic TO ui_user;

User objects

powa-web will connect to the databases you select to help you optimize them.

Therefore, for each postgres roles using powa, you also need to:

  • grant SELECT privilege on the pg_statistic and the user tables (don’t forget tables that aren’t in the public schema).
  • give CONNECT privilege on the databases.

If you don’t, some useful parts of the UI won’t work as intended.

Connection on remote servers

With PoWA version 4 and newer, you can register remote servers in the powa_servers table (usually using the powa_register_server function).

This table can optionally store a password to connect on this remote server. If the password is NULL, the connection will then be attempted using the authentication method that libpq supports of your choice.

Storing a plain text password in this table is definitely NOT a best practice, and we encourage you to rely on the other libpq authentication methods.