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A Problems and Common Errors

This appendix lists some common problems and error messages that you may encounter. It describes how to determine the causes of the problems and what to do to solve them.

A.1 How to Determine What Is Causing a Problem

When you run into a problem, the first thing you should do is to find out which program or piece of equipment is causing it:

If after you have examined all other possibilities and you have concluded that the MySQL server or a MySQL client is causing the problem, it's time to create a bug report for our mailing list or our support team. In the bug report, try to give a very detailed description of how the system is behaving and what you think is happening. You should also state why you think that MySQL is causing the problem. Take into consideration all the situations in this chapter. State any problems exactly how they appear when you examine your system. Use the ``copy and paste'' method for any output and error messages from programs and log files.

Try to describe in detail which program is not working and all symptoms you see. We have in the past received many bug reports that state only ``the system doesn't work.'' This doesn't provide us with any information about what could be the problem.

If a program fails, it's always useful to know the following information:

When sending a bug report, you should follow the outline described in section 1.4.1.2 Asking Questions or Reporting Bugs.

A.2 Common Errors When Using MySQL Programs

This section lists some errors that users frequently encounter when running MySQL programs. Although the problems show up when you try to run client programs, the solutions to many of the problems involves changing the configuration of the MySQL server.

A.2.1 Access denied

An Access denied error can have many causes. Often the problem is related to the MySQL accounts that the server allows client programs to use when connecting. See section 5.5.8 Causes of Access denied Errors. See section 5.5.2 How the Privilege System Works.

A.2.2 Can't connect to [local] MySQL server

A MySQL client on Unix can connect to the mysqld server in two different ways: By using a Unix socket file to connect through a file in the filesystem (default `/tmp/mysql.sock'), or by using TCP/IP, which connects through a port number. A Unix socket file connection is faster than TCP/IP, but can be used only when connecting to a server on the same computer. A Unix socket file is used if you don't specify a hostname or if you specify the special hostname localhost.

If the MySQL server is running on Windows 9x or Me, you can connect only via TCP/IP. If the server is running on Windows NT, 2000, XP, or 2003 and is started with the --enable-named-pipe option, you can also connect with named pipes if you run the client on the host where the server is running. The name of the named pipe is MySQL by default. If you don't give a hostname when connecting to mysqld, a MySQL client first will try to connect to the named pipe. If that doesn't work, it will connect to the TCP/IP port. You can force the use of named pipes on Windows by using . as the hostname.

The error (2002) Can't connect to ... normally means that there is no MySQL server running on the system or that you are using an incorrect Unix socket filename or TCP/IP port number when trying to connect to the server.

Start by checking whether there is a process named mysqld running on your server host. (Use ps xa | grep mysqld on Unix or the Task Manager on Windows.) If there is no such process, you should start the server. See section 2.9.2.3 Starting and Troubleshooting the MySQL Server.

If a mysqld process is running, you can check it by trying the following commands. The port number or Unix socket filename might be different in your setup. host_ip represents the IP number of the machine where the server is running.

shell> mysqladmin version
shell> mysqladmin variables
shell> mysqladmin -h `hostname` version variables
shell> mysqladmin -h `hostname` --port=3306 version
shell> mysqladmin -h host_ip version
shell> mysqladmin --protocol=socket --socket=/tmp/mysql.sock version

Note the use of backticks rather than forward quotes with the hostname command; these cause the output of hostname (that is, the current hostname) to be substituted into the mysqladmin command. If you have no hostname command or are running on Windows, you can manually type the hostname of your machine (without backticks) following the -h option. You can also try -h 127.0.0.1 to connect with TCP/IP to the local host.

Here are some reasons the Can't connect to local MySQL server error might occur:

If you get the error message Can't connect to MySQL server on some_host, you can try the following things to find out what the problem is:

A.2.3 Client does not support authentication protocol

MySQL 4.1 and up uses an authentication protocol based on a password hashing algorithm that is incompatible with that used by older clients. If you upgrade the server to 4.1, attempts to connect to it with an older client may fail with the following message:

shell> mysql
Client does not support authentication protocol requested
by server; consider upgrading MySQL client

To solve this problem, you should use one of the following approaches:

For additional background on password hashing and authentication, see section 5.5.9 Password Hashing in MySQL 4.1.

A.2.4 Password Fails When Entered Interactively

MySQL client programs prompt for a password when invoked with a --password or -p option that has no following password value:

shell> mysql -u user_name -p
Enter password:

On some systems, you may find that your password works when specified in an option file or on the command line, but not when you enter it interactively at the Enter password: prompt. This occurs when the library provided by the system to read passwords limits password values to a small number of characters (typically eight). That is a problem with the system library, not with MySQL. To work around it, change your MySQL password to a value that is eight or fewer characters long, or put your password in an option file.

A.2.5 Host 'host_name' is blocked

If you get the following error, it means that mysqld has received many connect requests from the host 'host_name' that have been interrupted in the middle:

Host 'host_name' is blocked because of many connection errors.
Unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'

The number of interrupted connect requests allowed is determined by the value of the max_connect_errors system variable. After max_connect_errors failed requests, mysqld assumes that something is wrong (for example, that someone is trying to break in), and blocks the host from further connections until you execute a mysqladmin flush-hosts command or issue a FLUSH HOSTS statement. See section 5.2.3 Server System Variables.

By default, mysqld blocks a host after 10 connection errors. You can adjust the value by starting the server like this:

shell> mysqld_safe --max_connect_errors=10000 &

If you get this error message for a given host, you should first verify that there isn't anything wrong with TCP/IP connections from that host. If you are having network problems, it will do you no good to increase the value of the max_connect_errors variable.

A.2.6 Too many connections

If you get a Too many connections error when you try to connect to the mysqld server, this means that all available connections already are used by other clients.

The number of connections allowed is controlled by the max_connections system variable. Its default value is 100. If you need to support more connections, you should restart mysqld with a larger value for this variable.

mysqld actually allows max_connections+1 clients to connect. The extra connection is reserved for use by accounts that have the SUPER privilege. By granting the SUPER privilege to administrators and not to normal users (who should not need it), an administrator can connect to the server and use SHOW PROCESSLIST to diagnose problems even if the maximum number of unprivileged clients already are connected. See section 13.5.4.15 SHOW PROCESSLIST Syntax.

The maximum number of connections MySQL can support depends on the quality of the thread library on a given platform. Linux or Solaris should be able to support 500-1000 simultaneous connections, depending on how much RAM you have and what your clients are doing. Static Linux binaries provided by MySQL AB can support up to 4000 connections.

A.2.7 Out of memory

If you issue a query using the mysql client program and receive an error like the following one, it means that mysql does not have enough memory to store the entire query result:

mysql: Out of memory at line 42, 'malloc.c'
mysql: needed 8136 byte (8k), memory in use: 12481367 bytes (12189k)
ERROR 2008: MySQL client ran out of memory

To remedy the problem, first check whether your query is correct. Is it reasonable that it should return so many rows? If not, correct the query and try again. Otherwise, you can invoke mysql with the --quick option. This causes it to use the mysql_use_result() C API function to retrieve the result set, which places less of a load on the client (but more on the server).

A.2.8 MySQL server has gone away

This section also covers the related Lost connection to server during query error.

The most common reason for the MySQL server has gone away error is that the server timed out and closed the connection. In this case, you normally get one of the following error codes (which one you get is operating system-dependent):

Error Code Description
CR_SERVER_GONE_ERROR The client couldn't send a question to the server.
CR_SERVER_LOST The client didn't get an error when writing to the server, but it didn't get a full answer (or any answer) to the question.

By default, the server closes the connection after eight hours if nothing has happened. You can change the time limit by setting the wait_timeout variable when you start mysqld. See section 5.2.3 Server System Variables.

If you have a script, you just have to issue the query again for the client to do an automatic reconnection. This assumes that you have automatic reconnection in the client enabled (which is the default for the mysql command-line client).

Some other common reasons for the MySQL server has gone away error are:

You can check whether the MySQL server died and restarted by executing mysqladmin version and examining the server's uptime. If the client connection was broken because mysqld crashed and restarted, you should concentrate on finding the reason for the crash. Start by checking whether issuing the query again kills the server again. See section A.4.2 What to Do If MySQL Keeps Crashing.

You can get more information about the lost connections by starting mysqld with the --log-warnings=2 option. This will log some of the disconnected errors in the hostname.err file. See section 5.9.1 The Error Log.

If you want to create a bug report regarding this problem, be sure that you include the following information:

See also See section A.2.10 Communication Errors and Aborted Connections.

See section 1.4.1.2 Asking Questions or Reporting Bugs.

A.2.9 Packet too large

A communication packet is a single SQL statement sent to the MySQL server or a single row that is sent to the client.

In MySQL 3.23, the largest possible packet is 16MB, due to limits in the client/server protocol. In MySQL 4.0.1 and up, the limit is 1GB.

When a MySQL client or the mysqld server receives a packet bigger than max_allowed_packet bytes, it issues a Packet too large error and closes the connection. With some clients, you may also get a Lost connection to MySQL server during query error if the communication packet is too large.

Both the client and the server have their own max_allowed_packet variable, so if you want to handle big packets, you must increase this variable both in the client and in the server.

If you are using the mysql client program, its default max_allowed_packet variable is 16MB. That is also the maximum value before MySQL 4.0. To set a larger value from 4.0 on, start mysql like this:

mysql> mysql --max_allowed_packet=32M

That sets the packet size to 32MB.

The server's default max_allowed_packet value is 1MB. You can increase this if the server needs to handle big queries (for example, if you are working with big BLOB columns). For example, to set the variable to 16MB, start the server like this:

mysql> mysqld --max_allowed_packet=16M

Before MySQL 4.0, use this syntax instead:

mysql> mysqld --set-variable=max_allowed_packet=16M

You can also use an option file to set max_allowed_packet. For example, to set the size for the server to 16MB, add the following lines in an option file:

[mysqld]
max_allowed_packet=16M

Before MySQL 4.0, use this syntax instead:

[mysqld]
set-variable = max_allowed_packet=16M

It's safe to increase the value of this variable because the extra memory is allocated only when needed. For example, mysqld allocates more memory only when you issue a long query or when mysqld must return a large result row. The small default value of the variable is a precaution to catch incorrect packets between the client and server and also to ensure that you don't run out of memory by using large packets accidentally.

You can also get strange problems with large packets if you are using large BLOB values but have not given mysqld access to enough memory to handle the query. If you suspect this is the case, try adding ulimit -d 256000 to the beginning of the mysqld_safe script and restarting mysqld.

A.2.10 Communication Errors and Aborted Connections

The server error log can be a useful source of information about connection problems. See section 5.9.1 The Error Log. Starting with MySQL 3.23.40, if you start the server with the --warnings option (or --log-warnings from MySQL 4.0.3 on), you might find messages like this in your error log:

010301 14:38:23  Aborted connection 854 to db: 'users' user: 'josh'

If Aborted connections messages appear in the error log, the cause can be any of the following:

When any of these things happen, the server increments the Aborted_clients status variable.

The server increments the Aborted_connects status variable when the following things happen:

If these kinds of things happen, it might indicate that someone is trying to break into your server!

Other reasons for problems with aborted clients or aborted connections:

See also See section A.2.8 MySQL server has gone away.

A.2.11 The table is full

There are several ways a full-table error can occur:

A.2.12 Can't create/write to file

If you get an error of the following type for some queries, it means that MySQL cannot create a temporary file for the result set in the temporary directory:

Can't create/write to file '\\sqla3fe_0.ism'.

The preceding error is a typical message for Windows; the Unix message is similar.

One fix is to start mysqld with the --tmpdir option or to add the option to the [mysqld] section of your option file. For example, to specify a directory of `C:\temp', use these lines:

[mysqld]
tmpdir=C:/temp

The `C:\temp' directory must already exist and have sufficient space for the MySQL server to write to. See section 4.3.2 Using Option Files.

Another cause of this error can be permissions issues. Make sure that the MySQL server can write to the tmpdir directory.

Check also the error code that you get with perror. One reason the server cannot write to a table is that the filesystem is full:

shell> perror 28
Error code  28:  No space left on device

A.2.13 Commands out of sync

If you get Commands out of sync; you can't run this command now in your client code, you are calling client functions in the wrong order.

This can happen, for example, if you are using mysql_use_result() and try to execute a new query before you have called mysql_free_result(). It can also happen if you try to execute two queries that return data without calling mysql_use_result() or mysql_store_result() in between.

A.2.14 Ignoring user

If you get the following error, it means that when mysqld was started or when it reloaded the grant tables, it found an account in the user table that had an invalid password.

Found wrong password for user 'some_user'@'some_host'; ignoring user

As a result, the account is simply ignored by the permission system.

The following list indicates possible causes of and fixes for this problem:

A.2.15 Table 'tbl_name' doesn't exist

If you get either of the following errors, it usually means that no table exists in the current database with the given name:

Table 'tbl_name' doesn't exist
Can't find file: 'tbl_name' (errno: 2)

In some cases, it may be that the table does exist but that you are referring to it incorrectly:

You can check which tables are in the current database with SHOW TABLES. See section 13.5.4 SHOW Syntax.

A.2.16 Can't initialize character set

You might see an error like this if you have character set problems:

MySQL Connection Failed: Can't initialize character set charset_name

This error can have any of the following causes:

A.2.17 File Not Found

If you get ERROR '...' not found (errno: 23), Can't open file: ... (errno: 24), or any other error with errno 23 or errno 24 from MySQL, it means that you haven't allocated enough file descriptors for the MySQL server. You can use the perror utility to get a description of what the error number means:

shell> perror 23
Error code  23:  File table overflow
shell> perror 24
Error code  24:  Too many open files
shell> perror 11
Error code  11:  Resource temporarily unavailable

The problem here is that mysqld is trying to keep open too many files simultaneously. You can either tell mysqld not to open so many files at once or increase the number of file descriptors available to mysqld.

To tell mysqld to keep open fewer files at a time, you can make the table cache smaller by reducing the value of the table_cache system variable (the default value is 64). Reducing the value of max_connections also will reduce the number of open files (the default value is 100).

To change the number of file descriptors available to mysqld, you can use the --open-files-limit option to mysqld_safe or (as of MySQL 3.23.30) set the open_files_limit system variable. See section 5.2.3 Server System Variables. The easiest way to set these values is to add an option to your option file. See section 4.3.2 Using Option Files. If you have an old version of mysqld that doesn't support setting the open files limit, you can edit the mysqld_safe script. There is a commented-out line ulimit -n 256 in the script. You can remove the `#' character to uncomment this line, and change the number 256 to set the number of file descriptors to be made available to mysqld.

--open-files-limit and ulimit can increase the number of file descriptors, but only up to the limit imposed by the operating system. There is also a ``hard'' limit that can be overridden only if you start mysqld_safe or mysqld as root (just remember that you also need to start the server with the --user option in this case so that it does not continue to run as root after it starts up). If you need to increase the operating system limit on the number of file descriptors available to each process, consult the documentation for your system.

Note: If you run the tcsh shell, ulimit will not work! tcsh will also report incorrect values when you ask for the current limits. In this case, you should start mysqld_safe using sh.

A.3 Installation-Related Issues

A.3.1 Problems Linking to the MySQL Client Library

When you are linking an application program to use the MySQL client library, you might get undefined reference errors for symbols that start with mysql_, such as those shown here:

/tmp/ccFKsdPa.o: In function `main':
/tmp/ccFKsdPa.o(.text+0xb): undefined reference to `mysql_init'
/tmp/ccFKsdPa.o(.text+0x31): undefined reference to `mysql_real_connect'
/tmp/ccFKsdPa.o(.text+0x57): undefined reference to `mysql_real_connect'
/tmp/ccFKsdPa.o(.text+0x69): undefined reference to `mysql_error'
/tmp/ccFKsdPa.o(.text+0x9a): undefined reference to `mysql_close'

You should be able to solve this problem by adding -Ldir_path -lmysqlclient at the end of your link command, where dir_path represents the pathname of the directory where the client library is located. To determine the correct directory, try this command:

shell> mysql_config --libs

The output from mysql_config might indicate other libraries that should be specified on the link command as well.

If you get undefined reference errors for the uncompress or compress function, add -lz to the end of your link command and try again.

If you get undefined reference errors for a function that should exist on your system, such as connect, check the manual page for the function in question to determine which libraries you should add to the link command.

You might get undefined reference errors such as the following for functions that don't exist on your system:

mf_format.o(.text+0x201): undefined reference to `__lxstat'

This usually means that your MySQL client library was compiled on a system that is not 100% compatible with yours. In this case, you should download the latest MySQL source distribution and compile MySQL yourself. See section 2.8 MySQL Installation Using a Source Distribution.

You might get undefined reference errors at runtime when you try to execute a MySQL program. If these errors specify symbols that start with mysql_ or indicate that the mysqlclient library can't be found, it means that your system can't find the shared `libmysqlclient.so' library. The fix for this is to tell your system to search for shared libraries where the library is located. Use whichever of the following methods is appropriate for your system:

Another way to solve this problem is by linking your program statically with the -static option, or by removing the dynamic MySQL libraries before linking your code. Before trying the second method, you should be sure that no other programs are using the dynamic libraries.

A.3.2 How to Run MySQL as a Normal User

On Windows, you can run the server as a Windows service using normal user accounts beginning with MySQL 4.0.17 and 4.1.2. (Older MySQL versions required you to have administrator rights. This was a bug introduced in MySQL 3.23.54.)

On Unix, the MySQL server mysqld can be started and run by any user. However, you should avoid running the server as the Unix root user for security reasons. In order to change mysqld to run as a normal unprivileged Unix user user_name, you must do the following:

  1. Stop the server if it's running (use mysqladmin shutdown).
  2. Change the database directories and files so that user_name has privileges to read and write files in them (you might need to do this as the Unix root user):
    shell> chown -R user_name /path/to/mysql/datadir
    
    If you do not do this, the server will not be able to access databases or tables when it runs as user_name. If directories or files within the MySQL data directory are symbolic links, you'll also need to follow those links and change the directories and files they point to. chown -R might not follow symbolic links for you.
  3. Start the server as user user_name. If you are using MySQL 3.22 or later, another alternative is to start mysqld as the Unix root user and use the --user=user_name option. mysqld will start up, then switch to run as the Unix user user_name before accepting any connections.
  4. To start the server as the given user automatically at system startup time, specify the username by adding a user option to the [mysqld] group of the `/etc/my.cnf' option file or the `my.cnf' option file in the server's data directory. For example:
    [mysqld]
    user=user_name
    

If your Unix machine itself isn't secured, you should assign passwords to the MySQL root accounts in the grant tables. Otherwise, any user with a login account on that machine can run the mysql client with a --user=root option and perform any operation. (It is a good idea to assign passwords to MySQL accounts in any case, but especially so when other login accounts exist on the server host.) See section 2.9 Post-Installation Setup and Testing.

A.3.3 Problems with File Permissions

If you have problems with file permissions, the UMASK environment variable might be set incorrectly when mysqld starts. For example, MySQL might issue the following error message when you create a table:

ERROR: Can't find file: 'path/with/filename.frm' (Errcode: 13)

The default UMASK value is 0660. You can change this behavior by starting mysqld_safe as follows:

shell> UMASK=384  # = 600 in octal
shell> export UMASK
shell> mysqld_safe &

By default, MySQL creates database and RAID directories with an access permission value of 0700. You can modify this behavior by setting the UMASK_DIR variable. If you set its value, new directories are created with the combined UMASK and UMASK_DIR values. For example, if you want to give group access to all new directories, you can do this:

shell> UMASK_DIR=504  # = 770 in octal
shell> export UMASK_DIR
shell> mysqld_safe &

In MySQL 3.23.25 and above, MySQL assumes that the value for UMASK and UMASK_DIR is in octal if it starts with a zero.

See section F Environment Variables.

A.4 Administration-Related Issues

A.4.1 How to Reset the Root Password

If you have never set a root password for MySQL, the server will not require a password at all for connecting as root. However, it is recommended to set a password for each account. See section 5.4.1 General Security Guidelines.

If you set a root password previously, but have forgotten what it was, you can set a new password. The following procedure is for Windows systems. The procedure for Unix systems is given later in this section.

The procedure under Windows:

  1. Log on to your system as Administrator.
  2. Stop the MySQL server if it is running. For a server that is running as a Windows service, go to the Services manager:
    Start Menu -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services
    
    Then find the MySQL service in the list, and stop it. If your server is not running as a service, you may need to use the Task Manager to force it to stop.
  3. Open a console window to get to the DOS command prompt:
    Start Menu -> Run -> cmd
    
  4. We are assuming that you installed MySQL to `C:\mysql'. If you installed MySQL to another location, adjust the following commands accordingly. At the DOS command prompt, execute this command:
    C:\> C:\mysql\bin\mysqld-nt --skip-grant-tables
    
    This starts the server in a special mode that does not check the grant tables to control access.
  5. Keeping the first console window open, open a second console window and execute the following commands (type each on a single line):
    C:\> C:\mysql\bin\mysqladmin -u root
             flush-privileges password "newpwd"
    C:\> C:\mysql\bin\mysqladmin -u root -p shutdown
    
    Replace ``newpwd'' with the actual root password that you want to use. The second command will prompt you to enter the new password for access. Enter the password that you assigned in the first command.
  6. Stop the MySQL server, then restart it in normal mode again. If you run the server as a service, start it from the Windows Services window. If you start the server manually, use whatever command you normally use.
  7. You should now be able to connect using the new password.

In a Unix environment, the procedure for resetting the root password is as follows:

  1. Log on to your system as either the Unix root user or as the same user that the mysqld server runs as.
  2. Locate the `.pid' file that contains the server's process ID. The exact location and name of this file depend on your distribution, hostname, and configuration. Common locations are `/var/lib/mysql/', `/var/run/mysqld/', and `/usr/local/mysql/data/'. Generally, the filename has the extension of `.pid' and begins with either `mysqld' or your system's hostname. Now you can stop the MySQL server by sending a normal kill (not kill -9) to the mysqld process, using the pathname of the `.pid' file in the following command:
    shell> kill `cat /mysql-data-directory/host_name.pid`
    
    Note the use of backticks rather than forward quotes with the cat command; these cause the output of cat to be substituted into the kill command.
  3. Restart the MySQL server with the special --skip-grant-tables option:
    shell> mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &
    
  4. Set a new password for the root@localhost MySQL account:
    shell> mysqladmin -u root flush-privileges password "newpwd"
    
    Replace ``newpwd'' with the actual root password that you want to use.
  5. You should now be able to connect using the new password.

Alternatively, on any platform, you can set the new password using the mysql client:

  1. Stop mysqld and restart it with the --skip-grant-tables option as described earlier.
  2. Connect to the mysqld server with this command:
    shell> mysql -u root
    
  3. Issue the following statements in the mysql client:
    mysql> UPDATE mysql.user SET Password=PASSWORD('newpwd')
        ->                   WHERE User='root';
    mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
    
    Replace ``newpwd'' with the actual root password that you want to use.
  4. You should now be able to connect using the new password.

A.4.2 What to Do If MySQL Keeps Crashing

Each MySQL version is tested on many platforms before it is released. This doesn't mean that there are no bugs in MySQL, but if there are bugs, they should be very few and can be hard to find. If you have a problem, it will always help if you try to find out exactly what crashes your system, because you will have a much better chance of getting the problem fixed quickly.

First, you should try to find out whether the problem is that the mysqld server dies or whether your problem has to do with your client. You can check how long your mysqld server has been up by executing mysqladmin version. If mysqld has died and restarted, you may find the reason by looking in the server's error log. See section 5.9.1 The Error Log.

On some systems, you can find in the error log a stack trace of where mysqld died that you can resolve with the resolve_stack_dump program. See section E.1.4 Using a Stack Trace. Note that the variable values written in the error log may not always be 100% correct.

Many server crashes are caused by corrupted data files or index files. MySQL will update the files on disk with the write() system call after every SQL statement and before the client is notified about the result. (This is not true if you are running with --delay-key-write, in which case data files are written but not index files.) This means that data file contents are safe even if mysqld crashes, because the operating system will ensure that the unflushed data is written to disk. You can force MySQL to flush everything to disk after every SQL statement by starting mysqld with the --flush option.

The preceding means that normally you should not get corrupted tables unless one of the following happens:

Because it is very difficult to know why something is crashing, first try to check whether things that work for others crash for you. Please try the following things:

A.4.3 How MySQL Handles a Full Disk

This section describes how MySQL responds to disk-full errors (such as ``no space left on device''), and, as of MySQL 4.0.22, to quota-exceeded errors (such as ``write failed'' or ``user block limit reached").

This section is relevant for writes to MyISAM tables. As of MySQL 4.1.9, it also applies for writes to binary log files and binary log index file, except that references to ``row'' and ``record'' should be understood to mean ``event.''

When a disk-full condition occurs, MySQL does the following:

To alleviate the problem, you can take the following actions:

Exceptions to the preceding behavior are when you use REPAIR TABLE or OPTIMIZE TABLE or when the indexes are created in a batch after LOAD DATA INFILE or after an ALTER TABLE statement. All of these statements may create large temporary files that, if left to themselves, would cause big problems for the rest of the system. If the disk becomes full while MySQL is doing any of these operations, it will remove the big temporary files and mark the table as crashed. The exception is that for ALTER TABLE, the old table will be left unchanged.

A.4.4 Where MySQL Stores Temporary Files

MySQL uses the value of the TMPDIR environment variable as the pathname of the directory in which to store temporary files. If you don't have TMPDIR set, MySQL uses the system default, which is normally `/tmp', `/var/tmp', or `/usr/tmp'. If the filesystem containing your temporary file directory is too small, you can use the --tmpdir option to mysqld to specify a directory in a filesystem where you have enough space.

Starting from MySQL 4.1, the --tmpdir option can be set to a list of several paths that are used in round-robin fashion. Paths should be separated by colon characters (`:') on Unix and semicolon characters (`;') on Windows, NetWare, and OS/2. Note: To spread the load effectively, these paths should be located on different physical disks, not different partitions of the same disk.

If the MySQL server is acting as a replication slave, you should not set --tmpdir to point to a directory on a memory-based filesystem or to a directory that is cleared when the server host restarts. A replication slave needs some of its temporary files to survive a machine restart so that it can replicate temporary tables or LOAD DATA INFILE operations. If files in the temporary file directory are lost when the server restarts, replication will fail.

MySQL creates all temporary files as hidden files. This ensures that the temporary files will be removed if mysqld is terminated. The disadvantage of using hidden files is that you will not see a big temporary file that fills up the filesystem in which the temporary file directory is located.

When sorting (ORDER BY or GROUP BY), MySQL normally uses one or two temporary files. The maximum disk space required is determined by the following expression:

(length of what is sorted + sizeof(row pointer))
* number of matched rows
* 2

The row pointer size is usually four bytes, but may grow in the future for really big tables.

For some SELECT queries, MySQL also creates temporary SQL tables. These are not hidden and have names of the form `SQL_*'.

ALTER TABLE creates a temporary table in the same directory as the original table.

A.4.5 How to Protect or Change the MySQL Socket File `/tmp/mysql.sock'

The default location for the Unix socket file that the server uses for communication with local clients is `/tmp/mysql.sock'. This might cause problems, because on some versions of Unix, anyone can delete files in the `/tmp' directory.

On most versions of Unix, you can protect your `/tmp' directory so that files can be deleted only by their owners or the superuser (root). To do this, set the sticky bit on the `/tmp' directory by logging in as root and using the following command:

shell> chmod +t /tmp

You can check whether the sticky bit is set by executing ls -ld /tmp. If the last permission character is t, the bit is set.

Another approach is to change the place where the server creates the Unix socket file. If you do this, you should also let client programs know the new location of the file. You can specify the file location in several ways:

You can test whether the new socket location works by attempting to connect to the server with this command:

shell> mysqladmin --socket=/path/to/socket version

A.4.6 Time Zone Problems

If you have a problem with SELECT NOW() returning values in GMT and not your local time, you have to tell the server your current time zone. The same applies if UNIX_TIMESTAMP() returns the wrong value. This should be done for the environment in which the server runs; for example, in mysqld_safe or mysql.server. See section F Environment Variables.

You can set the time zone for the server with the --timezone=timezone_name option to mysqld_safe. You can also set it by setting the TZ environment variable before you start mysqld.

The allowable values for --timezone or TZ are system-dependent. Consult your operating system documentation to see what values are acceptable.

A.5 Query-Related Issues

A.5.1 Case Sensitivity in Searches

By default, MySQL searches are not case sensitive (although there are some character sets that are never case insensitive, such as czech). This means that if you search with col_name LIKE 'a%', you will get all column values that start with A or a. If you want to make this search case sensitive, make sure that one of the operands is a binary string. You can do this with the BINARY operator. Write the condition as either BINARY col_name LIKE 'a%' or col_name LIKE BINARY 'a%'.

If you want a column always to be treated in case-sensitive fashion, declare it as BINARY. See section 13.2.6 CREATE TABLE Syntax.

Simple comparison operations (>=, >, =, <, <=, sorting, and grouping) are based on each character's ``sort value.'' Characters with the same sort value (such as `E', `e', and `é') are treated as the same character.

If you are using Chinese data in the so-called big5 encoding, you want to make all character columns BINARY. This works because the sorting order of big5 encoding characters is based on the order of ASCII codes. As of MySQL 4.1, you can explicitly declare that a column should use the big5 character set:

CREATE TABLE t (name CHAR(40) CHARACTER SET big5);

A.5.2 Problems Using DATE Columns

The format of a DATE value is 'YYYY-MM-DD'. According to standard SQL, no other format is allowed. You should use this format in UPDATE expressions and in the WHERE clause of SELECT statements. For example:

mysql> SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE date >= '2003-05-05';

As a convenience, MySQL automatically converts a date to a number if the date is used in a numeric context (and vice versa). It is also smart enough to allow a ``relaxed'' string form when updating and in a WHERE clause that compares a date to a TIMESTAMP, DATE, or DATETIME column. (``Relaxed form'' means that any punctuation character may be used as the separator between parts. For example, '2004-08-15' and '2004#08#15' are equivalent.) MySQL can also convert a string containing no separators (such as '20040815'), provided it makes sense as a date.

The special date '0000-00-00' can be stored and retrieved as '0000-00-00'. When using a '0000-00-00' date through MyODBC, it is automatically converted to NULL in MyODBC 2.50.12 and above, because ODBC can't handle this kind of date.

Because MySQL performs the conversions described above, the following statements work:

mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES (19970505);
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('19970505');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('97-05-05');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('1997.05.05');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('1997 05 05');
mysql> INSERT INTO tbl_name (idate) VALUES ('0000-00-00');

mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= '1997-05-05';
mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= 19970505;
mysql> SELECT MOD(idate,100) FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= 19970505;
mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE idate >= '19970505';

However, the following will not work:

mysql> SELECT idate FROM tbl_name WHERE STRCMP(idate,'20030505')=0;

STRCMP() is a string function, so it converts idate to a string in 'YYYY-MM-DD' format and performs a string comparison. It does not convert '20030505' to the date '2003-05-05' and perform a date comparison.

If you are using the ALLOW_INVALID_DATES SQL mode, MySQL allows you to store dates that are given only limited checking: MySQL ensures only that the day is in the range from 1 to 31 and the month is in the range from 1 to 12.

This makes MySQL very convenient for Web applications where you obtain year, month, and day in three different fields and you want to store exactly what the user inserted (without date validation).

If you are not using the NO_ZERO_IN_DATE SQL mode, the day or month part can be zero. This is convenient if you want to store a birthdate in a DATE column and you know only part of the date.

If you are not using the NO_ZERO_DATE SQL mode, MySQL also allows you to store '0000-00-00' as a ``dummy date.'' This is in some cases more convenient than using NULL values.

If the date cannot be converted to any reasonable value, a 0 is stored in the DATE column, which will be retrieved as '0000-00-00'. This is both a speed and a convenience issue. We believe that the database server's responsibility is to retrieve the same date you stored (even if the data was not logically correct in all cases). We think it is up to the application and not the server to check the dates.

If you want MySQL to check all dates and accept only legal dates (unless overriden by IGNORE), you should set sql_mode to "NO_ZERO_IN_DATE,NO_ZERO_DATE".

Date handling in MySQL 5.0.1 and earlier works like MySQL 5.0.2 with the ALLOW_INVALID_DATES SQL mode enabled.

A.5.3 Problems with NULL Values

The concept of the NULL value is a common source of confusion for newcomers to SQL, who often think that NULL is the same thing as an empty string ''. This is not the case. For example, the following statements are completely different:

mysql> INSERT INTO my_table (phone) VALUES (NULL);
mysql> INSERT INTO my_table (phone) VALUES ('');

Both statements insert a value into the phone column, but the first inserts a NULL value and the second inserts an empty string. The meaning of the first can be regarded as ``phone number is not known'' and the meaning of the second can be regarded as ``the person is known to have no phone, and thus no phone number.''

To help with NULL handling, you can use the IS NULL and IS NOT NULL operators and the IFNULL() function.

In SQL, the NULL value is never true in comparison to any other value, even NULL. An expression that contains NULL always produces a NULL value unless otherwise indicated in the documentation for the operators and functions involved in the expression. All columns in the following example return NULL:

mysql> SELECT NULL, 1+NULL, CONCAT('Invisible',NULL);

If you want to search for column values that are NULL, you cannot use an expr = NULL test. The following statement returns no rows, because expr = NULL is never true for any expression:

mysql> SELECT * FROM my_table WHERE phone = NULL;

To look for NULL values, you must use the IS NULL test. The following statements show how to find the NULL phone number and the empty phone number:

mysql> SELECT * FROM my_table WHERE phone IS NULL;
mysql> SELECT * FROM my_table WHERE phone = '';

You can add an index on a column that can have NULL values if you are using MySQL 3.23.2 or newer and are using the MyISAM, InnoDB, or BDB storage engine. As of MySQL 4.0.2, the MEMORY storage engine also supports NULL values in indexes. Otherwise, you must declare an indexed column NOT NULL and you cannot insert NULL into the column.

When reading data with LOAD DATA INFILE, empty or missing columns are updated with ''. If you want a NULL value in a column, you should use \N in the data file. The literal word ``NULL'' may also be used under some circumstances. See section 13.1.5 LOAD DATA INFILE Syntax.

When using DISTINCT, GROUP BY, or ORDER BY, all NULL values are regarded as equal.

When using ORDER BY, NULL values are presented first, or last if you specify DESC to sort in descending order. Exception: In MySQL 4.0.2 through 4.0.10, NULL values sort first regardless of sort order.

Aggregate (summary) functions such as COUNT(), MIN(), and SUM() ignore NULL values. The exception to this is COUNT(*), which counts rows and not individual column values. For example, the following statement produces two counts. The first is a count of the number of rows in the table, and the second is a count of the number of non-NULL values in the age column:

mysql> SELECT COUNT(*), COUNT(age) FROM person;

For some column types, MySQL handles NULL values specially. If you insert NULL into a TIMESTAMP column, the current date and time is inserted. If you insert NULL into an integer column that has the AUTO_INCREMENT attribute, the next number in the sequence is inserted.

A.5.4 Problems with Column Aliases

You can use an alias to refer to a column in GROUP BY, ORDER BY, or HAVING clauses. Aliases can also be used to give columns better names:

SELECT SQRT(a*b) AS root FROM tbl_name GROUP BY root HAVING root > 0;
SELECT id, COUNT(*) AS cnt FROM tbl_name GROUP BY id HAVING cnt > 0;
SELECT id AS 'Customer identity' FROM tbl_name;

Standard SQL doesn't allow you to refer to a column alias in a WHERE clause. This is because when the WHERE code is executed, the column value may not yet be determined. For example, the following query is illegal:

SELECT id, COUNT(*) AS cnt FROM tbl_name WHERE cnt > 0 GROUP BY id;

The WHERE statement is executed to determine which rows should be included in the GROUP BY part, whereas HAVING is used to decide which rows from the result set should be used.

A.5.5 Rollback Failure for Non-Transactional Tables

If you receive the following message when trying to perform a ROLLBACK, it means that one or more of the tables you used in the transaction do not support transactions:

Warning: Some non-transactional changed tables couldn't be rolled back

These non-transactional tables will not be affected by the ROLLBACK statement.

If you were not deliberately mixing transactional and non-transactional tables within the transaction, the most likely cause for this message is that a table you thought was transactional actually is not. This can happen if you try to create a table using a transactional storage engine that is not supported by your mysqld server (or that was disabled with a startup option). If mysqld doesn't support a storage engine, it will instead create the table as a MyISAM table, which is non-transactional.

You can check the table type for a table by using either of these statements:

SHOW TABLE STATUS LIKE 'tbl_name';
SHOW CREATE TABLE tbl_name;

See section 13.5.4.17 SHOW TABLE STATUS Syntax and section 13.5.4.5 SHOW CREATE TABLE Syntax.

You can check which storage engines your mysqld server supports by using this statement:

SHOW ENGINES;

Before MySQL 4.1.2, SHOW ENGINES is unavailable. Use the following statement instead and check the value of the variable that is associated with the storage engine in which you are interested:

SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'have_%';

For example, to determine whether the InnoDB storage engine is available, check the value of the have_innodb variable.

See section 13.5.4.8 SHOW ENGINES Syntax and section 13.5.4.19 SHOW VARIABLES Syntax.

A.5.6 Deleting Rows from Related Tables

MySQL does not support subqueries prior to Version 4.1, or the use of more than one table in the DELETE statement prior to Version 4.0. If your version of MySQL does not support subqueries or multiple-table DELETE statements, you can use the following approach to delete rows from two related tables:

  1. SELECT the rows based on some WHERE condition in the main table.
  2. DELETE the rows in the main table based on the same condition.
  3. DELETE FROM related_table WHERE related_column IN (selected_rows).

If the total length of the DELETE statement for related_table is more than 1MB (the default value of the max_allowed_packet system variable), you should split it into smaller parts and execute multiple DELETE statements. You will probably get the fastest DELETE by specifying only 100 to 1,000 related_column values per statement if the related_column is indexed. If the related_column isn't indexed, the speed is independent of the number of arguments in the IN clause.

A.5.7 Solving Problems with No Matching Rows

If you have a complicated query that uses many tables but that doesn't return any rows, you should use the following procedure to find out what is wrong:

  1. Test the query with EXPLAIN to check whether you can find something that is obviously wrong. See section 7.2.1 EXPLAIN Syntax (Get Information About a SELECT).
  2. Select only those columns that are used in the WHERE clause.
  3. Remove one table at a time from the query until it returns some rows. If the tables are large, it's a good idea to use LIMIT 10 with the query.
  4. Issue a SELECT for the column that should have matched a row against the table that was last removed from the query.
  5. If you are comparing FLOAT or DOUBLE columns with numbers that have decimals, you can't use equality (=) comparisons. This problem is common in most computer languages because not all floating-point values can be stored with exact precision. In some cases, changing the FLOAT to a DOUBLE will fix this. See section A.5.8 Problems with Floating-Point Comparisons.
  6. If you still can't figure out what's wrong, create a minimal test that can be run with mysql test < query.sql that shows your problems. You can create a test file by dumping the tables with mysqldump --quick db_name tbl_name_1 ... tbl_name_n > query.sql. Open the file in an editor, remove some insert lines (if there are more than needed to demonstrate the problem), and add your SELECT statement at the end of the file. Verify that the test file demonstrates the problem by executing these commands:
    shell> mysqladmin create test2
    shell> mysql test2 < query.sql
    
    Post the test file using mysqlbug to the general MySQL mailing list. See section 1.4.1.1 The MySQL Mailing Lists.

A.5.8 Problems with Floating-Point Comparisons

Floating-point numbers sometimes cause confusion because they are not stored as exact values inside computer architecture. What you can see on the screen usually is not the exact value of the number. The column types FLOAT, DOUBLE, and DECIMAL are such. DECIMAL columns store values with exact precision because they are represented as strings, but calculations on DECIMAL values may be done using floating-point operations.

The following example demonstrate the problem. It shows that even for the DECIMAL column type, calculations that are done using floating-point operations are subject to floating-point error.

mysql> CREATE TABLE t1 (i INT, d1 DECIMAL(9,2), d2 DECIMAL(9,2));
mysql> INSERT INTO t1 VALUES (1, 101.40, 21.40), (1, -80.00, 0.00),
    -> (2, 0.00, 0.00), (2, -13.20, 0.00), (2, 59.60, 46.40),
    -> (2, 30.40, 30.40), (3, 37.00, 7.40), (3, -29.60, 0.00),
    -> (4, 60.00, 15.40), (4, -10.60, 0.00), (4, -34.00, 0.00),
    -> (5, 33.00, 0.00), (5, -25.80, 0.00), (5, 0.00, 7.20),
    -> (6, 0.00, 0.00), (6, -51.40, 0.00);

mysql> SELECT i, SUM(d1) AS a, SUM(d2) AS b
    -> FROM t1 GROUP BY i HAVING a <> b;
+------+--------+-------+
| i    | a      | b     |
+------+--------+-------+
|    1 |  21.40 | 21.40 |
|    2 |  76.80 | 76.80 |
|    3 |   7.40 |  7.40 |
|    4 |  15.40 | 15.40 |
|    5 |   7.20 |  7.20 |
|    6 | -51.40 |  0.00 |
+------+--------+-------+

The result is correct. Although the first five records look like they shouldn't pass the comparison test (the values of a and b do not appear to be different), they may do so because the difference between the numbers shows up around the tenth decimal or so, depending on computer architecture.

The problem cannot be solved by using ROUND() or similar functions, because the result is still a floating-point number:

mysql> SELECT i, ROUND(SUM(d1), 2) AS a, ROUND(SUM(d2), 2) AS b
    -> FROM t1 GROUP BY i HAVING a <> b;
+------+--------+-------+
| i    | a      | b     |
+------+--------+-------+
|    1 |  21.40 | 21.40 |
|    2 |  76.80 | 76.80 |
|    3 |   7.40 |  7.40 |
|    4 |  15.40 | 15.40 |
|    5 |   7.20 |  7.20 |
|    6 | -51.40 |  0.00 |
+------+--------+-------+

This is what the numbers in column a look like when displayed with more decimal places:

mysql> SELECT i, ROUND(SUM(d1), 2)*1.0000000000000000 AS a,
    -> ROUND(SUM(d2), 2) AS b FROM t1 GROUP BY i HAVING a <> b;
+------+----------------------+-------+
| i    | a                    | b     |
+------+----------------------+-------+
|    1 |  21.3999999999999986 | 21.40 |
|    2 |  76.7999999999999972 | 76.80 |
|    3 |   7.4000000000000004 |  7.40 |
|    4 |  15.4000000000000004 | 15.40 |
|    5 |   7.2000000000000002 |  7.20 |
|    6 | -51.3999999999999986 |  0.00 |
+------+----------------------+-------+

Depending on your computer architecture, you may or may not see similar results. Different CPUs may evaluate floating-point numbers differently. For example, on some machines you may get the ``correct'' results by multiplying both arguments by 1, as the following example shows.

Warning: Never use this method in your applications. It is not an example of a trustworthy method!

mysql> SELECT i, ROUND(SUM(d1), 2)*1 AS a, ROUND(SUM(d2), 2)*1 AS b
    -> FROM t1 GROUP BY i HAVING a <> b;
+------+--------+------+
| i    | a      | b    |
+------+--------+------+
|    6 | -51.40 | 0.00 |
+------+--------+------+

The reason that the preceding example seems to work is that on the particular machine where the test was done, CPU floating-point arithmetic happens to round the numbers to the same value. However, there is no rule that any CPU should do so, so this method cannot be trusted.

The correct way to do floating-point number comparison is to first decide on an acceptable tolerance for differences between the numbers and then do the comparison against the tolerance value. For example, if we agree that floating-point numbers should be regarded the same if they are same within a precision of one in ten thousand (0.0001), the comparison should be written to find differences larger than the tolerance value:

mysql> SELECT i, SUM(d1) AS a, SUM(d2) AS b FROM t1
    -> GROUP BY i HAVING ABS(a - b) > 0.0001;
+------+--------+------+
| i    | a      | b    |
+------+--------+------+
|    6 | -51.40 | 0.00 |
+------+--------+------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Conversely, to get rows where the numbers are the same, the test should find differences within the tolerance value:

mysql> SELECT i, SUM(d1) AS a, SUM(d2) AS b FROM t1
    -> GROUP BY i HAVING ABS(a - b) <= 0.0001;
+------+-------+-------+
| i    | a     | b     |
+------+-------+-------+
|    1 | 21.40 | 21.40 |
|    2 | 76.80 | 76.80 |
|    3 |  7.40 |  7.40 |
|    4 | 15.40 | 15.40 |
|    5 |  7.20 |  7.20 |
+------+-------+-------+

A.6 Optimizer-Related Issues

MySQL uses a cost-based optimizer to determine the best way to resolve a query. In many cases, MySQL can calculate the best possible query plan, but sometimes MySQL doesn't have enough information about the data at hand and has to make ``educated'' guesses about the data.

For the cases when MySQL does not do the "right" thing, tools that you have available to help MySQL are:

A.7 Table Definition-Related Issues

A.7.1 Problems with ALTER TABLE

ALTER TABLE changes a table to the current character set. If you get a duplicate-key error during ALTER TABLE, the cause is either that the new character sets maps two keys to the same value or that the table is corrupted. In the latter case, you should run REPAIR TABLE on the table.

If ALTER TABLE dies with the following error, the problem may be that MySQL crashed during an earlier ALTER TABLE operation and there is an old table named `A-xxx' or `B-xxx' lying around:

Error on rename of './database/name.frm'
to './database/B-xxx.frm' (Errcode: 17)

In this case, go to the MySQL data directory and delete all files that have names starting with A- or B-. (You may want to move them elsewhere instead of deleting them.)

ALTER TABLE works in the following way:

If something goes wrong with the renaming operation, MySQL tries to undo the changes. If something goes seriously wrong (although this shouldn't happen), MySQL may leave the old table as `B-xxx'. A simple rename of the table files at the system level should get your data back.

If you use ALTER TABLE on a transactional table or if you are using Windows or OS/2, ALTER TABLE will UNLOCK the table if you had done a LOCK TABLE on it. This is because InnoDB and these operating systems cannot drop a table that is in use.

A.7.2 How to Change the Order of Columns in a Table

First, consider whether you really need to change the column order in a table. The whole point of SQL is to abstract the application from the data storage format. You should always specify the order in which you wish to retrieve your data. The first of the following statements returns columns in the order col_name1, col_name2, col_name3, whereas the second returns them in the order col_name1, col_name3, col_name2:

mysql> SELECT col_name1, col_name2, col_name3 FROM tbl_name;
mysql> SELECT col_name1, col_name3, col_name2 FROM tbl_name;

If you decide to change the order of table columns anyway, you can do so as follows:

  1. Create a new table with the columns in the new order.
  2. Execute this statement:
    mysql> INSERT INTO new_table
        -> SELECT columns-in-new-order FROM old_table;
    
  3. Drop or rename old_table.
  4. Rename the new table to the original name:
    mysql> ALTER TABLE new_table RENAME old_table;
    

SELECT * is quite suitable for testing queries. However, in an application, you should never rely on using SELECT * and retrieving the columns based on their position. The order and position in which columns are returned will not remain the same if you add, move, or delete columns. A simple change to your table structure will cause your application to fail.

A.7.3 TEMPORARY TABLE Problems

The following list indicates limitations on the use of TEMPORARY tables:


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