Chapter 4. Using MySQL Programs

Table of Contents

4.1. Overview of MySQL Programs
4.2. Invoking MySQL Programs
4.3. Specifying Program Options
4.3.1. Using Options on the Command Line
4.3.2. Using Option Files
4.3.3. Using Environment Variables to Specify Options
4.3.4. Using Options to Set Program Variables

This chapter provides a brief overview of the command-line programs provided by MySQL AB and discusses the general syntax for specifying options when you run these programs. Most programs have options that are specific to their own operation, but the option syntax is similar for all of them. Later chapters provide more detailed descriptions of individual programs, including which options they recognize.

MySQL AB also provides three GUI client programs for use with MySQL Server:

These GUI programs each have their own manuals that you can access at

4.1. Overview of MySQL Programs

MySQL AB provides several types of programs:

  • The MySQL server and server startup scripts:

    • mysqld is the MySQL server.

    • mysqld_safe, mysql.server, and mysqld_multi are server startup scripts.

    • mysql_install_db initializes the data directory and the initial databases.

    • MySQL Instance Manager monitors and manages MySQL Server instances.

    Chapter 5, Database Administration, discusses these programs further

  • Client programs that access the server:

    • mysql is a command-line client for executing SQL statements interactively or in batch mode.

    • mysqladmin is an administrative client.

    • mysqlcheck performs table maintenance operations.

    • mysqldump and mysqlhotcopy make database backups.

    • mysqlimport imports data files.

    • mysqlshow displays information about databases and tables.

    Chapter 8, Client and Utility Programs, discusses these programs further

  • Utility programs that operate independently of the server:

    • myisamchk performs table maintenance operations.

    • myisampack produces compressed, read-only tables.

    • mysqlbinlog is a tool for processing binary log files.

    • perror displays the meaning of error codes.

    Chapter 8, Client and Utility Programs, discusses these programs further

Most MySQL distributions include all of these programs, except for those programs that are platform-specific. (For example, the server startup scripts are not used on Windows.) The exception is that RPM distributions are more specialized. There is one RPM for the server, another for client programs, and so forth. If you appear to be missing one or more programs, see Chapter 2, Installing and Upgrading MySQL, for information on types of distributions and what they contain. It may be that you have a distribution that does not include all programs and you need to install something else.