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What is PhpMyAdmin?

PhpMyAdmin is a tool for managing and administering MySQL databases. It can be used to manage an entire MySQL server with multiple databases, and individual users can be set up that have access only to individual databases.

Why Use PhpMyAdmin

Database administration is a complex job, and not all sysadmins or application developers may be comfortable with accessing and managing MySQL databases from a command line, especially in a remote web environment.

Even advanced database administrators don't always want to type out the long and error-prone SQL commands used in terminal-based database access.

PhpMyAdmin provides a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for running a MySQL server. This makes it easy to do common tasks like creating new databases, deleting databases, dropping or adding tables, and querying data.

In addition to making typical database tasks easier, phpMyAdmin provides advanced management functionality such as exporting visual representations of data models and database syncing.

PhpMyAdmin Key Features

PhpMyAdmin is feature-rich. Here are the key features of the application.

Intuitive Web Interface

PhpMyAdmin's web-based GUI is easy to learn and use, providing access to common database management tasks. The interface also makes it easy to view and monitor key database statistics, such as traffic volume and query speed.

Support for All Commonly Used MySQL Functions

  • Create, browse, copy, drop, rename, and alter databases, tables, views, fields, and indexes
  • Execute, edit, and bookmark SQL statements and batch-queries
  • Manage MySQL users and user rights.

Import / Export Data and Data Models

With phpMyAdmin, you can import data into a database from a CSV file, which is especially helpful if you are converting a spreadsheet-based data management system into a real database application.

You can also use phpMyAdmin to import data directly via SQL queries, which makes converting from another database system to MySQL a very simple process.

PhpMyAdmin also supports robust data export into a wide variety of formats and file types, including CSV, SQL, XML, PDF, OpenDocument Text and Spreadsheet, MS Word, and LaTeX (among others).

There are also utilities for transforming stored data into other formats. For example, you can display BLOB data as an image.

Besides stored data, you can also create graphical representations of your data structure in several standard formats.

Administer Multiple Databases and Database Servers

PhpMyAdmin gives a user the ability to manage several databases, or even several database servers, from a single control panel.

Besides making administration of multiple projects or applications more efficient, this multi-db and multi-server ability makes development work-flow easier. PhpMyAdmin provides tools for cloning and syncing databases with each other, which allows you to easily setup Development, Test, and Production environments and manage them all from a single location.

PhpMyAdmin is Well Documented

One of the more impressive "features" of phpMyAdmin is its incredibly complete documentation.

The first layer of documentation is a very well organized set of application docs maintained by the project development team. These files cover all the basic issues such as installation and typical use cases.

There is also a fairly large phpMyAdmin wiki, where the user community and developers have come together to provide hundreds of pages of information covering almost every situation, bug, or possible confusion.

Finally, a number of books have been written about phpMyAdmin, including several specifically authorized and endorsed by the project development team.

If all that isn't enough, the user community for phpMyAdmin is quite large, so there is almost always someone to ask if you ever run into trouble.

Reasons to Not Use PhpMyAdmin

Using phpMyAdmin for managing and monitoring MySQL databases from a web based GUI does not hinder accessing the database or server via another manner, such as the command line or shell scripts. So, from a technical standpoint, there is no downside to using phpMyAdmin.

One potential problem with phpMyAdmin is the ease of accessing and editing data directly, rather than through an application built with the database. This is a powerful ability and can be abused, causing serious problems like data loss, corruption, and de-normalization. Even though phpMyAdmin is easy to use by non-experts, it is important for any mission-critical database application to be managed by a professional database admin who understands the potential for disaster.

Beyond that, the only other caveat is that phpMyAdmin works only with the MySQL database. MySQL is very popular, robust, and free, so this usually isn't a problem. However, if you need to use PostgreSQL, SQLite, or another database, phpMyAdmin is not the tool for you.

Hosting for PhpMyAdmin

Many hosting companies provide access to phpMyAdmin already, and it is supported by a number of popular control panels including Plesk, cPanel, and InterWorx.

If you need phpMyAdmin, be sure to select a hosting provider that supports it.

phpMyAdmin Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is phpMyAdmin?

    PhpMyAdmin is an application for administering and managing MySQL and compatible databases. It can be used to create, delete, or modify databases. The tool can also be used to manage tables, fields and rows, administrate users and permissions, or execute SQL statements. Other useful features are available as well, including search, export, and import.

  • Does phpMyAdmin work with PostgreSQL databases?

    No. You can, however, use phpPgAdmin, which is inspired by phpMyAdmin.

  • Does phpMyAdmin only work with MySQL databases?

    The simple answer is: yes. However, despite being designed solely for MySQL, phpMySQL also supports MySQL-compatible databases such as MariaDB and the now defunct Drizzle.

  • Will phpMySQL run on my server?

    Since it's based on PHP, phpMyAdmin should run on just about any server -- even IIS, given that PHP and MySQL are installed.

  • How do I install phpMyAdmin?

    You can install phpMyAdmin on Linux and Windows. In fact, it is already included in many Linux distributions and this is the easiest way of enabling phpMyAdmin. But even without this, there is a lot of information online (including video) that shows how to install it.

  • I've heard phpMyAdmin can be a pain to configure. Is this true?

    It all depends on your skill set. Luckily, plenty of phpMyAdmin documentation is available online, so you should have no trouble finding detailed instructions for each step. Once you get a hang of it, you'll be surprised how easy it can be. Of course, inexperienced users might need some advice, in spite of comprehensive online documentation.

  • Is there anything to watch out for when using phpMyAdmin on a Windows machine?

    A number of bugs have been reported by phpMyAdmin users on IIS, but in most cases they are the result of poor installations rather than any inherent technical issues. The PHP ISAPI filter can also cause problems and users are advised to use cookie authentication instead.

  • Which MySQL versions are supported by phpMyAdmin?

    PhpMyAdmin supports MySQL version 5.5 and later. However, if you need support for earlier database, old versions of phpMyAdmin are available.

  • Does phpMyAdmin cost anything?

    PhpMyAdmin is free and this is unlikely to change. The software is published under the GNU General Public License 2.

  • How many languages is phpMyAdmin available in?

    PhpMyAdmin is available in almost 80 languages.

  • Can I import and export data via phpMyAdmin?

    PhpMyAdmin allows data imports from standard CSV and SQL files. Data can be exported to CSV, SQL, XML, PDF, Word, LaTeX, and other formats.

    It also exports to ISO/IEC 26300, which means it outputs to office suites by OpenOffice, Corel, and Adobe.

  • Does phpMyAdmin support all MySQL features?

    PhpMyAdmin does not support all MySQL features. However, it supports the vast majority of them — in particular, the most important ones. The tool allows you to browse and drop databases, tables, views, fields and indexes; create, copy, drop, rename and alter databases, tables, fields, and indexes; execute, edit, and bookmark any SQL-statement, including batch-queries; manage MySQL users and privileges, and manage stored procedures and triggers.

  • How does phpMyAdmin compare to MySQL Workbench?

    First of all, phpMyAdmin is installed on most managed hosting environments, so you don’t have to deal with it. It is web based and works on any platform, and it does not use local resources. However, it doesn't handle remote offline databases as well as MySQL Workbench.

    In addition, MySQL Workbench offers a visualized database structure and can handle multiple connections in one location. However, it's more resource intensive than phpMyAdmin and might be too complex for novice users.

  • Is expert support available?

    PhpMyAdmin comes well documented, so you should be able to find a solution to practically any problem online. Unfortunately, if this is not sufficient, official commercial support is not available. You can, however, hire a consultant who specializes in MySQL.

  • How strong is phpMyAdmin's security?

    PhpMyAdmin is a secure application. However, when you are using any tool to access a remote database, security breaches are always a possibility. Data can be lost, corrupted, and potentially, even stolen. When dealing with truly valuable information, you should always consult an expert, just in case you are not absolutely sure of what you are doing.

  • Is phpMyAdmin available on a shared hosting account?

    Since phpMyAdmin is free, well documented, and very popular, a lot of hosting companies provide you with access to phpMyAdmin "out of the box." It is also supported by cPanel and Plesk, the most popular control panels in the industry.

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