MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS). It is the world’s most popular open source RDBMS and is currently ranked as the second most popular RDBMS in the world (behind Oracle Database).

MySQL is available as a free download, however, several paid editions are also available which offer additional functionality.

As the name suggests, MySQL is based on SQL. The “My” part is named after co-founder Michael Widenius’ daughter, My.

Who Uses MySQL?

MySQL is used by some of the largest organisations in the world, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe, Flickr, Alcatel Lucent, Zappos, YouTube, and many more.

However, it is also used by many smaller scale projects such as personal websites or blogs.

MySQL is the default database for the WordPress platform – which at the time of writing, is said to account for more than 26% of all sites on the web. Other content management systems and forum software that use MySQL include TYPO3, MODx, Joomla, phpBB, MyBB, and Drupal.

Who Owns MySQL?

MySQL is currently owned by Oracle Corporation. It was originally owned and sponsored by MySQL AB – a Swedish, single for-profit firm. Sun Microsystems bought MySQL AB in 2008. Oracle Corporation then bought Sun Microsystems in 2010.

MySQL Tools

MySQL includes a number of clients and tools for working with MySQL databases. There are also many other tools that have been written by the open source community specifically for working with MySQL. Here are some of the more popular ones.

MySQL Workbench

Screenshot of MySQL Workbench

MySQL Workbench is a graphical tool for working with MySQL.

MySQL provides MySQL Workbench as a graphical tool for working with MySQL. It can be used for performing tasks such as:


mysqladmin is a command line interface provided by MySQL that enables you to check the server’s configuration and current status, to create and drop databases, and more.


mysqldump is a command line utility provided by MySQL for performing logical backups of MySQL databases. A logical backup is one that reproduces table structure and data, without copying the actual data files.


myisamchk is a utility provided by MySQL that can retrieve information about database tables. It can also check, repair, and optimise them. myisamchk works specifically with MyISAM tables (tables that have .MYD and .MYI files for storing data and indexes).


phpMyAdmin is a free software tool written in PHP, intended to handle the administration of MySQL over the Web. Common tasks such as managing databases, tables, columns, relationships, indexes, users, permissions, etc can be done via the GUI. phpMyAdmin also provides the ability to run SQL statements against the database.

Supported Operating Systems

MySQL currently supports the following operating systems:

  • Oracle Linux
  • Oracle Solaris
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS
  • Canonical Ubuntu
  • SUSE Enterprise Linux
  • Debian GNU/Linux
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Apple OS X
  • FreeBSD
  • Yum Repo
  • IBM AIX 5.3 (support discontinued for versions higher than MySQL 5.1)
  • APT Repo (support discontinued for versions higher than MySQL 5.1)
  • SUSE Repo (support discontinued for versions higher than MySQL 5.5)

See Supported Platforms: MySQL Database on the MySQL website for more detail and up to date information.