Open Source

Five tools to help you manage your MySQL databases

The right MySQL management tool can make your database chores go a lot more smoothly. Here are five topnotch tools to consider.

MySQL. For many, it's a love affair that has been going on for years. For others, it's a nightmare relationship they'd rather not have to face. No matter where you stand, you may have to deal with this powerful database somehow. Most users assume that the only way to manage those databases is from the MySQL shell within a terminal. Yes, that is one way. But no, it's not the only way. In fact, there are several tools out there that allow you to manage the MySQL databases. Let's take a look at five of them.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: MySQL command shell

Of course we should start with the built-in command-line tool. From the MySQL command shell (Figure A), you can do anything you need with your MySQL databases. Many users swear by the command shell and refuse to use any other tool, although others are intimidated by its steep learning curve and complex command-line syntax. But if you want sheer power, this is the tool to use.

Figure A

MySQL command shell

2: MySQL Workbench

MySQL Workbench (Figure B) is the king of all MySQL management tools. Whatever you need to do with your databases, this GUI tool will do it. You can even use it to connect to multiple servers. MySQL Workbench is a MySQL administrator's dream come true. And like any good database management tool, MySQL Workbench has a built-in query tool and command shell.

Figure B

MySQL Workbench

3: Webmin MySQL module

Although not quite as powerful as the MySQL Workbench (you can work only on the databases local to the server), the MySQL Webmin module (Figure C) allows you do handle nearly any task on your databases -- all through your Web browser. This enables you to easily manage your databases on that one server from anywhere that has access to the machine.

Figure C

Webmin MySQL module

4: phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin (Figure D) is a favorite of many database admins. It's a PHP-driven tool and handles every aspect of managing a MySQL database server. The interface is incredibly user-friendly and makes the tasks of creating and managing databases simple. phpMyAdmin also allows for the execution of MySQL commands from within the interface.

Figure D


5: Emma

Emma (Figure E) is another GUI tool for the management of MySQL databases. Although not as feature-rich as MySQL Workbench, it does a great job of offering a user-friendly interface for the management (creating, editing, etc.) of databases on a particular machine. One nice feature is the ability to export query results into a csv list file.

Figure E


Good options

There are a handful of other tools out there, some of which have already reached EOL (end of life). But you'll be hard-pressed to find a more powerful, useful set of MySQL database management tools than the ones listed here.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


Good list, however a quick correction is needed.  Under phpMyAdmin, the sentence "The interface is incredibly user-friendly and makes the tasks of creating and managing databases simple" needs to have "creating" removed from it.  phpMyAdmin cannot create db's.  Manage yes, but creation is done through wizards in cPanel/Plesk/etc.  


Hi, maybe a bit off-topic, but are there any data (not database) management tools that you could recommend? For the non-tech people, so that they could enter, edit data without queries and admin wouldn't have to create an UI for each and every table/field? Examples of this could be HumongouS for MongoDB, Microsoft Dynamics CRM (rough example). Internet is full of database management tools, but I can't find anything good for DATA management only, open source preferably.

Debasish M.
Debasish M.

Here are few best MySQL IDEs:

1. Navicat [My Favorite]

2. dbForgeStudio

3. SQLyog

4. MySQL Administrator [From MYSQL]


SQLyog ftw. Definitely the best. Its probably not mentioned in this article since its not free. Also, phpMyAdmin is a security risk if not properly installed, since it opens a window into your database to the entire internet.


I recommend Dead Man's Snitch ( It's free and you can use it for any cron job or periodic task. I have it monitor my data backups, that way if my backup doesn't work or is delayed, DMS will alert me. 


This one of the good management tool. Check:

kit.ruparel is a great tool that has advantages over MySQL Workbench. The two key ones are: 1) The 'reverse engineer' ERD diagramming tool, although it has less visual flexibility, arranges related tables according to the various GraphViz layouts. Workbench just heaps the tables on top of each other. 2) You can use it with any of the common databases - not just MySQL... great for porting & comparing. Workbench does have one feature I like over DbVisualizer though - that you can 'edit' table cells directly, and once you have finished, it generates the SQL to make the updates. ...wish DBVis had that.

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