5.1.7. Server SQL Modes

The MySQL server can operate in different SQL modes, and can apply these modes differently for different clients. This capability enables each application to tailor the server's operating mode to its own requirements.

For answers to some questions that are often asked about server SQL modes in MySQL, see Section B.3, “MySQL 5.5 FAQ: Server SQL Mode”.

Modes define what SQL syntax MySQL should support and what kind of data validation checks it should perform. This makes it easier to use MySQL in different environments and to use MySQL together with other database servers.

You can set the default SQL mode by starting mysqld with the --sql-mode="modes" option, or by using sql-mode="modes" in my.cnf (Unix operating systems) or my.ini (Windows). modes is a list of different modes separated by comma (“,”) characters. The default value is empty (no modes set). The modes value also can be empty (--sql-mode="" on the command line, or sql-mode="" in my.cnf on Unix systems or in my.ini on Windows) if you want to clear it explicitly.

You can change the SQL mode at runtime by using a SET [GLOBAL|SESSION] sql_mode='modes' statement to set the sql_mode system value. Setting the GLOBAL variable requires the SUPER privilege and affects the operation of all clients that connect from that time on. Setting the SESSION variable affects only the current client. Any client can change its own session sql_mode value at any time.


SQL mode and user-defined partitioning.  Changing the server SQL mode after creating and inserting data into partitioned tables can cause major changes in the behavior of such tables, and could lead to loss or corruption of data. It is strongly recommended that you never change the SQL mode once you have created tables employing user-defined partitioning.

When replicating partitioned tables, differing SQL modes on master and slave can also lead to problems. For best results, you should always use the same server SQL mode on the master and on the slave.

See Section 18.5, “Restrictions and Limitations on Partitioning”, for more information.

You can retrieve the current global or session sql_mode value with the following statements:

SELECT @@GLOBAL.sql_mode;
SELECT @@SESSION.sql_mode;

The most important sql_mode values are probably these:

  • ANSI

    This mode changes syntax and behavior to conform more closely to standard SQL.


    If a value could not be inserted as given into a transactional table, abort the statement. For a nontransactional table, abort the statement if the value occurs in a single-row statement or the first row of a multiple-row statement. More detail is given later in this section.


    Make MySQL behave like a “traditional” SQL database system. A simple description of this mode is “give an error instead of a warning” when inserting an incorrect value into a column.


    The INSERT/UPDATE aborts as soon as the error is noticed. This may not be what you want if you are using a nontransactional storage engine, because data changes made prior to the error may not be rolled back, resulting in a “partially done” update.

When this manual refers to “strict mode,” it means a mode where at least one of STRICT_TRANS_TABLES or STRICT_ALL_TABLES is enabled.

The following list describes all supported modes:


    Do not perform full checking of dates. Check only that the month is in the range from 1 to 12 and the day is in the range from 1 to 31. This is 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). This mode applies to DATE and DATETIME columns. It does not apply TIMESTAMP columns, which always require a valid date.

    The server requires that month and day values be legal, and not merely in the range 1 to 12 and 1 to 31, respectively. With strict mode disabled, invalid dates such as '2004-04-31' are converted to '0000-00-00' and a warning is generated. With strict mode enabled, invalid dates generate an error. To permit such dates, enable ALLOW_INVALID_DATES.


    Treat “"” as an identifier quote character (like the “`” quote character) and not as a string quote character. You can still use “`” to quote identifiers with this mode enabled. With ANSI_QUOTES enabled, you cannot use double quotation marks to quote literal strings, because it is interpreted as an identifier.


    Produce an error in strict mode (otherwise a warning) when a division by zero (or MOD(X,0)) occurs during an INSERT or UPDATE. If this mode is not enabled, MySQL instead returns NULL for divisions by zero. For INSERT IGNORE or UPDATE IGNORE, MySQL generates a warning for divisions by zero, but the result of the operation is NULL.


    The precedence of the NOT operator is such that expressions such as NOT a BETWEEN b AND c are parsed as NOT (a BETWEEN b AND c). In some older versions of MySQL, the expression was parsed as (NOT a) BETWEEN b AND c. The old higher-precedence behavior can be obtained by enabling the HIGH_NOT_PRECEDENCE SQL mode.

    mysql> SET sql_mode = '';
    mysql> SELECT NOT 1 BETWEEN -5 AND 5;
            -> 0
    mysql> SET sql_mode = 'HIGH_NOT_PRECEDENCE';
    mysql> SELECT NOT 1 BETWEEN -5 AND 5;
            -> 1

    Permit spaces between a function name and the “(” character. This causes built-in function names to be treated as reserved words. As a result, identifiers that are the same as function names must be quoted as described in Section 8.2, “Schema Object Names”. For example, because there is a COUNT() function, the use of count as a table name in the following statement causes an error:

    mysql> CREATE TABLE count (i INT);
    ERROR 1064 (42000): You have an error in your SQL syntax

    The table name should be quoted:

    mysql> CREATE TABLE `count` (i INT);
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

    The IGNORE_SPACE SQL mode applies to built-in functions, not to user-defined functions or stored functions. It is always permissible to have spaces after a UDF or stored function name, regardless of whether IGNORE_SPACE is enabled.

    For further discussion of IGNORE_SPACE, see Section 8.2.4, “Function Name Parsing and Resolution”.


    Prevent the GRANT statement from automatically creating new users if it would otherwise do so, unless a nonempty password also is specified.

    This mode has no effect for GRANT statements that include an IDENTIFIED WITH clause. That is, GRANT ... IDENTIFIED WITH creates nonexistent users regardless of the mode setting.


    NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO affects handling of AUTO_INCREMENT columns. Normally, you generate the next sequence number for the column by inserting either NULL or 0 into it. NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO suppresses this behavior for 0 so that only NULL generates the next sequence number.

    This mode can be useful if 0 has been stored in a table's AUTO_INCREMENT column. (Storing 0 is not a recommended practice, by the way.) For example, if you dump the table with mysqldump and then reload it, MySQL normally generates new sequence numbers when it encounters the 0 values, resulting in a table with contents different from the one that was dumped. Enabling NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO before reloading the dump file solves this problem. mysqldump now automatically includes in its output a statement that enables NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO, to avoid this problem.


    Disable the use of the backslash character (“\”) as an escape character within strings. With this mode enabled, backslash becomes an ordinary character like any other.


    When creating a table, ignore all INDEX DIRECTORY and DATA DIRECTORY directives. This option is useful on slave replication servers.


    Control automatic substitution of the default storage engine when a statement such as CREATE TABLE or ALTER TABLE specifies a storage engine that is disabled or not compiled in.

    Because storage engines can be pluggable at runtime, unavailable engines are treated the same way:

    With NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION disabled, for CREATE TABLE the default engine is used and a warning occurs if the desired engine is unavailable. For ALTER TABLE, a warning occurs and the table is not altered.

    With NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION enabled, an error occurs and the table is not created or altered if the desired engine is unavailable.


    Do not print MySQL-specific column options in the output of SHOW CREATE TABLE. This mode is used by mysqldump in portability mode.


    Do not print MySQL-specific index options in the output of SHOW CREATE TABLE. This mode is used by mysqldump in portability mode.


    Do not print MySQL-specific table options (such as ENGINE) in the output of SHOW CREATE TABLE. This mode is used by mysqldump in portability mode.


    By default, subtraction between integer operands produces an UNSIGNED result if any operand isUNSIGNED. When NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION is enabled, the subtraction result is signed, even if any operand is unsigned. For example, compare the type of column c2 in table t1 with that of column c2 in table t2:

    mysql> SET sql_mode='';
    mysql> CREATE TABLE t1 SELECT c1 - 1 AS c2 FROM test;
    mysql> DESCRIBE t1;
    | Field | Type                | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
    | c2    | bigint(21) unsigned |      |     | 0       |       |
    mysql> SET sql_mode='NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION';
    mysql> CREATE TABLE t2 SELECT c1 - 1 AS c2 FROM test;
    mysql> DESCRIBE t2;
    | Field | Type       | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
    | c2    | bigint(21) |      |     | 0       |       |

    Note that this means that BIGINT UNSIGNED is not 100% usable in all contexts. See Section 11.10, “Cast Functions and Operators”.

    mysql> SET sql_mode = '';
    mysql> SELECT CAST(0 AS UNSIGNED) - 1;
    | CAST(0 AS UNSIGNED) - 1 |
    |    18446744073709551615 |
    mysql> SET sql_mode = 'NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION';
    mysql> SELECT CAST(0 AS UNSIGNED) - 1;
    | CAST(0 AS UNSIGNED) - 1 |
    |                      -1 |

    In strict mode, do not permit '0000-00-00' as a valid date. You can still insert zero dates with the IGNORE option. When not in strict mode, the date is accepted but a warning is generated.


    In strict mode, do not accept dates where the year part is nonzero but the month or day part is 0 (for example, '0000-00-00' is legal but '2010-00-01' and '2010-01-00' are not). If used with the IGNORE option, MySQL inserts a '0000-00-00' date for any such date. When not in strict mode, the date is accepted but a warning is generated.


    Do not permit queries for which the SELECT list refers to nonaggregated columns that are not named in the GROUP BY clause. The following query is invalid with this mode enabled because address is not named in the GROUP BY clause:

    SELECT name, address, MAX(age) FROM t GROUP BY name;

    This mode also restricts references to nonaggregated columns in the HAVING clause that are not named in the GROUP BY clause.


    By default, trailing spaces are trimmed from CHAR column values on retrieval. If PAD_CHAR_TO_FULL_LENGTH is enabled, trimming does not occur and retrieved CHAR values are padded to their full length. This mode does not apply to VARCHAR columns, for which trailing spaces are retained on retrieval.

    mysql> CREATE TABLE t1 (c1 CHAR(10));
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.37 sec)
    mysql> INSERT INTO t1 (c1) VALUES('xy');
    Query OK, 1 row affected (0.01 sec)
    mysql> SET sql_mode = '';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
    mysql> SELECT c1, CHAR_LENGTH(c1) FROM t1;
    | c1   | CHAR_LENGTH(c1) |
    | xy   |               2 |
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
    mysql> SET sql_mode = 'PAD_CHAR_TO_FULL_LENGTH';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
    mysql> SELECT c1, CHAR_LENGTH(c1) FROM t1;
    | c1         | CHAR_LENGTH(c1) |
    | xy         |              10 |
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)

    Treat || as a string concatenation operator (same as CONCAT()) rather than as a synonym for OR.


    Treat REAL as a synonym for FLOAT. By default, MySQL treats REAL as a synonym for DOUBLE.


    Enable strict mode for all storage engines. Invalid data values are rejected. Additional detail follows.


    Enable strict mode for transactional storage engines, and when possible for nontransactional storage engines. Additional details follow.

Strict mode controls how MySQL handles input values that are invalid or missing. A value can be invalid for several reasons. For example, it might have the wrong data type for the column, or it might be out of range. A value is missing when a new row to be inserted does not contain a value for a non-NULL column that has no explicit DEFAULT clause in its definition. (For a NULL column, NULL is inserted if the value is missing.)

For transactional tables, an error occurs for invalid or missing values in a statement when either of the STRICT_ALL_TABLES or STRICT_TRANS_TABLES modes are enabled. The statement is aborted and rolled back.

For nontransactional tables, the behavior is the same for either mode, if the bad value occurs in the first row to be inserted or updated. The statement is aborted and the table remains unchanged. If the statement inserts or modifies multiple rows and the bad value occurs in the second or later row, the result depends on which strict option is enabled:

  • For STRICT_ALL_TABLES, MySQL returns an error and ignores the rest of the rows. However, in this case, the earlier rows still have been inserted or updated. This means that you might get a partial update, which might not be what you want. To avoid this, it is best to use single-row statements because these can be aborted without changing the table.

  • For STRICT_TRANS_TABLES, MySQL converts an invalid value to the closest valid value for the column and insert the adjusted value. If a value is missing, MySQL inserts the implicit default value for the column data type. In either case, MySQL generates a warning rather than an error and continues processing the statement. Implicit defaults are described in Section 10.1.4, “Data Type Default Values”.

Strict mode disallows invalid date values such as '2004-04-31'. It does not disallow dates with zero month or day parts such as '2004-04-00' or “zero” dates. To disallow these as well, enable the NO_ZERO_IN_DATE and NO_ZERO_DATE SQL modes in addition to strict mode.

If you are not using strict mode (that is, neither STRICT_TRANS_TABLES nor STRICT_ALL_TABLES is enabled), MySQL inserts adjusted values for invalid or missing values and produces warnings. In strict mode, you can produce this behavior by using INSERT IGNORE or UPDATE IGNORE. See Section, “SHOW WARNINGS Syntax”.

Strict mode does not affect whether foreign key constraints are checked. foreign_key_checks can be used for that. (See Section 5.1.4, “Server System Variables”.)

The following special modes are provided as shorthand for combinations of mode values from the preceding list.

The descriptions include all mode values that are available in the most recent version of MySQL. For older versions, a combination mode does not include individual mode values that are not available except in newer versions.

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