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MySQL Compatibility

TiDB supports both the MySQL wire protocol and the majority of its syntax. This means that you can use your existing MySQL connectors and clients, and your existing applications can often be migrated to TiDB without changing any application code.

Currently TiDB Server advertises itself as MySQL 5.7 and works with most MySQL database tools such as PHPMyAdmin, Navicat, MySQL Workbench, mysqldump, and Mydumper/myloader.

However, some features of MySQL are not supported. This could be because there is now a better way to solve the problem (such as XML functions superseded by JSON), or a lack of current demand versus effort required (such as stored procedures and functions). Some features might also be difficult to implement as a distributed system.

Unsupported features

  • Stored procedures and functions
  • Triggers
  • Events
  • User-defined functions
  • FOREIGN KEY constraints #18209
  • Temporary tables #1248
  • FULLTEXT/SPATIAL functions and indexes #1793
  • Character sets other than utf8, utf8mb4, ascii, latin1 and binary
  • Collations other than BINARY
  • Add/drop primary key
  • SYS schema
  • Optimizer trace
  • XML Functions
  • X-Protocol #1109
  • Savepoints #6840
  • Column-level privileges #9766
  • XA syntax (TiDB uses a two-phase commit internally, but this is not exposed via an SQL interface)
  • CREATE TABLE tblName AS SELECT stmt syntax #4754
  • CHECK TABLE syntax #4673
  • CHECKSUM TABLE syntax #1895
  • GET_LOCK and RELEASE_LOCK functions #14994

Features that are different from MySQL

Auto-increment ID

In TiDB, auto-increment columns are only guaranteed to be unique and incremental on a single TiDB server, but they are not guaranteed to be incremental among multiple TiDB servers or allocated sequentially. Currently, TiDB allocates IDs in batches. If you insert data on multiple TiDB servers at the same time, the allocated IDs are not continuous. You can use the tidb_allow_remove_auto_inc system variable to enable or disable deleting the AUTO_INCREMENT attribute of a column. The syntax for deleting this column attribute is alter table modify or alter table change.

Assume that you have a table with the auto-increment ID:

CREATE TABLE t(id int unique key AUTO_INCREMENT, c int);

The principle of the auto-increment ID in TiDB is that each tidb-server instance caches a section of ID values (currently 30000 IDs are cached) for allocation and fetches the next section after this section is used up.

Assume that the cluster contains two tidb-server instances, namely Instance A and Instance B. Instance A caches the auto-increment ID of [1, 30000], while Instance B caches the auto-increment ID of [30001, 60000].

The operations are executed as follows:

  1. The client issues the INSERT INTO t VALUES (1, 1) statement to Instance B which sets the id to 1 and the statement is executed successfully.
  2. The client issues the INSERT INTO t (c) (1) statement to Instance A. This statement does not specify the value of id, so Instance A allocates the value. Currently, Instances A caches the auto-increment ID of [1, 30000], so it allocates the id value to 1 and adds 1 to the local counter. However, at this time the data with the id of 1 already exists in the cluster, therefore it reports Duplicated Error.

Also, starting with TiDB 3.0.4, TiDB supports using the system variable tidb_allow_remove_auto_inc to control whether the AUTO_INCREMENT property of a column is allowed to be removed by executing ALTER TABLE MODIFY or ALTER TABLE CHANGE statements. It is not allowed by default. Once the AUTO_INCREMENT property is removed, it cannot be recovered, because TiDB does not support adding the AUTO_INCREMENT column attribute.

mysql> create table t(id int unique key AUTO_INCREMENT); Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.05 sec) mysql> insert into t values(),(),(); Query OK, 3 rows affected (0.00 sec) Records: 3 Duplicates: 0 Warnings: 0 mysql> select _tidb_rowid, id from t; +-------------+------+ | _tidb_rowid | id | +-------------+------+ | 4 | 1 | | 5 | 2 | | 6 | 3 | +-------------+------+ 3 rows in set (0.01 sec)

In early versions, the cache size of auto-increment IDs in TiDB is transparent to users. Since v3.0.14, v3.1.2, and v4.0.rc-2, the AUTO_ID_CACHE table option has been introduced to allow users to customize the cache size of auto-increment IDs to be allocated. This cache size might be consumed by both auto-increment columns and _tidb_rowid. In addition, if the length of continuous IDs needed for an INSERT statement exceeds the value set by AUTO_ID_CACHE, TiDB will properly increase the cache size so that this insertion can be executed successfully.

Performance schema

Performance schema tables return empty results in TiDB. TiDB uses a combination of Prometheus and Grafana for performance metrics instead.

TiDB supports the events_statements_summary_by_digest table from TiDB 3.0.4. For more information, see Statement Summary Table.

Query Execution Plan

The output format of Query Execution Plan (EXPLAIN/EXPLAIN FOR) in TiDB is greatly different from that in MySQL. Besides, the output content and the privileges setting of EXPLAIN FOR are not the same as those of MySQL. See Understand the Query Execution Plan for more details.

Built-in functions

TiDB supports most of the MySQL built-in functions, but not all. See TiDB SQL Grammar for the supported functions.


In TiDB DDL does not block reads or writes to tables while in operation. However, some restrictions currently apply to DDL changes:

  • Add Index:

    • Does not support creating multiple indexes at the same time.
    • Does not support the VISIBLE/INVISIBLE index.
    • Adding an index on a generated column via ALTER TABLE is not supported.
    • Other Index Type (HASH/BTREE/RTREE) is supported in syntax, but not applicable.
  • Add Column:

    • Does not support creating multiple columns at the same time.
    • Does not support setting a column as the PRIMARY KEY, or creating a unique index, or specifying AUTO_INCREMENT while adding it.
  • Drop Column: Does not support dropping the PRIMARY KEY column or index column.

  • Change/Modify Column:

    • Does not support lossy changes, such as from BIGINT to INTEGER or VARCHAR(255) to VARCHAR(10). Otherwise, the length %d is less than origin %d error might be output.
    • Does not support modifying the precision of DECIMAL data types.
    • Changing the field type to its superset is unsupported. For example, TiDB does not support changing the field type from INTEGER to VARCHAR, or from TIMESTAMP to DATETIME. Otherwise, the error information Unsupported modify column: type %d not match origin %d might be output.
    • Does not support changing the UNSIGNED attribute.
    • Only supports changing the CHARACTER SET attribute from utf8 to utf8mb4.
  • LOCK [=] {DEFAULT|NONE|SHARED|EXCLUSIVE}: the syntax is supported, but is not applicable to TiDB. All DDL changes that are supported do not lock the table.

  • ALGORITHM [=] {DEFAULT|INSTANT|INPLACE|COPY}: the syntax for ALGORITHM=INSTANT and ALGORITHM=INPLACE is fully supported, but it works differently from MySQL because some operations that are INPLACE in MySQL are INSTANT in TiDB. The syntax ALGORITHM=COPY is not applicable to TIDB and returns a warning.

  • Multiple operations cannot be completed in a single ALTER TABLE statement. For example, it's not possible to add multiple columns or indexes in a single statement.

  • The following Table Options are not supported in syntax:

  • The following Table Partition syntaxes are not supported:


For more information, see Online Schema Changes.

Analyze table

ANALYZE TABLE works differently in TiDB than in MySQL, in that it is a relatively lightweight and short-lived operation in MySQL/InnoDB, while in TiDB it completely rebuilds the statistics for a table and can take much longer to complete.

Limitations of SELECT syntax

  • The syntax SELECT ... INTO @variable is not supported.
  • The syntax SELECT ... GROUP BY ... WITH ROLLUP is not supported.
  • The syntax SELECT .. GROUP BY expr does not imply GROUP BY expr ORDER BY expr as it does in MySQL 5.7. TiDB instead matches the behavior of MySQL 8.0 and does not imply a default order.


Views in TiDB are currently non-insertable and non-updatable.

Storage engines

For compatibility reasons, TiDB supports the syntax to create tables with alternative storage engines. Metadata commands describe tables as being of engine InnoDB:

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.14 sec)
*************************** 1. row *************************** Table: t1 Create Table: CREATE TABLE `t1` ( `a` int(11) DEFAULT NULL ) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8mb4 COLLATE=utf8mb4_bin 1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Architecturally, TiDB does support a similar storage engine abstraction to MySQL, and user tables are created in the engine specified by the --store option used when you start tidb-server (typically tikv).

SQL modes

TiDB supports most SQL modes:

  • The compatibility modes, such as ORACLE and POSTGRESQL are parsed but ignored. Compatibility modes are deprecated in MySQL 5.7 and removed in MySQL 8.0.
  • The ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY mode has minor semantic differences from MySQL 5.7.
  • The NO_DIR_IN_CREATE and NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION SQL modes in MySQL are accepted for compatibility, but are not applicable to TiDB.

Version-specific comments

TiDB executes all MySQL version-specific comments, regardless of the version they apply to. For example, the comment /*!90000 */ would instruct a MySQL server less than 9.0 to not execute code. In TiDB this code will always be executed:

mysql 8.0.16> SELECT /*!90000 "I should not run", */ "I should run" FROM dual; +--------------+ | I should run | +--------------+ | I should run | +--------------+ 1 row in set (0.00 sec) tidb> SELECT /*!90000 "I should not run", */ "I should run" FROM dual; +------------------+--------------+ | I should not run | I should run | +------------------+--------------+ | I should not run | I should run | +------------------+--------------+ 1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Default differences

  • Default character set:
    • The default value in TiDB is utf8mb4.
    • The default value in MySQL 5.7 is latin1, but changes to utf8mb4 in MySQL 8.0.
  • Default collation:
    • The default collation of utf8mb4 in TiDB is utf8mb4_bin.
    • The default collation of utf8mb4 in MySQL 5.7 is utf8mb4_general_ci, but changes to utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci in MySQL 8.0.
    • You can use the SHOW CHARACTER SET statement to check the default collations of all character sets.
  • Default value of foreign_key_checks:
    • The default value in TiDB is OFF and currently TiDB only supports OFF.
    • The default value in MySQL 5.7 is ON.
  • Default SQL mode:
    • The default SQL mode in MySQL:
      • The default SQL mode in MySQL 5.7 is the same as TiDB.
  • Default value of lower_case_table_names:
    • The default value in TiDB is 2 and currently TiDB only supports 2.
    • The default value in MySQL:
      • On Linux: 0
      • On Windows: 1
      • On macOS: 2
  • Default value of explicit_defaults_for_timestamp:
    • The default value in TiDB is ON and currently TiDB only supports ON.
    • The default value in MySQL:
      • For MySQL 5.7: OFF
      • For MySQL 8.0: ON

Date and Time

Named timezone

TiDB supports named timezones such as America/Los_Angeles without having to load the time zone information tables as in MySQL.

Because they are built-in, named time zones in TiDB might behave slightly differently to MySQL, and cannot be modified. For example, in TiDB the names are case-sensitive #8087.

Zero month and zero day

It is not recommended to unset the NO_ZERO_DATE and NO_ZERO_IN_DATE SQL modes, which are enabled by default in TiDB as in MySQL. While TiDB supports operating with these modes disabled, the TiKV coprocessor does not. Executing certain statements that push down date and time processing functions to TiKV might result in a statement error.

Handling of space at the end of string line

Currently, when inserting data, TiDB keeps the space at the end of the line for the VARCHAR type, and truncate the space for the CHAR type. In case there is no index, TiDB behaves exactly the same as MySQL.

If there is a UNIQUE index on the VARCHAR data, MySQL truncates the space at the end of the VARCHAR line before determining whether the data is duplicated, which is similar to the processing of the CHAR type, while TiDB keeps the space.

When making a comparison, MySQL first truncates the constant and the space at the end of the column, while TiDB keeps them to enable exact comparison.

Type system differences

The following column types are supported by MySQL, but not by TiDB:

  • FIXED (alias for DECIMAL)
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