How To Create a New User and Grant Permissions in MySQL

Introduction

MySQL is an open-source database management software that helps users store, organize, and later retrieve data. It has a variety of options to grant specific users nuanced permissions within the tables and databases—this tutorial will give a short overview of a few of the many options.

What the Highlights Mean

Throughout this tutorial, any lines that the user needs to enter or customize will be highlighted! The rest should mostly be copy-and-pastable.

How to Create a New User

In Part 1 of the MySQL Tutorial, we did all of the editing in MySQL as the root user, with full access to all of the databases. However, in cases where more restrictions may be required, there are ways to create users with custom permissions.

Let’s start by making a new user within the MySQL shell:

  • CREATE USER 'newuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';


Note: When adding users within the MySQL shell in this tutorial, we will specify the user’s host as localhost and not the server’s IP address. localhost is a hostname which means “this computer,” and MySQL treats this particular hostname specially: when a user with that host logs into MySQL it will attempt to connect to the local server by using a Unix socket file. Thus, localhost is typically used when you plan to connect by SSHing into your server or when you’re running the local mysql client to connect to the local MySQL server.
At this point newuser has no permissions to do anything with the databases. In fact, even if newuser tries to login (with the password, password), they will not be able to reach the MySQL shell.
Therefore, the first thing to do is to provide the user with access to the information they will need.
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON database.table TO ‘user’@‘localhost’;

  • GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON * . * TO 'newuser'@'localhost';


The asterisks in this command refer to the database and table (respectively) that they can access—this specific command allows to the user to read, edit, execute and perform all tasks across all the databases and tables.
Please note that in this example we are granting newuser full root access to everything in our database. While this is helpful for explaining some MySQL concepts, it may be impractical for most use cases and could put your database’s security at high risk.
Once you have finalized the permissions that you want to set up for your new users, always be sure to reload all the privileges.

  • FLUSH PRIVILEGES;


Your changes will now be in effect.

Grant permissions for a user

The next thing that we will have to do is to grant privileges for that user in order to be able to access the MySQL client and to work with the corresponding database/s:
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GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON database.table TO ‘user’@‘localhost’;
where:
    • database – the name of the MySQL database to which we grant access
    • table – the name of the database table to which we grant access
We are allowed to use the asterisk wildcard symbol (*) when we want to grant access to all databases/tables:
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GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON database.* TO ‘user’@‘localhost’;
or
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GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* TO ‘user’@‘localhost’;
With the first command we grant all privileges to the MySQL user to all database tables related to the database with name “database”.
In the second case access for the user is granted to all databases.

How To Grant Different User Permissions

Here is a short list of other common possible permissions that users can enjoy.
  • ALL PRIVILEGES- as we saw previously, this would allow a MySQL user full access to a designated database (or if no database is selected, global access across the system)
  • CREATE- allows them to create new tables or databases
  • DROP- allows them to them to delete tables or databases
  • DELETE- allows them to delete rows from tables
  • INSERT- allows them to insert rows into tables
  • SELECT- allows them to use the SELECT command to read through databases
  • UPDATE- allow them to update table rows
  • GRANT OPTION- allows them to grant or remove other users’ privileges
To provide a specific user with a permission, you can use this framework:

  • GRANT type_of_permission ON database_name.table_name TO ‘username’@'localhost’;


If you want to give them access to any database or to any table, make sure to put an asterisk (*) in the place of the database name or table name.
Each time you update or change a permission be sure to use the Flush Privileges command.
If you need to revoke a permission, the structure is almost identical to granting it:

  • REVOKE type_of_permission ON database_name.table_name FROM ‘username’@‘localhost’;


Note that when revoking permissions, the syntax requires that you use FROM, instead of TO as we used when granting permissions.
You can review a user’s current permissions by running the following:
SHOW GRANTS username;
Just as you can delete databases with DROP, you can use DROP to delete a user altogether:

  • DROP USER ‘username’@‘localhost’;


To test out your new user, log out by typing:

  • quit


and log back in with this command in terminal:

  • mysql -u [username] -p


Conclusion

After completing this tutorial, you should have a sense of how to add new users and grant them a variety of permissions in a MySQL database. From here, you could continue to explore and experiment with different permissions settings for your database, or you may want to learn more about some higher-level MySQL configurations.

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