5.1.3 Server Command Options

When you start the mysqld server, you can specify program options using any of the methods described in Section 4.2.3, “Specifying Program Options”. The most common methods are to provide options in an option file or on the command line. However, in most cases it is desirable to make sure that the server uses the same options each time it runs. The best way to ensure this is to list them in an option file. See Section 4.2.3.3, “Using Option Files”.

mysqld reads options from the [mysqld] and [server] groups. mysqld_safe reads options from the [mysqld], [server], [mysqld_safe], and [safe_mysqld] groups. mysql.server reads options from the [mysqld] and [mysql.server] groups.

An embedded MySQL server usually reads options from the [server], [embedded], and [xxxxx_SERVER] groups, where xxxxx is the name of the application into which the server is embedded.

mysqld accepts many command options. For a brief summary, execute mysqld --help. To see the full list, use mysqld --verbose --help.

The following list shows some of the most common server options. Additional options are described in other sections:

You can also set the values of server system variables by using variable names as options, as described at the end of this section.

Some options control the size of buffers or caches. For a given buffer, the server might need to allocate internal data structures. These structures typically are allocated from the total memory allocated to the buffer, and the amount of space required might be platform dependent. This means that when you assign a value to an option that controls a buffer size, the amount of space actually available might differ from the value assigned. In some cases, the amount might be less than the value assigned. It is also possible that the server will adjust a value upward. For example, if you assign a value of 0 to an option for which the minimal value is 1024, the server will set the value to 1024.

Values for buffer sizes, lengths, and stack sizes are given in bytes unless otherwise specified.

Some options take file name values. Unless otherwise specified, the default file location is the data directory if the value is a relative path name. To specify the location explicitly, use an absolute path name. Suppose that the data directory is /var/mysql/data. If a file-valued option is given as a relative path name, it will be located under /var/mysql/data. If the value is an absolute path name, its location is as given by the path name.

You can assign a value to a server system variable by using an option of the form --var_name=value. For example, --key_buffer_size=32M sets the key_buffer_size variable to a value of 32MB.

Note that when you assign a value to a variable, MySQL might automatically correct the value to stay within a given range, or adjust the value to the closest permissible value if only certain values are permitted.

If you want to restrict the maximum value to which a variable can be set at runtime with SET, you can define this by using the --maximum-var_name=value command-line option.

You can change the values of most system variables for a running server with the SET statement. See Section 13.7.4, “SET Syntax”.

Section 5.1.4, “Server System Variables”, provides a full description for all variables, and additional information for setting them at server startup and runtime. Section 8.9.2, “Tuning Server Parameters”, includes information on optimizing the server by tuning system variables.