MySQL 8.0 Reference Manual Including MySQL NDB Cluster 8.0

5.1.9 Using System Variables

The MySQL server maintains many system variables that configure its operation. Section 5.1.8, “Server System Variables”, describes the meaning of these variables. Each system variable has a default value. System variables can be set at server startup using options on the command line or in an option file. Most of them can be changed dynamically while the server is running by means of the SET statement, which enables you to modify operation of the server without having to stop and restart it. You can also use system variable values in expressions.

Many system variables are built in. System variables may also be installed by server plugins or components:

There are two scopes in which system variables exist. Global variables affect the overall operation of the server. Session variables affect its operation for individual client connections. A given system variable can have both a global and a session value. Global and session system variables are related as follows:

System variable values can be set globally at server startup by using options on the command line or in an option file. At startup, the syntax for system variables is the same as for command options, so within variable names, dashes and underscores may be used interchangeably. For example, --general_log=ON and --general-log=ON are equivalent.

When you use a startup option to set a variable that takes a numeric value, the value can be given with a suffix of K, M, or G (either uppercase or lowercase) to indicate a multiplier of 1024, 10242 or 10243; that is, units of kilobytes, megabytes, or gigabytes, respectively. As of MySQL 8.0.14, a suffix can also be T, P, and E to indicate a multiplier of 10244, 10245 or 10246. Thus, the following command starts the server with an InnoDB log file size of 16 megabytes and a maximum packet size of one gigabyte:

mysqld --innodb-log-file-size=16M --max-allowed-packet=1G

Within an option file, those variables are set like this:


The lettercase of suffix letters does not matter; 16M and 16m are equivalent, as are 1G and 1g.

To restrict the maximum value to which a system variable can be set at runtime with the SET statement, specify this maximum by using an option of the form --maximum-var_name=value at server startup. For example, to prevent the value of innodb_log_file_size from being increased to more than 32MB at runtime, use the option --maximum-innodb-log-file-size=32M.

Many system variables are dynamic and can be changed at runtime by using the SET statement. For a list, see Section, “Dynamic System Variables”. To change a system variable with SET, refer to it by name, optionally preceded by a modifier. At runtime, system variable names must be written using underscores, not dashes. The following examples briefly illustrate this syntax:

For complete details about SET syntax, see Section, “SET Syntax for Variable Assignment”. For a description of the privilege requirements for setting and persisting system variables, see Section, “System Variable Privileges”

Suffixes for specifying a value multiplier can be used when setting a variable at server startup, but not to set the value with SET at runtime. On the other hand, with SET you can assign a variable's value using an expression, which is not true when you set a variable at server startup. For example, the first of the following lines is legal at server startup, but the second is not:

shell> mysql --max_allowed_packet=16M
shell> mysql --max_allowed_packet=16*1024*1024

Conversely, the second of the following lines is legal at runtime, but the first is not:

mysql> SET GLOBAL max_allowed_packet=16M;
mysql> SET GLOBAL max_allowed_packet=16*1024*1024;

To display system variable names and values, use the SHOW VARIABLES statement:

| Variable_name                   | Value                             |
| auto_increment_increment        | 1                                 |
| auto_increment_offset           | 1                                 |
| automatic_sp_privileges         | ON                                |
| back_log                        | 151                               |
| basedir                         | /home/mysql/                      |
| binlog_cache_size               | 32768                             |
| bulk_insert_buffer_size         | 8388608                           |
| character_set_client            | utf8                              |
| character_set_connection        | utf8                              |
| character_set_database          | utf8mb4                           |
| character_set_filesystem        | binary                            |
| character_set_results           | utf8                              |
| character_set_server            | utf8mb4                           |
| character_set_system            | utf8                              |
| character_sets_dir              | /home/mysql/share/mysql/charsets/ |
| collation_connection            | utf8_general_ci                   |
| collation_database              | utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci                |
| collation_server                | utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci                |
| innodb_autoextend_increment     | 8                                 |
| innodb_buffer_pool_size         | 8388608                           |
| innodb_commit_concurrency       | 0                                 |
| innodb_concurrency_tickets      | 500                               |
| innodb_data_file_path           | ibdata1:10M:autoextend            |
| innodb_data_home_dir            |                                   |
| version                         | 8.0.1-dmr-log                     |
| version_comment                 | Source distribution               |
| version_compile_machine         | i686                              |
| version_compile_os              | suse-linux                        |
| wait_timeout                    | 28800                             |

With a LIKE clause, the statement displays only those variables that match the pattern. To obtain a specific variable name, use a LIKE clause as shown:

SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'max_join_size';

To get a list of variables whose name match a pattern, use the % wildcard character in a LIKE clause:


Wildcard characters can be used in any position within the pattern to be matched. Strictly speaking, because _ is a wildcard that matches any single character, you should escape it as \_ to match it literally. In practice, this is rarely necessary.

For SHOW VARIABLES, if you specify neither GLOBAL nor SESSION, MySQL returns SESSION values.

The reason for requiring the GLOBAL keyword when setting GLOBAL-only variables but not when retrieving them is to prevent problems in the future: