Does MySQL Have a UUID Data Type?


Scott Campbell

MySQL is a widely used relational database management system that allows you to store and manipulate data efficiently. One question that often comes up is whether MySQL has a UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) data type. In this article, we will explore this topic in depth.

What is a UUID?

A UUID is a 128-bit identifier that is guaranteed to be unique across all devices and time. It is commonly used as a primary key in databases because of its uniqueness and low probability of collision. A UUID can be represented as a string of 32 hexadecimal digits, separated by hyphens into five groups.

UUID Storage in MySQL

MySQL does not have a built-in UUID data type like some other databases such as PostgreSQL or MongoDB. However, you can still store UUIDs in MySQL by using the CHAR(36) or VARCHAR(36) data types.

Generating UUIDs in MySQL

To generate UUIDs in MySQL, you can use the built-in function `UUID()`. This function returns a randomly generated UUID value. Here’s an example query:


This will give you a result like this: e4eaaaf2-d142-11e1-b3e4-080027620cdd.

Using UUIDs as Primary Keys

While storing UUIDs as strings works, it may not be the most efficient way to use them as primary keys. Compared to integer-based keys, string-based keys have higher storage requirements and may impact query performance.

If you want to use UUIDs as primary keys efficiently, one option is to store them as binary(16) instead of strings. This reduces storage requirements and improves performance since comparisons on binary fields are faster than on string fields.

How to Store UUIDs as Binary(16)

To store UUIDs as binary(16) in MySQL, you can use the `UUID_TO_BIN()` and `BIN_TO_UUID()` functions. Here’s an example:

CREATE TABLE my_table (
    id BINARY(16) NOT NULL,
    name VARCHAR(50),
    PRIMARY KEY (id)

INSERT INTO my_table (id, name)
    UUID_TO_BIN(UUID()), 'John Doe'

SELECT BIN_TO_UUID(id) AS uuid, name
FROM my_table;

In this example, the UUID is converted to binary using `UUID_TO_BIN()` when inserting into the table. When retrieving the data, it is converted back to its string representation using `BIN_TO_UUID()`.

  • Advantages of Using UUIDs

Using UUIDs as primary keys in MySQL has several advantages:

  • Uniqueness: UUIDs offer a higher degree of uniqueness compared to auto-incremented integer keys.
  • Decentralization: UUIDs can be generated on different devices without worrying about collisions.
  • Security: UUIDs make it harder for attackers to guess or enumerate valid keys.

In Conclusion

Although MySQL does not have a built-in UUID data type, you can still store and work with UUIDs effectively using CHAR(36) or VARCHAR(36) data types. If you need to optimize performance and storage requirements when using UUIDs as primary keys, consider storing them as binary(16) instead. This allows for efficient comparisons and reduces storage overhead.

UUIDs offer many advantages over traditional integer-based primary keys. They provide uniqueness, decentralization, and enhanced security. Consider using them in your MySQL database if these benefits align with your application’s requirements.

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