What Is BLOB Data Type Example?


Angela Bailey

The BLOB (Binary Large Object) data type is used to store large amounts of binary data in a database. It is commonly used to store images, audio files, video files, and other multimedia objects. In this tutorial, we will explore the BLOB data type and look at a practical example.

What Is BLOB Data Type?

The BLOB data type is a binary data type that can hold variable-length binary strings. It is often used when we need to store large amounts of unstructured data, such as images or documents, in a database.

Unlike other data types like VARCHAR or TEXT, which are used to store text-based information, the BLOB data type does not impose any character encoding or length restrictions. It allows us to store any kind of binary data without modification.


Let’s consider an example where we want to store images in a database using the BLOB data type.

We will start by creating a table called Images, which will have two columns: ID (an auto-incrementing integer) and Data (a BLOB column).


We can then insert values into the table using the INSERT statement. To insert an image into the table, we need to read the image file in binary format and pass it as a parameter to the INSERT statement.

prepare('INSERT INTO Images (Data) VALUES (?)');
$stmt->bindParam(1, $data, PDO::PARAM_LOB);

In the above example, we read the contents of the image file “image.jpg” using the file_get_contents() function. Then, we prepare an INSERT statement that includes a parameter for the BLOB data.

We bind the file contents to this parameter using bindParam(), specifying PDO::PARAM_LOB as the data type. Finally, we execute the statement to insert the image into the database.

To retrieve and display an image from the database, we can use a SELECT statement and fetch it as binary data.

query('SELECT Data FROM Images WHERE ID = 1');
$imageData = $stmt->fetchColumn();

header('Content-Type: image/jpeg');
echo $imageData;

In this example, we execute a SELECT statement to retrieve the BLOB data of an image with ID 1. We then set the appropriate content type header (image/jpeg in this case) and output the binary data directly to the browser.


The BLOB data type is a useful feature in databases when it comes to storing large binary objects like images or multimedia files. It allows us to store and retrieve binary data without any modification or character encoding concerns.

Remember that handling BLOB data requires proper consideration of size limitations and efficient storage techniques. It’s important to optimize your database schema and application code when dealing with such large amounts of binary data.

That’s all for this tutorial! Now you have a better understanding of what BLOB data type is and how it can be used in real-world scenarios.

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