What Is BLOB Data Type in MySQL?


Heather Bennett

What Is BLOB Data Type in MySQL?

The BLOB data type in MySQL is used to store large binary objects, such as images, audio files, video files, and other multimedia files. BLOB stands for Binary Large Object. It allows you to store data that exceeds the maximum size limit of other data types in a MySQL database.

Why Use BLOB Data Type?

There are several reasons why you might choose to use the BLOB data type:

  • Storing Images: If your application requires storing images or other multimedia files, using the BLOB data type allows you to efficiently store and retrieve these files from the database.
  • Data Portability: Storing binary data directly in the database ensures that it is included when you back up or migrate your database. This makes it easier to maintain data integrity and ensure that all required information is preserved.
  • Data Security: By storing binary content directly in the database, you can apply access control mechanisms and security measures to protect sensitive information.

BLOB Data Types:

In MySQL, there are several variations of the BLOB data type available:


The TINYBLOB data type can store up to 255 bytes of binary data.


The BLOB data type can store up to 65,535 bytes of binary data.


The MEDIUMBLOB data type can store up to 16,777,215 bytes of binary data.


The LONGBLOB data type can store up to 4 gigabytes of binary data.

Working with BLOB Data Type:

When working with BLOB data type, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Storage Size: Ensure that you choose the appropriate BLOB data type based on the size of the binary objects you intend to store. Using a smaller data type than necessary may result in truncation of data.
  • Performance: Retrieving large BLOBs can impact database performance.

    Consider optimizing your database queries and caching mechanisms to ensure efficient retrieval of BLOB data.

  • Encoding and Decoding: When storing binary data, it is essential to properly encode and decode the content. Base64 encoding is commonly used for this purpose.


To illustrate how the BLOB data type works, let’s consider an example where we want to store an image in a MySQL database.

1. Create Table:

Create a table named ‘images’ with a column of the BLOB data type:

    name VARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,
    image_data LONGBLOB

2. Insert Image:

To insert an image into the ‘images’ table, you can use SQL statements or programming language-specific APIs.

INSERT INTO images (name, image_data)
VALUES ('example.jpg', LOAD_FILE('/path/to/example.jpg'));

3. Retrieve Image:

To retrieve the stored image from the database, you can use SQL queries or programming language-specific APIs.

SELECT image_data FROM images WHERE id = 1;


The BLOB data type in MySQL is a powerful feature that allows you to store and retrieve large binary objects efficiently. Whether you need to store images, audio files, video files, or any other multimedia content, the BLOB data type provides a flexible and reliable solution. Remember to choose the appropriate BLOB data type based on your storage requirements and optimize your database queries for efficient retrieval of BLOB data.

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