What Is Phone Number Data Type in MySQL?


Heather Bennett

In MySQL, the phone number data type allows you to store and manipulate phone numbers efficiently. Phone numbers are commonly used in various applications, such as contact management systems and customer databases. They can be a combination of digits, hyphens, parentheses, and even international prefixes.

When designing a database schema, it is essential to choose the appropriate data type for each column. Using the correct data type ensures that your data is stored efficiently and accurately.

Phone Number Data Type

In MySQL, there isn’t a specific built-in phone number data type. Instead, we typically use a VARCHAR or CHAR data type to represent phone numbers. Both of these data types are suitable for storing phone numbers as strings.

The VARCHAR data type is variable-length, meaning it can store a varying number of characters up to a specified length. On the other hand, the CHAR data type is fixed-length and requires padding with spaces if the phone number is shorter than the specified length.

Note: It is important to choose an appropriate length for your VARCHAR or CHAR column based on your specific needs. For example, if you only need to store 10-digit phone numbers without any special characters, you can set the length to 10.

Formatting Phone Numbers

Phone numbers can vary in format depending on the country or region. Some common formats include:

  • (555) 123-4567
  • 555-123-4567
  • +1 (555) 123-4567

To ensure consistency in your database, it’s recommended to establish a standard format for storing phone numbers. You can use various techniques to format phone numbers, such as removing special characters, adding country codes, or applying a specific format.

Validating Phone Numbers

When storing phone numbers in a database, it is also essential to validate the input to ensure data integrity. Phone number validation typically involves checking the length, format, and any specific requirements based on your application’s needs.

You can implement phone number validation using regular expressions or custom functions in your programming language of choice.


Let’s say we want to validate a phone number with the following requirements:

  • The phone number must be exactly 10 digits long.
  • The first digit must be between 2 and 9.

In PHP, you can use the preg_match function with a regular expression pattern to validate the phone number:

$phoneNumber = '5551234567';

if (preg_match('/^[2-9]\d{9}$/', $phoneNumber)) {
    // Valid phone number
} else {
    // Invalid phone number

This regular expression pattern ensures that the first digit is between 2 and 9 and that the remaining nine digits can be any digit from 0 to 9.


The phone number data type in MySQL is typically represented using VARCHAR or CHAR. It is important to choose an appropriate length for your column based on your specific requirements. Additionally, formatting and validating phone numbers ensure consistency and data integrity in your database.

By applying proper formatting techniques and implementing validation checks, you can effectively store and manipulate phone numbers in MySQL databases.

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