What Is String Data Type in MySQL?


Scott Campbell

The string data type in MySQL is used to store and manipulate textual data. It is one of the most commonly used data types in database management systems. In this tutorial, we will explore the various aspects of the string data type and how it can be effectively utilized in MySQL.

What is a String Data Type?

A string data type represents a sequence of characters. It can include letters, numbers, symbols, and special characters. In MySQL, there are multiple string data types to choose from, depending on the requirements of your application.


The CHAR data type is used to store fixed-length strings. When defining a CHAR column, you need to specify the maximum length of the string it can hold. If you insert a shorter string into a CHAR column, it will be padded with spaces to match the specified length.


The VARCHAR data type is used to store variable-length strings. Unlike CHAR, VARCHAR only consumes space for the actual length of the string plus some overhead. This means that VARCHAR columns can save storage space if your strings vary in length.


The TEXT data type is suitable for storing large amounts of text data. It can hold up to 65,535 characters. The TEXT data type supports various collations for case sensitivity and sorting purposes.

String Functions

MySQL provides a wide range of functions to manipulate strings efficiently:

  • CONCAT(): Concatenates two or more strings together.
  • SUBSTRING(): Extracts a substring from a given string based on the specified position and length.
  • LENGTH(): Returns the length of a string.
  • LOWER(): Converts a string to lowercase.
  • UPPER(): Converts a string to uppercase.

String Comparison

When working with strings, it is often necessary to compare them for sorting or searching purposes. MySQL provides several comparison operators for this:

  • =: Checks if two strings are equal.
  • != or <>: Checks if two strings are not equal.
  • <: Checks if one string is less than another.
  • >: Checks if one string is greater than another.


In conclusion, the string data type in MySQL is essential for storing and manipulating textual data. By choosing the appropriate string data type and utilizing the available functions and comparison operators, you can effectively work with strings in your MySQL databases.

Remember to always consider the requirements of your application and the characteristics of your data when choosing a string data type. With the right approach, you can ensure efficient storage and retrieval of textual information in your MySQL database.

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