Which Data Type Is Used for Email in SQL?


Scott Campbell

In SQL, the data type used for storing email addresses is VARCHAR. VARCHAR stands for variable-length character string and allows you to store alphanumeric characters of varying lengths.


The VARCHAR data type is commonly used to store textual data in a database. It is defined with a maximum length, which determines the maximum number of characters that can be stored. For example, if you define a column as VARCHAR(50), it can store up to 50 characters.

When using the VARCHAR data type for email addresses, it’s important to choose an appropriate length that can accommodate most email addresses without wasting unnecessary storage space. A common choice is VARCHAR(255), which allows for long email addresses.

Validating Email Addresses

While SQL does not provide built-in validation for email addresses, you can implement your own validation logic using various techniques. One approach is to use regular expressions (regex) to validate the format of an email address. For example:

SELECT * FROM users WHERE email REGEXP '^[A-Za-z0-9._%+-]+@[A-Za-z0-9.-]+\.[A-Za-z]{2,}$';

This query checks if the “email” column matches the regular expression pattern, ensuring that it has a valid format. However, keep in mind that regex patterns may vary depending on your specific requirements.

Storing Multiple Email Addresses

If you need to store multiple email addresses per record in SQL, you have several options:

  • Create multiple columns: You can create separate columns for each email address you want to store. However, this approach may lead to inflexible database schemas and is not recommended.
  • Use a delimiter: You can store multiple email addresses as a single VARCHAR value separated by a delimiter, such as a comma or semicolon.

    However, this approach makes it harder to query and manipulate individual email addresses.

  • Create a separate table: You can create a separate table to store email addresses, linking them to the main table using foreign keys. This allows for more flexibility and easier querying.


The VARCHAR data type is commonly used for storing email addresses in SQL. By choosing an appropriate length and implementing validation logic, you can ensure accurate storage of email addresses in your database. Additionally, when dealing with multiple email addresses, consider using proper database design techniques to maintain flexibility and ease of querying.

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