Installing MariaDB on Ubuntu 18.04

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MariaDB is a fork of the popular cross-platform MySQL database management system and is considered a full drop-in replacement for MySQL. MariaDB was created by one of MySQL’s original developers in 2009 after MySQL was acquired by Oracle during the Sun Microsystems merger. Today MariaDB is maintained and developed by the MariaDB Foundation and community contributors with the intention of it remaining GNU GPL software.

This guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with sudo. If you’re not familiar with the sudo command, you can check our Users and Groups guide.

Before You Begin

  1. If you have not already done so, create a Linode account and Compute Instance. See our Getting Started with Linode and Creating a Compute Instance guides.

  2. Follow our Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance guide to update your system and configure your hostname. You may also wish to set the timezone, create a limited user account, and harden SSH access.

    To check your hostname run:

    hostname -f

    The first command should show your short hostname, and the second should show your fully qualified domain name (FQDN) if you have one assigned.

Install and Setup MariaDB

Install MariaDB using the package manager.

sudo apt install mariadb-server

MariaDB will bind to localhost ( by default. For information on connecting to a remote database using SSH, see our MySQL remote access guide, which also applies to MariaDB.

Allowing unrestricted access to MariaDB on a public IP not advised but you may change the address it listens on by modifying the bind-address parameter in /etc/mysql/my.cnf. If you decide to bind MariaDB to your public IP, you should implement firewall rules that only allow connections from specific IP addresses.

MariaDB Client

The standard tool for interacting with MariaDB is the mariadb client, which installs with the mariadb-server package. The MariaDB client is used through a terminal.

Root Login

  1. Log into MariaDB as the root user:

    sudo mysql -u root -p
  2. When prompted for login credentials, hit enter. By default MariaDB will authenticate you via the unix_socket plugin and credentials are not required.

    You’ll then be presented with a welcome header and the MariaDB prompt as shown below:

    MariaDB [(none)]>
  3. To generate a list of commands for the MariaDB prompt, enter \h. You’ll then see:

    General information about MariaDB can be found at
    List of all MySQL commands:
    Note that all text commands must be first on line and end with ';'
    ?         (\?) Synonym for `help'.
    clear     (\c) Clear the current input statement.
    connect   (\r) Reconnect to the server. Optional arguments are db and host.
    delimiter (\d) Set statement delimiter.
    edit      (\e) Edit command with $EDITOR.
    ego       (\G) Send command to mysql server, display result vertically.
    exit      (\q) Exit mysql. Same as quit.
    go        (\g) Send command to mysql server.
    help      (\h) Display this help.
    nopager   (\n) Disable pager, print to stdout.
    notee     (\t) Don't write into outfile.
    pager     (\P) Set PAGER [to_pager]. Print the query results via PAGER.
    print     (\p) Print current command.
    prompt    (\R) Change your mysql prompt.
    quit      (\q) Quit mysql.
    rehash    (\#) Rebuild completion hash.
    source    (\.) Execute an SQL script file. Takes a file name as an argument.
    status    (\s) Get status information from the server.
    system    (\!) Execute a system shell command.
    tee       (\T) Set outfile [to_outfile]. Append everything into given outfile.
    use       (\u) Use another database. Takes database name as argument.
    charset   (\C) Switch to another charset. Might be needed for processing binlog with multi-byte charsets.
    warnings  (\W) Show warnings after every statement.
    nowarning (\w) Don't show warnings after every statement.
    For server side help, type 'help contents'
    MariaDB [(none)]>

Securing the Installation

  1. After accessing MariaDB as the root user of your database, enable the mysql_native_password plugin to enable root password authentication:

     USE mysql;
     UPDATE user SET plugin='mysql_native_password' WHERE user='root';
  2. Run the mysql_secure_installation script to address several security concerns in a default MariaDB installation:

    sudo mysql_secure_installation

You will be given the choice to change the MariaDB root password, remove anonymous user accounts, disable root logins outside of localhost, and remove test databases. It is recommended that you answer yes to these options. You can read more about the script in the MariaDB Knowledge Base.

Using MariaDB

Create a New MariaDB User and Database

  1. Login to the database again. This time, if you set a password above, enter it at the prompt.

    sudo mysql -u root -p
  2. In the example below, testdb is the name of the database, testuser is the user, and password is the user’s password. You should replace password with a secure password:

    CREATE user 'testuser'@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    GRANT ALL ON testdb.* TO 'testuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

    You can shorten this process by creating the user while assigning database permissions:

    GRANT ALL ON testdb.* TO 'testuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
  3. Then exit MariaDB:


Create a Sample Table

  1. Login as testuser, entering the password when prompted:

    sudo mysql -u testuser -p
  2. Create a sample table called customers:

    USE testdb;
    CREATE TABLE customers (customer_id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY, first_name TEXT, last_name TEXT);
    • This creates a table with a customer_id field of the type INT for integer.
      • This field is auto-incremented for new records and used as the primary key.
    • Two other fields are created, first_name and last_name for storing the customer’s name.
  3. View the new table:

    | Tables_in_testdb |
    | customers        |
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
  4. Add some data:

    INSERT INTO customers (first_name, last_name) VALUES ('John', 'Doe');
  5. View the data:

    SELECT * FROM customers;
    | customer_id | first_name | last_name |
    |           1 | John       | Doe       |
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
  6. Then exit MariaDB:


Reset the MariaDB Root Password

If you forget your root MariaDB password, it can be reset.

  1. Stop the current MariaDB server instance.

    sudo systemctl stop mariadb
  2. Then execute the following command which will allow the database to start without loading the grant tables or networking.

    sudo systemctl set-environment MYSQLD_OPTS="--skip-grant-tables --skip-networking"
  3. Restart MariaDB:

    sudo systemctl start mariadb
  4. Login to the MariaDB server with the root account, this time without supplying a password:

    sudo mysql -u root
  5. Use the following commands to reset root’s password. Replace password with a strong password:

    UPDATE mysql.user SET password = PASSWORD('password') WHERE user = 'root';
  6. Update the authentication methods for the root password:

    UPDATE mysql.user SET authentication_string = '' WHERE user = 'root';
    UPDATE mysql.user SET plugin = '' WHERE user = 'root';
  7. Revert the environment settings to allow the database to start with grant tables and networking:

    sudo systemctl unset-environment MYSQLD_OPTS
  8. Then restart MariaDB:

    sudo systemctl restart mariadb
  9. You should now be able to log into the database with your new root password:

    sudo mysql -u root -p

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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