Install and Configure MySQL Workbench on Ubuntu 16.04

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MySQL Workbench is a feature-rich graphical tool used to model data, build SQL queries, manage MySQL servers, and more. This guide will show you how to install Workbench using the Ubuntu package manager.

Before You Begin

  1. Familiarize yourself with our Getting Started guide and complete the steps for setting your Linode’s hostname and timezone.

  2. This guide will use sudo wherever possible. Complete the sections of our Securing Your Server to create a standard user account, harden SSH access and remove unnecessary network services.

  3. Install VNC on Ubuntu and connect to VNC from your desktop.

  4. Update your system:

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Install MySQL Workbench

Install MySQL Workbench using the APT package manager:

sudo apt install mysql-workbench

Run MySQL Workbench

Launch MySQL Workbench from the terminal:


To view more launch options from the command line interface, use the --help option:

/usr/bin/mysql-workbench --help

MySQL Workbench shows this welcome screen on first run:

Configure MySQL Workbench

Use the built-in Workbench Preferences to adjust settings such as targeted MySQL server version, font color, code completion, and others.

To open the preferences, click on Edit, then Preferences in the main menu:

Optional: Load a Sample Database into MySQL Server

See the guide on how to Install a MySQL server on Ubuntu 14.04 or Debian 8 for more information on creating or logging into a MySQL server.

  1. Access the MySQL server on your Linode via SSH and download the sample Sakila database provided in the MySQL documentation:

  2. Decompress the tar.gz file:

    tar -xzvf sakila-db.tar.gz
  3. Open MySQL Workbench on your local machine and click + to create a new connection:

    MySQL Workbench Home

  4. Create a Connection Name. Click the Connection Method dropdown menu and select Standard TCP/IP over SSH. Complete the credentials for SSH and MySQL user login:

    The MySQL server default port should be 3306 on l27.0.0.1. If you wish to connect to another server with a different port, update the inputs accordingly. See Deploy MySQL Workbench for Database Administration for more information.
  5. Under File, select Run SQL Script…. Select sakila-schema.sql then click Run:

  6. Repeat Step 5 for sakila-data.sql.

  7. Under the Query1 tab, use the sample query below to see a Result Grid of selected data:

    USE sakila;
    SELECT * FROM actors WHERE first_name LIKE 'A%';

The sample database provides a sandbox in which to test configurations and show how to integrate them into your workflow. MySQL Workbench offers a graphical interface to view database models in addition to building queries. While there are plenty of features, free and commercial, lightweight alternatives are available, depending on needs of the user. MySQL Workbench remains a great choice for most database administration tasks.

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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