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Security in MySQL  /  Access Control and Account Management  /  Adding Accounts, Assigning Privileges, and Dropping Accounts

4.7 Adding Accounts, Assigning Privileges, and Dropping Accounts

To manage MySQL accounts, use the SQL statements intended for that purpose:

Account-management statements cause the server to make appropriate modifications to the underlying grant tables, which are discussed in Section 4.3, “Grant Tables”.

Note

Direct modification of grant tables using statements such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE is discouraged and done at your own risk. The server is free to ignore rows that become malformed as a result of such modifications.

As of MySQL 5.5.55, for any operation that modifies a grant table, the server checks whether the table has the expected structure and produces an error if not. mysql_upgrade must be run to update the tables to the expected structure.

Another option for creating accounts is to use the GUI tool MySQL Workbench. Also, several third-party programs offer capabilities for MySQL account administration. phpMyAdmin is one such program.

This section discusses the following topics:

For additional information about the statements discussed here, see Account Management Statements.

Creating Accounts and Granting Privileges

The following examples show how to use the mysql client program to set up new accounts. These examples assume that the MySQL root account has the CREATE USER privilege and all privileges that it grants to other accounts.

At the command line, connect to the server as the MySQL root user, supplying the appropriate password at the password prompt:

shell> mysql -u root -p
Enter password: (enter root password here)

After connecting to the server, you can add new accounts. The following example uses CREATE USER and GRANT statements to set up four accounts (where you see 'password', substitute an appropriate password):

CREATE USER 'finley'@'localhost'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL
  ON *.*
  TO 'finley'@'localhost'
  WITH GRANT OPTION;
CREATE USER 'finley'@'%.example.com'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL
  ON *.*
  TO 'finley'@'%.example.com'
  WITH GRANT OPTION;
CREATE USER 'admin'@'localhost'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT RELOAD,PROCESS
  ON *.*
  TO 'admin'@'localhost';
CREATE USER 'dummy'@'localhost';

The accounts created by those statements have the following properties:

  • Two accounts have a user name of finley. Both are superuser accounts with full global privileges to do anything. The 'finley'@'localhost' account can be used only when connecting from the local host. The 'finley'@'%.example.com' account uses the '%' wildcard in the host part, so it can be used to connect from any host in the example.com domain.

    The 'finley'@'localhost' account is necessary if there is an anonymous-user account for localhost. Without the 'finley'@'localhost' account, that anonymous-user account takes precedence when finley connects from the local host and finley is treated as an anonymous user. The reason for this is that the anonymous-user account has a more specific Host column value than the 'finley'@'%' account and thus comes earlier in the user table sort order. (For information about user table sorting, see Section 4.5, “Access Control, Stage 1: Connection Verification”.)

  • The 'admin'@'localhost' account can be used only by admin to connect from the local host. It is granted the global RELOAD and PROCESS administrative privileges. These privileges enable the admin user to execute the mysqladmin reload, mysqladmin refresh, and mysqladmin flush-xxx commands, as well as mysqladmin processlist . No privileges are granted for accessing any databases. You could add such privileges using GRANT statements.

  • The 'dummy'@'localhost' account has no password (which is insecure and not recommended). This account can be used only to connect from the local host. No privileges are granted. It is assumed that you will grant specific privileges to the account using GRANT statements.

The previous example grants privileges at the global level. The next example creates three accounts and grants them access at lower levels; that is, to specific databases or objects within databases. Each account has a user name of custom, but the host name parts differ:

CREATE USER 'custom'@'localhost'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL
  ON bankaccount.*
  TO 'custom'@'localhost';
CREATE USER 'custom'@'host47.example.com'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT SELECT,INSERT,UPDATE,DELETE,CREATE,DROP
  ON expenses.*
  TO 'custom'@'host47.example.com';
CREATE USER 'custom'@'%.example.com'
  IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT SELECT,INSERT,UPDATE,DELETE,CREATE,DROP
  ON customer.addresses
  TO 'custom'@'%.example.com';

The three accounts can be used as follows:

  • The 'custom'@'localhost' account has all database-level privileges to access the bankaccount database. The account can be used to connect to the server only from the local host.

  • The 'custom'@'host47.example.com' account has specific database-level privileges to access the expenses database. The account can be used to connect to the server only from the host host47.example.com.

  • The 'custom'@'%.example.com' account has specific table-level privileges to access the addresses table in the customer database, from any host in the example.com domain. The account can be used to connect to the server from all machines in the domain due to use of the % wildcard character in the host part of the account name.

Checking Account Privileges

To see the privileges for an account, use SHOW GRANTS:

mysql> SHOW GRANTS FOR 'admin'@'localhost';
+-----------------------------------------------------+
| Grants for admin@localhost                          |
+-----------------------------------------------------+
| GRANT RELOAD, PROCESS ON *.* TO 'admin'@'localhost' |
+-----------------------------------------------------+

Revoking Account Privileges

To revoke account privileges, use the REVOKE statement. Privileges can be revoked at different levels, just as they can be granted at different levels.

Revoke global privileges:

REVOKE ALL
  ON *.*
  FROM 'finley'@'%.example.com';
REVOKE RELOAD
  ON *.*
  FROM 'admin'@'localhost';

Revoke database-level privileges:

REVOKE CREATE,DROP
  ON expenses.*
  FROM 'custom'@'host47.example.com';

Revoke table-level privileges:

REVOKE INSERT,UPDATE,DELETE
  ON customer.addresses
  FROM 'custom'@'%.example.com';

To check the effect of privilege revocation, use SHOW GRANTS:

mysql> SHOW GRANTS FOR 'admin'@'localhost';
+---------------------------------------------+
| Grants for admin@localhost                  |
+---------------------------------------------+
| GRANT PROCESS ON *.* TO 'admin'@'localhost' |
+---------------------------------------------+

Dropping Accounts

To remove an account, use the DROP USER statement. For example, to drop some of the accounts created previously:

DROP USER 'finley'@'localhost';
DROP USER 'finley'@'%.example.com';
DROP USER 'admin'@'localhost';
DROP USER 'dummy'@'localhost';