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6.2.3 Specifying Account Names

MySQL account names consist of a user name and a host name. This enables creation of accounts for users with the same name who can connect from different hosts. This section describes how to write account names, including special values and wildcard rules.

In SQL statements such as CREATE USER, GRANT, and SET PASSWORD, write account names using the following rules:

  • Syntax for account names is 'user_name'@'host_name'.

  • An account name consisting only of a user name is equivalent to 'user_name'@'%'. For example, 'me' is equivalent to 'me'@'%'.

  • The user name and host name need not be quoted if they are legal as unquoted identifiers. Quotes are necessary to specify a user_name string containing special characters (such as -), or a host_name string containing special characters or wildcard characters (such as %); for example, 'test-user'@''.

  • Quote user names and host names as identifiers or as strings, using either backticks (`), single quotation marks ('), or double quotation marks (").

  • The user name and host name parts, if quoted, must be quoted separately. That is, write 'me'@'localhost', not 'me@localhost'; the latter is interpreted as 'me@localhost'@'%'.

MySQL stores account names in grant tables in the mysql database using separate columns for the user name and host name parts:

  • The user table contains one row for each account. The User and Host columns store the user name and host name. This table also indicates which global privileges the account has.

  • Other grant tables indicate privileges an account has for databases and objects within databases. These tables have User and Host columns to store the account name. Each row in these tables associates with the account in the user table that has the same User and Host values.

  • A reference to the CURRENT_USER or CURRENT_USER() function is equivalent to specifying the current client's user name and host name literally.

For additional detail about grant table structure, see Section 6.2.2, “Privilege System Grant Tables”.

User names and host names have certain special values or wildcard conventions, as described following.

A user name is either a nonblank value that literally matches the user name for incoming connection attempts, or a blank value (empty string) that matches any user name. An account with a blank user name is an anonymous user. To specify an anonymous user in SQL statements, use a quoted empty user name part, such as ''@'localhost'.

The host name part of an account name can take many forms, and wildcards are permitted:

  • A host value can be a host name or an IP address. The name 'localhost' indicates the local host. The IP address '' indicates the loopback interface.

  • You can use the wildcard characters % and _ in host name or IP address values. These have the same meaning as for pattern-matching operations performed with the LIKE operator. For example, a host value of '%' matches any host name, whereas a value of '' matches any host in the domain. '192.168.1.%' matches any host in the 192.168.1 class C network.

    Because you can use IP wildcard values in host values (for example, '192.168.1.%' to match every host on a subnet), someone could try to exploit this capability by naming a host To foil such attempts, MySQL disallows matching on host names that start with digits and a dot. Thus, if you have a host named something like, its name never matches the host part of account names. An IP wildcard value can match only IP addresses, not host names.

  • For a host value specified as an IP address, you can specify a netmask indicating how many address bits to use for the network number. The syntax is host_ip/netmask. For example:

    CREATE USER 'david'@'';

    This enables david to connect from any client host having an IP address client_ip for which the following condition is true:

    client_ip & netmask = host_ip

    That is, for the CREATE USER statement just shown:

    client_ip & =

    IP addresses that satisfy this condition and can connect to the MySQL server are those in the range from to

    A netmask typically begins with bits set to 1, followed by bits set to 0. Examples:

    • Any host on the 192 class A network

    • Any host on the 192.168 class B network

    • Any host on the 192.168.1 class C network

    • Only the host with this specific IP address

    The following netmask will not work because it masks 28 bits, and 28 is not a multiple of 8:

The server performs matching of host values in account names against the client host using the value returned by the system DNS resolver for the client host name or IP address. Except in the case that the account host value is specified using netmask notation, this comparison is performed as a string match, even for an account host value given as an IP address. This means that you should specify account host values in the same format used by DNS. Here are examples of problems to watch out for:

  • Suppose that a host on the local network has a fully qualified name of If DNS returns name lookups for this host as, use that name in account host values. But if DNS returns just host1, use host1 instead.

  • If DNS returns the IP address for a given host as, that will match an account host value of but not Similarly, it will match an account host pattern like 192.168.1.% but not 192.168.01.%.

To avoid problems like this, it is advisable to check the format in which your DNS returns host names and addresses, and use values in the same format in MySQL account names.

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