MySQL 5.1 Reference Manual  /  Installing and Upgrading MySQL  /  Installing MySQL on Unix/Linux Using Generic Binaries

2.2 Installing MySQL on Unix/Linux Using Generic Binaries

Oracle provides a set of binary distributions of MySQL. These include generic binary distributions in the form of compressed tar files (files with a .tar.gz extension) for a number of platforms, and binaries in platform-specific package formats for selected platforms.

This section covers the installation of MySQL from a compressed tar file binary distribution. For other platform-specific package formats, see the other platform-specific sections. For example, for Windows distributions, see Section 2.3, “Installing MySQL on Microsoft Windows”.

To obtain MySQL, see Section 2.1.2, “How to Get MySQL”.

MySQL compressed tar file binary distributions have names of the form mysql-VERSION-OS.tar.gz, where VERSION is a number (for example, 5.1.73), and OS indicates the type of operating system for which the distribution is intended (for example, pc-linux-i686 or winx64).


If you have previously installed MySQL using your operating system native package management system, such as yum or apt-get, you may experience problems installing using a native binary. Make sure your previous MySQL installation has been removed entirely (using your package management system), and that any additional files, such as old versions of your data files, have also been removed. You should also check for configuration files such as /etc/my.cnf or the /etc/mysql directory and delete them.

If you run into problems and need to file a bug report, please use the instructions in Section 1.7, “How to Report Bugs or Problems”.

On Unix, to install a compressed tar file binary distribution, unpack it at the installation location you choose (typically /usr/local/mysql). This creates the directories shown in the following table.

Table 2.3 MySQL Installation Layout for Generic Unix/Linux Binary Package

DirectoryContents of Directory
bin, scriptsmysqld server, client and utility programs
dataLog files, databases
docsMySQL manual in Info format
manUnix manual pages
includeInclude (header) files
shareMiscellaneous support files, including error messages, sample configuration files, SQL for database installation

Debug versions of the mysqld binary are available as mysqld-debug. To compile your own debug version of MySQL from a source distribution, use the appropriate configuration options to enable debugging support. See Section 2.11, “Installing MySQL from Source”.

To install and use a MySQL binary distribution, the command sequence looks like this:

shell> groupadd mysql
shell> useradd -r -g mysql -s /bin/false mysql
shell> cd /usr/local
shell> tar zxvf /path/to/mysql-VERSION-OS.tar.gz
shell> ln -s full-path-to-mysql-VERSION-OS mysql
shell> cd mysql
shell> chown -R mysql .
shell> chgrp -R mysql .
shell> scripts/mysql_install_db --user=mysql
shell> chown -R root .
shell> chown -R mysql data
# Next command is optional
shell> cp support-files/my-medium.cnf /etc/my.cnf
shell> bin/mysqld_safe --user=mysql &
# Next command is optional
shell> cp support-files/mysql.server /etc/init.d/mysql.server

This procedure assumes that you have root (administrator) access to your system. Alternatively, you can prefix each command using the sudo (Linux) or pfexec (OpenSolaris) command.


The procedure does not assign passwords to MySQL accounts. To do so, use the instructions in Section 2.12.4, “Securing the Initial MySQL Accounts”.

A more detailed version of the preceding description for installing a binary distribution follows.

Create a mysql User and Group

If your system does not already have a user and group to use for running mysqld, you may need to create one. The following commands add the mysql group and the mysql user. You might want to call the user and group something else instead of mysql. If so, substitute the appropriate name in the following instructions. The syntax for useradd and groupadd may differ slightly on different versions of Unix, or they may have different names such as adduser and addgroup.

shell> groupadd mysql
shell> useradd -r -g mysql -s /bin/false mysql

Because the user is required only for ownership purposes, not login purposes, the useradd command uses the -r and -s /bin/false options to create a user that does not have login permissions to your server host. Omit these options if your useradd does not support them.

Obtain and Unpack the Distribution

Pick the directory under which you want to unpack the distribution and change location into it. The example here unpacks the distribution under /usr/local. The instructions, therefore, assume that you have permission to create files and directories in /usr/local. If that directory is protected, you must perform the installation as root.

shell> cd /usr/local

Obtain a distribution file using the instructions in Section 2.1.2, “How to Get MySQL”. For a given release, binary distributions for all platforms are built from the same MySQL source distribution.

Unpack the distribution, which creates the installation directory. Then create a symbolic link to that directory. tar can uncompress and unpack the distribution if it has z option support:

shell> tar zxvf /path/to/mysql-VERSION-OS.tar.gz
shell> ln -s full-path-to-mysql-VERSION-OS mysql

The tar command creates a directory named mysql-VERSION-OS. The ln command makes a symbolic link to that directory. This enables you to refer more easily to the installation directory as /usr/local/mysql.

To install MySQL from a compressed tar file binary distribution, your system must have GNU gunzip to uncompress the distribution and a reasonable tar to unpack it. If your tar program supports the z option, it can both uncompress and unpack the file.

GNU tar is known to work. The standard tar provided with some operating systems is not able to unpack the long file names in the MySQL distribution. You should download and install GNU tar, or if available, use a preinstalled version of GNU tar. Usually this is available as gnutar, gtar, or as tar within a GNU or Free Software directory, such as /usr/sfw/bin or /usr/local/bin. GNU tar is available from

If your tar does not have z option support, use gunzip to unpack the distribution and tar to unpack it. Replace the preceding tar command with the following alternative command to uncompress and extract the distribution:

shell> gunzip < /path/to/mysql-VERSION-OS.tar.gz | tar xvf -

Perform Postinstallation Setup

The remainder of the installation process involves setting distribution ownership and access permissions, initializing the data directory, starting the MySQL server, and setting up the configuration file. For instructions, see Section 2.12, “Postinstallation Setup and Testing”.

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User Comments
  Posted by Rohit M on March 16, 2011
This step will be helpful in Installation of MySQL.One needs to follow additional step of changing the file ownership.

Even after executing following command as mentioned in the document:
chown -R mysql .
chgrp -R mysql .
There are four symbolic link files whose ownership is not changed(/usr/mysql/lib).
lrwxrwxrwx 1 7155 staff 24 Mar 9 06:28 ->
lrwxrwxrwx 1 7155 staff 24 Mar 9 06:28 ->
lrwxrwxrwx 1 7155 staff 26 Mar 9 06:28 ->
lrwxrwxrwx 1 7155 staff 26 Mar 9 06:28 ->

In order to change ownership of these files one needs to use following command.
chown -h mysql:mysql

  Posted by Andrew Carr on March 21, 2011
The previous comment depends on which operating system you are using. I am running slackware w/ kernel and I did not have to specifically rename the symbolic links.

  Posted by on December 13, 2011
In CentOS 6 (the only version I have studied deeply so far) the following commands change the owner of all files (even hidden ones and symbolic links):

chown -R mysql .
chgrp -R mysql .

I did it in one step, though:
chown -R mysql:mysql .

So, despite the fact that Rohit Mahambre's comments might be helpful when using other distros, in CentOS 6 there is no need to use more commands.

This is the output of ls -la for my lib subdirectory:
[george@CentOS-6-host lib]$ ls -la
total 224776
drwxr-xr-x. 3 mysql mysql 4096 Dec 12 18:56 .
drwxr-xr-x. 13 mysql mysql 4096 Dec 12 18:59 ..
-rw-r--r--. 1 mysql mysql 14768868 Nov 23 10:32 libmysqlclient.a
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 mysql mysql 16 Dec 12 18:56 libmysqlclient_r.a -> libmysqlclient.a
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 mysql mysql 17 Dec 12 18:56 ->
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 mysql mysql 17 Dec 12 18:56 ->
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 mysql mysql 17 Dec 12 18:56 ->
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 mysql mysql 20 Dec 12 18:56 ->
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 mysql mysql 24 Dec 12 18:56 ->
-rwxr-xr-x. 1 mysql mysql 6844990 Nov 23 10:32
-rw-r--r--. 1 mysql mysql 103358370 Nov 23 10:36 libmysqld.a
-rw-r--r--. 1 mysql mysql 104165746 Nov 23 10:26 libmysqld-debug.a
-rw-r--r--. 1 mysql mysql 9584 Nov 23 10:28 libmysqlservices.a
-rw-r--r--. 1 mysql mysql 997127 Nov 23 10:21
drwxr-xr-x. 3 mysql mysql 4096 Dec 12 18:55 plugin
  Posted by Steven Garner on February 17, 2013
On Ubuntu 12-04 LTS, you will need to perform:

cp support-files/my-default.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf

instead of the step:

cp support-files/my-medium.cnf /etc/my.cnf
  Posted by Jose Luis Bernal Zambrano on June 15, 2015
Alternatively to:

chown -R mysql .
chgrp -R mysql .

With this method isn't needed to do inside specific directory
chown -R mysql:mysql /usr/local/mysql/
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