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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Setting The Binary Log Format Setting The Binary Log Format

You can select the binary logging format explicitly by starting the MySQL server with --binlog-format=type. The supported values for type are:

  • STATEMENT causes logging to be statement based.

  • ROW causes logging to be row based.

  • MIXED causes logging to use mixed format.

In MySQL 5.5, the default binary logging format is STATEMENT. This includes MySQL NDB Cluster 7.2.1 and later MySQL NDB Cluster 7.2 releases, which are based on MySQL 5.5.

The logging format also can be switched at runtime. Set the global value of the binlog_format system variable to specify the format for clients that connect subsequent to the change:

mysql> SET GLOBAL binlog_format = 'STATEMENT';
mysql> SET GLOBAL binlog_format = 'ROW';
mysql> SET GLOBAL binlog_format = 'MIXED';

An individual client can control the logging format for its own statements by setting the session value of binlog_format:

mysql> SET SESSION binlog_format = 'STATEMENT';
mysql> SET SESSION binlog_format = 'ROW';
mysql> SET SESSION binlog_format = 'MIXED';

Each MySQL Server can set its own and only its own binary logging format (true whether binlog_format is set with global or session scope). This means that changing the logging format on a replication master does not cause a slave to change its logging format to match. (When using STATEMENT mode, the binlog_format system variable is not replicated; when using MIXED or ROW logging mode, it is replicated but is ignored by the slave.) Changing the binary logging format on the master while replication is ongoing, or without also changing it on the slave can cause replication to fail with errors such as Error executing row event: 'Cannot execute statement: impossible to write to binary log since statement is in row format and BINLOG_FORMAT = STATEMENT.'

Changing the global binlog_format value requires privileges sufficient to set global system variables. Changing the session binlog_format value requires privileges sufficient to set restricted session system variables. See Section, “System Variable Privileges”.

There are several reasons why a client might want to set binary logging on a per-session basis:

  • A session that makes many small changes to the database might want to use row-based logging.

  • A session that performs updates that match many rows in the WHERE clause might want to use statement-based logging because it will be more efficient to log a few statements than many rows.

  • Some statements require a lot of execution time on the master, but result in just a few rows being modified. It might therefore be beneficial to replicate them using row-based logging.

There are exceptions when you cannot switch the replication format at runtime:

  • From within a stored function or a trigger

  • If the NDBCLUSTER storage engine is enabled

  • If the session is currently in row-based replication mode and has open temporary tables

Trying to switch the format in any of these cases results in an error.

If you are using InnoDB tables and the transaction isolation level is READ COMMITTED or READ UNCOMMITTED, only row-based logging can be used. It is possible to change the logging format to STATEMENT, but doing so at runtime leads very rapidly to errors because InnoDB can no longer perform inserts.

Switching the replication format at runtime is not recommended when any temporary tables exist, because temporary tables are logged only when using statement-based replication, whereas with row-based replication they are not logged. With mixed replication, temporary tables are usually logged; exceptions happen with user-defined functions (UDFs) and with the UUID() function.

With the binary log format set to ROW, many changes are written to the binary log using the row-based format. Some changes, however, still use the statement-based format. Examples include all DDL (data definition language) statements such as CREATE TABLE, ALTER TABLE, or DROP TABLE.

The --binlog-row-event-max-size option is available for servers that are capable of row-based replication. Rows are stored into the binary log in chunks having a size in bytes not exceeding the value of this option. The value must be a multiple of 256. The default value is 1024.


When using statement-based logging for replication, it is possible for the data on the master and slave to become different if a statement is designed in such a way that the data modification is nondeterministic; that is, it is left to the will of the query optimizer. In general, this is not a good practice even outside of replication. For a detailed explanation of this issue, see Section B.4.7, “Known Issues in MySQL”.