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MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  mysqld_safe — MySQL Server Startup Script

5.3.2 mysqld_safe — MySQL Server Startup Script

mysqld_safe is the recommended way to start a mysqld server on Unix. mysqld_safe adds some safety features such as restarting the server when an error occurs and logging runtime information to an error log file. A description of error logging is given later in this section.


As of MySQL 5.7.6, for MySQL installation using an RPM distribution, server startup and shutdown is managed by systemd on several Linux platforms. On these platforms, mysqld_safe is no longer installed because it is unnecessary. For more information, see Section 2.5.10, “Managing MySQL Server with systemd”.

mysqld_safe tries to start an executable named mysqld. To override the default behavior and specify explicitly the name of the server you want to run, specify a --mysqld or --mysqld-version option to mysqld_safe. You can also use --ledir to indicate the directory where mysqld_safe should look for the server.

Many of the options to mysqld_safe are the same as the options to mysqld. See Section 6.1.3, “Server Command Options”.

Options unknown to mysqld_safe are passed to mysqld if they are specified on the command line, but ignored if they are specified in the [mysqld_safe] group of an option file. See Section 5.2.6, “Using Option Files”.

mysqld_safe reads all options from the [mysqld], [server], and [mysqld_safe] sections in option files. For example, if you specify a [mysqld] section like this, mysqld_safe will find and use the --log-error option:


For backward compatibility, mysqld_safe also reads [safe_mysqld] sections, but to be current you should rename such sections to [mysqld_safe].

mysqld_safe accepts options on the command line and in option files, as described in the following table. For information about option files used by MySQL programs, see Section 5.2.6, “Using Option Files”.

Table 5.1 mysqld_safe Options

--basedirPath to MySQL installation directory 
--core-file-sizeSize of core file that mysqld should be able to create 
--datadirPath to data directory 
--defaults-extra-fileRead named option file in addition to usual option files 
--defaults-fileRead only named option file 
--helpDisplay help message and exit 
--ledirPath to directory where server is located 
--log-errorWrite error log to named file 
--malloc-libAlternative malloc library to use for mysqld 
--mysqldName of server program to start (in ledir directory) 
--mysqld-safe-log-timestampsTimestamp format for logging5.7.11
--mysqld-versionSuffix for server program name 
--niceUse nice program to set server scheduling priority 
--no-defaultsRead no option files 
--open-files-limitNumber of files that mysqld should be able to open 
--pid-filePath name of process ID file 
--plugin-dirDirectory where plugins are installed 
--portPort number on which to listen for TCP/IP connections 
--skip-kill-mysqldDo not try to kill stray mysqld processes 
--skip-syslogDo not write error messages to syslog; use error log file 
--socketSocket file on which to listen for Unix socket connections 
--syslogWrite error messages to syslog 
--syslog-tagTag suffix for messages written to syslog 
--timezoneSet TZ time zone environment variable to named value 
--userRun mysqld as user having name user_name or numeric user ID user_id 

  • --help

    Display a help message and exit.

  • --basedir=dir_name

    The path to the MySQL installation directory.

  • --core-file-size=size

    The size of the core file that mysqld should be able to create. The option value is passed to ulimit -c.

  • --datadir=dir_name

    The path to the data directory.

  • --defaults-extra-file=file_name

    The name of an option file to be read in addition to the usual option files. This must be the first option on the command line if it is used. If the file does not exist or is otherwise inaccessible, the server will exit with an error.

  • --defaults-file=file_name

    The name of an option file to be read instead of the usual option files. This must be the first option on the command line if it is used.

  • --ledir=dir_name

    If mysqld_safe cannot find the server, use this option to indicate the path name to the directory where the server is located.

  • --log-error=file_name

    Write the error log to the given file. See Section 6.4.2, “The Error Log”.

  • --mysqld-safe-log-timestamps

    This option controls the format for timestamps in log output produced by mysqld_safe. The following list describes the permitted values. For any other value, mysqld_safe logs a warning and uses UTC format.

    • UTC, utc

      ISO 8601 UTC format (same as --log_timestamps=UTC for the server). This is the default.

    • SYSTEM, system

      ISO 8601 local time format (same as --log_timestamps=SYSTEM for the server).

    • HYPHEN, hyphen

      YY-MM-DD h:mm:ss format, as in mysqld_safe for MySQL 5.6.

    • LEGACY, legacy

      YYMMDD hh:mm:ss format, as in mysqld_safe prior to MySQL 5.6.

    This option was added in MySQL 5.7.11.

  • --malloc-lib=[lib_name]

    The name of the library to use for memory allocation instead of the system malloc() library. Any library can be used by specifying its path name, but there is a shortcut form to enable use of the tcmalloc library that is shipped with binary MySQL distributions for Linux in MySQL 5.7. It is possible that the shortcut form will not work under certain configurations, in which case you should specify a path name instead.


    As of MySQL 5.7.13, MySQL distributions no longer include a tcmalloc library.

    The --malloc-lib option works by modifying the LD_PRELOAD environment value to affect dynamic linking to enable the loader to find the memory-allocation library when mysqld runs:

    • If the option is not given, or is given without a value (--malloc-lib=), LD_PRELOAD is not modified and no attempt is made to use tcmalloc.

    • If the option is given as --malloc-lib=tcmalloc, mysqld_safe looks for a tcmalloc library in /usr/lib and then in the MySQL pkglibdir location (for example, /usr/local/mysql/lib or whatever is appropriate). If tmalloc is found, its path name is added to the beginning of the LD_PRELOAD value for mysqld. If tcmalloc is not found, mysqld_safe aborts with an error.

    • If the option is given as --malloc-lib=/path/to/some/library, that full path is added to the beginning of the LD_PRELOAD value. If the full path points to a nonexistent or unreadable file, mysqld_safe aborts with an error.

    • For cases where mysqld_safe adds a path name to LD_PRELOAD, it adds the path to the beginning of any existing value the variable already has.


    On systems that manage the server using systemd, mysqld_safe is not available. Instead, specify the allocation library by setting LD_PRELOAD in /etc/sysconfig/mysql.

    Linux users can use the included in binary packages by adding these lines to the my.cnf file:


    Those lines also suffice for users on any platform who have installed a tcmalloc package in /usr/lib. To use a specific tcmalloc library, specify its full path name. Example:

  • --mysqld=prog_name

    The name of the server program (in the ledir directory) that you want to start. This option is needed if you use the MySQL binary distribution but have the data directory outside of the binary distribution. If mysqld_safe cannot find the server, use the --ledir option to indicate the path name to the directory where the server is located.

  • --mysqld-version=suffix

    This option is similar to the --mysqld option, but you specify only the suffix for the server program name. The base name is assumed to be mysqld. For example, if you use --mysqld-version=debug, mysqld_safe starts the mysqld-debug program in the ledir directory. If the argument to --mysqld-version is empty, mysqld_safe uses mysqld in the ledir directory.

  • --nice=priority

    Use the nice program to set the server's scheduling priority to the given value.

  • --no-defaults

    Do not read any option files. This must be the first option on the command line if it is used.

  • --open-files-limit=count

    The number of files that mysqld should be able to open. The option value is passed to ulimit -n.


    You must start mysqld_safe as root for this to function properly.

  • --pid-file=file_name

    The path name of the process ID file.

    In MySQL 5.7.2 and later, mysqld_safe creates a PID file named in the MySQL data directory when starting up (Bug #16776528).

  • --plugin-dir=dir_name

    The path name of the plugin directory.

  • --port=port_num

    The port number that the server should use when listening for TCP/IP connections. The port number must be 1024 or higher unless the server is started by the root system user.

  • --skip-kill-mysqld

    Do not try to kill stray mysqld processes at startup. This option works only on Linux.

  • --socket=path

    The Unix socket file that the server should use when listening for local connections.

  • --syslog, --skip-syslog

    --syslog causes error messages to be sent to syslog on systems that support the logger program. --skip-syslog suppresses the use of syslog; messages are written to an error log file.

    When syslog is used, the daemon.err facility/severity is used for all log messages.

    Using these options to control mysqld logging is deprecated as of MySQL 5.7.5. Use the server log_syslog system variable instead. To control the facility, use the server log_syslog_facility system variable. See Section 6.4.2, “The Error Log”.

  • --syslog-tag=tag

    For logging to syslog, messages from mysqld_safe and mysqld are written with identifiers of mysqld_safe and mysqld, respectively. To specify a suffix for the identifiers, use --syslog-tag=tag, which modifies the identifiers to be mysqld_safe-tag and mysqld-tag.

    Using this option to control mysqld logging is deprecated as of MySQL 5.7.5. Use the server log_syslog_tag system variable instead. See Section 6.4.2, “The Error Log”.

  • --timezone=timezone

    Set the TZ time zone environment variable to the given option value. Consult your operating system documentation for legal time zone specification formats.

  • --user={user_name|user_id}

    Run the mysqld server as the user having the name user_name or the numeric user ID user_id. (User in this context refers to a system login account, not a MySQL user listed in the grant tables.)

If you execute mysqld_safe with the --defaults-file or --defaults-extra-file option to name an option file, the option must be the first one given on the command line or the option file will not be used. For example, this command will not use the named option file:

mysql> mysqld_safe --port=port_num --defaults-file=file_name

Instead, use the following command:

mysql> mysqld_safe --defaults-file=file_name --port=port_num

The mysqld_safe script is written so that it normally can start a server that was installed from either a source or a binary distribution of MySQL, even though these types of distributions typically install the server in slightly different locations. (See Section 2.1.4, “Installation Layouts”.) mysqld_safe expects one of the following conditions to be true:

  • The server and databases can be found relative to the working directory (the directory from which mysqld_safe is invoked). For binary distributions, mysqld_safe looks under its working directory for bin and data directories. For source distributions, it looks for libexec and var directories. This condition should be met if you execute mysqld_safe from your MySQL installation directory (for example, /usr/local/mysql for a binary distribution).

  • If the server and databases cannot be found relative to the working directory, mysqld_safe attempts to locate them by absolute path names. Typical locations are /usr/local/libexec and /usr/local/var. The actual locations are determined from the values configured into the distribution at the time it was built. They should be correct if MySQL is installed in the location specified at configuration time.

Because mysqld_safe tries to find the server and databases relative to its own working directory, you can install a binary distribution of MySQL anywhere, as long as you run mysqld_safe from the MySQL installation directory:

shell> cd mysql_installation_directory
shell> bin/mysqld_safe &

If mysqld_safe fails, even when invoked from the MySQL installation directory, specify the --ledir and --datadir options to indicate the directories in which the server and databases are located on your system.

mysqld_safe tries to use the sleep and date system utilities to determine how many times per second it has attempted to start. If these utilities are present and the attempted starts per second is greater than 5, mysqld_safe waits 1 full second before starting again. This is intended to prevent excessive CPU usage in the event of repeated failures. (Bug #11761530, Bug #54035)

When you use mysqld_safe to start mysqld, mysqld_safe arranges for error (and notice) messages from itself and from mysqld to go to the same destination.

There are several mysqld_safe options for controlling the destination of these messages:

  • --log-error=file_name: Write error messages to the named error file.

  • --syslog: Write error messages to syslog on systems that support the logger program.

  • --skip-syslog: Do not write error messages to syslog. Messages are written to the default error log file (host_name.err in the data directory), or to a named file if the --log-error option is given.

If none of these options is given, the default is --skip-syslog.

When mysqld_safe writes a message, notices go to the logging destination (syslog or the error log file) and stdout. Errors go to the logging destination and stderr.


Controlling mysqld logging from mysqld_safe is deprecated as of MySQL 5.7.5. Use the server's native syslog support instead. For more information, see Section 6.4.2, “The Error Log”.

User Comments
  Posted by Robert Hodges on April 30, 2007
If you invoke mysql_safe from the default /etc/init.d/mysql script, beware of interference from SELinux. You may run into a problem where mysql_safe terminates immediately and causes the start operation to fail. If so, try turning off SELinux and see if it makes the problem go away.
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