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MySQL 8.0 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Password Expiration Policy

Pre-General Availability Draft: 2017-07-21

6.3.8 Password Expiration Policy

MySQL enables database administrators to expire account passwords manually, and to establish a policy for automatic password expiration.

To expire a password manually, the database administrator uses the ALTER USER statement:

ALTER USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost' PASSWORD EXPIRE;

This operation marks the password expired in the corresponding mysql.user table row. The mysql.user table indicates for each account when its password was last changed, and the server automatically treats the password as expired at client connection time if it is past its permitted lifetime. This works with no explicit manual password expiration.

The default_password_lifetime system variable defines the global automatic password expiration policy. It applies to accounts that use MySQL built-in authentication methods (accounts that use an authentication plugin of mysql_native_password or sha256_password).

The default default_password_lifetime value is 0, which disables automatic password expiration. If the value of default_password_lifetime is a positive integer N, it indicates the permitted password lifetime; passwords must be changed every N days.


  • To establish a global policy that passwords have a lifetime of approximately six months, start the server with these lines in an option file:

  • To establish a global policy such that passwords never expire, set default_password_lifetime to 0:

  • default_password_lifetime can also be changed at runtime (this requires the SYSTEM_VARIABLES_ADMIN or SUPER privilege):

    SET GLOBAL default_password_lifetime = 180;
    SET GLOBAL default_password_lifetime = 0;

No matter the global policy, it can be overridden for individual accounts with ALTER USER:

  • Require the password to be changed every 90 days:

    ALTER USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost' PASSWORD EXPIRE INTERVAL 90 DAY;
  • Disable password expiration:

    ALTER USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost' PASSWORD EXPIRE NEVER;
  • Defer to the global expiration policy:

    ALTER USER 'jeffrey'@'localhost' PASSWORD EXPIRE DEFAULT;

    PASSWORD EXPIRE DEFAULT defers to the global exipration policy and in the mysql.user table sets the password_lifetime field to NULL for the named account.

These ALTER USER statements update the corresponding mysql.user table row.

When a client successfully connects, the server determines whether the account password is expired:

  • The server checks whether the password has been manually expired and, if so, restricts the session.

  • Otherwise, the server checks whether the password is past its lifetime according to the automatic password expiration policy. If so, the server considers the password expired and restricts the session.

A restricted client operates in sandbox mode,, which limits the operations permitted to the client (see Section 6.3.9, “Password Expiration and Sandbox Mode”). Operations performed by a restricted client result in an error until the user establishes a new account password:

mysql> SELECT 1;
ERROR 1820 (HY000): You must SET PASSWORD before executing this statement

mysql> ALTER USER USER() IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

mysql> SELECT 1;
| 1 |
| 1 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

This restricted mode of operation permits SET statements, which is useful if the deprecated SET PASSWORD is used instead of ALTER USER and the account password has a hashing format that requires old_passwords to be set to a value different from its default.

It is possible for an administrative user to reset the account password, but any existing sessions for that account remain restricted. A client using the account must disconnect and reconnect before statements can be executed successfully.


It is possible to reset a password by setting it to its current value. As a matter of good policy, it is preferable to choose a different password.

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