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How to Query Your MySQL Database Tutorial

Posted on by Ronald Caldwell
Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’ve heard of MySQL or SQL, you’re probably familiar with relational databases and how they are used in web applications. A relational database is a virtual container that stores and provides users with access to related information. But what do databases have to do with web applications?

Databases and data tables are the main building blocks of many websites and play a crucial role in data exchange. Because of its structure and reliability, MySQL is the standard choice for managing web applications. Database management is a necessary tool for handling online applications, and to manage them, users must give the system commands.

These commands are known as queries. MySQL’s flexible nature makes it the ideal system for database management. In this article, we will discuss how to query your MySQL database for business operations.

What is Database Management and How Does it Apply to a MySQL Server?

Web applications require that their data be stored securely in databases and managed using reliable techniques. To manage data properly, a Database Administrator (DBA) can organize, retrieve, store, change, and delete the data. Database management is the responsible management of sensitive data throughout its lifecycle from a computer.

There are different kinds of databases, but we’ll focus on relational databases and how it applies to MySQL. Managing a database requires someone who can design, support, and implement changes to the data. Database management requires the use of languages better known as query languages. These languages have different classes and help developers do different things. Database languages can be separated into four categories:

1. Data Definition Languages

A language used to define, alter, and create data.

2. Data Control Languages 

A language that is useful for controlling data access while it’s stored.

3. Data Manipulation Language

A language that lets users view and change the data as needed.

4. Transaction Control Language

A language that allows data management personnel to manage any transactions, or a set of commands, to accomplish a task.

MySQL uses these variations of database languages in a server so information can be viewed and changed as needed by server personnel.

What is MySQL, and What is a MySQL Database?

Online applications are constantly evolving, but the concept of databases remains the same. Apps need databases to store and organize information so they can be used for business needs. Structured Query Language or SQL is one of the longest-running languages for working with Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs).

While there are many reasons MySQL is common in RDBMSs, here are the most relevant ones:

  • MySQL is open source, so anyone can use it.
  • Because MySQL is open source, it’s customizable and works well with other operating systems.
  • It supports massive databases.

A MySQL database is a collection of data tables that store detailed information in a structured fashion. A MySQL database is used in online applications because of its reliability, speed, and customization options.

What is the Significance of a Query in MySQL?

For managing data within RDBMSs, a method is essential, and this is where queries prove valuable. RDBMSs are structured to allow commands that fetch, modify, or remove data. In the absence of queries, applications would be unable to access the required data for websites on the internet. Failing to obtain this data would render web applications inoperative.

What is SQL Used for in Business?

Many businesses that handle consumer data likely use SQL, such as Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe, and Amazon. Since MySQL is open source and customizable, it works with most other programs. So, why is SQL so well integrated into today’s technology? It was developed in 1970 by IBM and has been a pillar of programming technology since the beginning of modern computers.

With MySQL databases, businesses use simple commands to create new data tables, modify existing ones, or delete data that’s no longer needed. Marketing companies can use SQL to manage massive data sets that would be impossible to work with manually.

Marketing has become data-driven. If a company is putting out a new promotion, they want to target customers. To use data, marketing professionals must query the data to understand the information. Using various commands, marketers can query data related to their needs and use it effectively for their promotions.

Where Are All the Records Stored in a MySQL Database?

A MySQL database stores data in related tables. As the data storage needs of a business grow, likely due to the company growing larger, databases may need to be changed. These changes make it easy for companies to manage their data properly and make sensible, data-driven decisions.

Still, companies need to regularly query their data in daily operations. Let’s jump to the quick tutorial to get a better understanding of the process.

How to Query in MySQL: A Quick Guide

Queries are the way to access databases in MySQL. With MySQL, businesses can read the data and run any complex operations. If you think back to the types of data languages, commands can define, control, and change data.

Knowing what commands to use requires knowing the purpose of your query.

Step 1: Connect to Your MySQL Database

To start querying your MySQL database, you’ll need to connect to it. Let’s say you’re using Windows. To connect, you need to find the Command Line program. Once you’re there, go to the bin folder under your root directory and issue the below command.

C: \> mysql -u root -p

Step 2: Enter Password

The client will ask for the password, which you should have received while installing MySQL. Enter the password as follows.

C: \> mysql -u root -p
                          	  Enter password:
                          	  mysql>

Step 3: Create a New Database

Once logged into your MySQL server, you can create databases, modify them, insert information, and more. Let’s create a new database on your server. Start by issuing the following command.

mysql> CREATE DATABASE `animals`;

Step 4: Select the Database and Add Information

Now, select the database and add information to it. To select the database, use the below command.

mysql> USE `animals`;

Step 5: Create a Table

From here, let’s create a table. Issue the below query.

mysql> CREATE TABLE `animal types` (
     mysql> `name` varchar(40),
     mysql> `food_diet` real,
     mysql> `predator_or_prey` real,
     mysql> );

Step 6: Add Sample Data

Then you can add sample data. To insert the data, use this command.

mysql> INSERT INTO `animal types` (`name`, `food_diet`, `predator_or_prey`);

From here you would enter the values as your animal’s information until you’ve entered all your data.

For example, replace ‘name’ with the name of your animal. Replace ‘food_diet’ with the food diet your animal eats. Replace ‘predator or prey’ with either predator or prey as the value.

mysql> VALUES (`name,` `food_diet,` `predator or prey`);

When querying data, users will use the mysql> SELECT FROM statement to get data from a single table. Advanced users can also use complex SELECT statements to get data from multiple tables.

What Are Some Common Functions of a Select Query in MySQL?

MySQL databases use SQL statements that determine how the data needs to be managed. When querying data from tables, the statements you use determine what the database sends back to you.

Commonly Used MySQL Queries

The SELECT command pulls information from the database. SQL queries typically follow the formatting below.

SELECT (column_to_select) FROM (table_to_select) WHERE (certain_conditions) _apply;

When using queries, there are ways to get information out of the tables using different statements.

Group Data

Another query uses the GROUP BY statement. The GROUP BY statement is useful for performing aggregate functions, which are calculations made by SQL when interpreting the data. In this case, you would issue a query like the one below.

mysql> SELECT COUNT(name), food diet FROM animals GROUP BY food_diet;

The result would show how many animals there are in your dataset that are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores.

Insert Data

Users can insert data into a table using a generic command.

INSERT INTO table_name ( field1, field2,...fieldN ) VALUES ( value1, value2,...valueN );

Update Data

There may be times when data needs to be modified. Users can modify the data using the UPDATE command. Use a generic command such as the one below.

UPDATE table_name SET field1 = new-value1, field2 = new-value2 [WHERE] condition;

It’s that simple. As an example, condition would be food_diet-‘Carnivore’.

Delete Data

Sometimes data is no longer necessary, so users will take care of it by using the DELETE statement.

DELETE FROM table_name [WHERE] condition;

And you’re finished! As an example, condition would be food_diet-‘Carnivore’.

As you can see, no matter your query, SQL follows a similar formula.

What Are the Advantages of MySQL Databases?

As you use MySQL, you’ll learn that it’s an intuitive system with many advantages. Businesses use MySQL to create fast and high-performing databases, which improve operations. MySQL databases are also low cost compared to other alternatives and can be scaled quickly. They are also cross-platform compatible; therefore, regardless of which systems you’re using, they should work well together.

Final Thoughts

Overall, SQL is a stable database language that continues to grow in popularity. It serves as the foundation for performing daily tasks to manage your server. Using MySQL queries, businesses can manage customer data securely, provided they implement proper security measures. At Liquid Web, we acknowledge the importance of MySQL in Internet applications and assist businesses in making informed decisions.

Our services include dedicated servers with standard features, such as root access and advanced security options. We offer flexible pricing for SaaS, resellers, and companies with multiple applications. We offer customized solutions to match your project and help you meet your goals faster. If your business needs a partner with a customer-first mentality, contact us today.

Avatar for Ronald Caldwell

About the Author: Ronald Caldwell

Ron is a Technical Writer at Liquid Web working with the Marketing team. He has 9+ years of experience in Technology. He obtained an Associate of Science in Computer Science from Prairie State College in 2015. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart and lives in Michigan with her and their children.

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