Compatibility with MySQL

TiDB supports the majority of the MySQL 5.7 syntax, including cross-row transactions, JOIN, subquery, and so on. You can connect to TiDB directly using your own MySQL client. If your existing business is developed based on MySQL, you can replace MySQL with TiDB to power your application without changing a single line of code in most cases.

TiDB is compatible with most of the MySQL database management & administration tools such as PHPMyAdmin, Navicat, MySQL Workbench, and so on. It also supports the database backup tools, such as mysqldump and mydumper/myloader.

However, in TiDB, the following MySQL features are not supported for the time being or are different:

Unsupported features

  • Stored procedures and functions
  • Views
  • Triggers
  • Events
  • User-defined functions
  • FOREIGN KEY constraints
  • FULLTEXT functions and indexes
  • SPATIAL functions and indexes
  • Character sets other than utf8
  • Collations other than BINARY
  • Add primary key
  • Drop primary key
  • SYS schema
  • Optimizer trace
  • XML Functions
  • X-Protocol
  • Savepoints
  • Column-level privileges
  • CREATE TABLE tblName AS SELECT stmt syntax
  • XA syntax (TiDB uses a two-phase commit internally, but this is not exposed via an SQL interface)

Features that are different from MySQL

Auto-increment ID

The auto-increment ID feature in TiDB is only guaranteed to be automatically incremental and unique but is not guaranteed to be allocated sequentially. Currently, TiDB is allocating IDs in batches. If data is inserted into multiple TiDB servers simultaneously, the allocated IDs are not sequential.


If you use the auto-increment ID in a cluster with multiple tidb-server instances, do not mix the default value and the custom value, otherwise an error occurs in the following situation:

Assume that you have a table with the auto-increment ID:

create table t(id int unique key AUTO_INCREMENT, c int);

The principle of the auto-increment ID in TiDB is that each tidb-server instance caches a section of ID values (currently 30000 IDs are cached) for allocation and fetches the next section after this section is used up.

Assume that the cluster contains two tidb-server instances, namely Instance A and Instance B. Instance A caches the auto-increment ID of [1, 30000], while Instance B caches the auto-increment ID of [30001, 60000].

The operations are executed as follows:

  1. The client issues the insert into t values (1, 1) statement to Instance B which sets the id to 1 and the statement is executed successfully.
  2. The client issues the insert into t (c) (1) statement to Instance A. This statement does not specify the value of id, so Instance A allocates the value. Currently, Instances A caches the auto-increment ID of [1, 30000], so it allocates the id value to 1 and adds 1 to the local counter. However, at this time the data with the id of 1 already exists in the cluster, therefore it reports Duplicated Error.

Performance schema

Performance schema tables return empty results in TiDB. TiDB uses a combination of Prometheus and Grafana for performance metrics instead.

Built-in functions

TiDB supports most of the MySQL built-in functions, but not all. See TiDB SQL Grammar for the supported functions.


TiDB implements the asynchronous schema changes algorithm in F1. The Data Manipulation Language (DML) operations cannot be blocked during DDL the execution. Currently, the supported DDL includes:

  • Create Database

  • Drop Database

  • Create Table

  • Drop Table

  • Add Index: Does not support creating multiple indexes at the same time.

  • Drop Index

  • Add Column:

    • Does not support creating multiple columns at the same time.
    • Does not support setting a column as the primary key, or creating a unique index, or specifying AUTO_INCREMENT while adding it.
  • Drop Column: Does not support dropping the primary key column or index column.

  • Alter Column

  • Change/Modify Column

    • Supports changing/modifying the types among the following integer types: TinyInt, SmallInt, MediumInt, Int, BigInt.

    • Supports changing/modifying the types among the following string types: Char, Varchar, Text, TinyText, MediumText, LongText

    • Support changing/modifying the types among the following string types: Blob, TinyBlob, MediumBlob, LongBlob.


      The changing/modifying column operation cannot make the length of the original type become shorter and it cannot change the unsigned/charset/collate attributes of the column.

    • Supports changing the following type definitions: default value, comment, null, not null and OnUpdate.

    • Supports parsing the LOCK [=] {DEFAULT|NONE|SHARED|EXCLUSIVE} syntax, but there is no actual operation.

  • Truncate Table

  • Rename Table

  • Create Table Like

Transaction model

TiDB implements an optimistic transaction model. Unlike MySQL, which uses row-level locking to avoid write conflict, in TiDB, the write conflict is checked only in the commit process during the execution of the statements like Update, Insert, Delete, and so on.

Similarly, functions such as GET_LOCK() and RELEASE_LOCK() and statements such as SELECT .. FOR UPDATE do not work in the same way as in MySQL.


On the business side, remember to check the returned results of commit because even there is no error in the execution, there might be errors in the commit process.

Large transactions

Due to the distributed, 2-phase commit requirement of TiDB, large transactions that modify data can be particularly problematic. TiDB intentionally sets some limits on transaction sizes to reduce this impact:

  • Each Key-Value entry is no more than 6MB
  • The total number of Key-Value entries is no more than 300,000
  • The total size of Key-Value entries is no more than 100MB

Small transactions

Since each transaction in TiDB requires two round trips to the PD leader, small transactions may have higher latencies in TiDB than MySQL. As a hypothetical example, the following query could be improved by moving from autocommit to using an explicit transaction:

# original version with autocommit
UPDATE my_table SET a='new_value' WHERE id = 1;
UPDATE my_table SET a='newer_value' WHERE id = 2;
UPDATE my_table SET a='newest_value' WHERE id = 3;

# improved version
UPDATE my_table SET a='new_value' WHERE id = 1;
UPDATE my_table SET a='newer_value' WHERE id = 2;
UPDATE my_table SET a='newest_value' WHERE id = 3;

Single-threaded workloads

Due to its distributed nature, workloads that are single-threaded may perform worse in TiDB when compared to a single-instance deployment of MySQL. This difference is similar to the case of small transactions being potentially slower in TiDB.

Load data

  • Syntax:

    LOAD DATA LOCAL INFILE 'file_name' INTO TABLE table_name
        LINES STARTING BY 'string' TERMINATED BY 'string'
        IGNORE n LINES
        (col_name ...);

    Currently, the supported ESCAPED BY characters are: /\/\.

  • Transaction

    When TiDB is in the execution of loading data, by default, a record with 20,000 rows of data is seen as a transaction for persistent storage. If a load data operation inserts more than 20,000 rows, it will be divided into multiple transactions to commit. If an error occurs in one transaction, this transaction in process will not be committed. However, transactions before that are committed successfully. In this case, a part of the load data operation is successfully inserted, and the rest of the data insertion fails. But MySQL treats a load data operation as a transaction, one error leads to the failure of the entire load data operation.

Storage engines

For compatibility reasons, TiDB supports the syntax to create tables with alternative storage engines. Metadata commands describe tables as being of engine InnoDB:

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.14 sec)

*************************** 1. row ***************************
       Table: t1
Create Table: CREATE TABLE `t1` (
  `a` int(11) DEFAULT NULL
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Architecturally, TiDB does support a similar storage engine abstraction to MySQL, and user tables are created in the engine specified by the --store option used when you start tidb-server (typically tikv).

SQL Modes

TiDB supports all of the SQL modes from MySQL 5.7 with minor exceptions:

  1. The ALLOW_INVALID_DATES mode is not yet supported. See TiDB #8263.
  2. The compatibility modes deprecated in MySQL 5.7 and removed in MySQL 8.0 are not supported (such as ORACLE, POSTGRESQL etc).
  3. The mode ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY has minor semantic differences to MySQL 5.7, which we plan to address in the future.
  4. The SQL modes NO_DIR_IN_CREATE and NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION are supported for compatibility, but are not applicable to TiDB.


The output of the query execution plan returned from the EXPLAIN command differs from MySQL. For more information, see Understand the Query Execution Plan.

Default differences

  • Default character set:
    • The default value in TiDB is utf8 which is equivalent to utf8mb4 in MySQL.
    • The default value in MySQL 5.7 is latin1, but changes to utf8mb4 in MySQL 8.0.
  • Default collation: latin1_swedish_ci in MySQL 5.7, while binary in TiDB.
  • Default SQL mode:
  • Default value of lower_case_table_names:
    • The default value in TiDB is 2 and currently TiDB only supports 2.
    • The default value in MySQL:
      • On Linux: 0
      • On Windows: 1
      • On macOS: 2
  • Default value of explicit_defaults_for_timestamp:
    • The default value in TiDB is ON and currently TiDB only supports ON.
    • The default value in MySQL:
      • For MySQL 5.7: OFF
      • For MySQL 8.0: ON