Install and configure MySQL 5 with MacPorts

Filed under

7/18/09 - Having trouble starting MySQL on system startup? Rob Wilkerson shows how he gets around the issue.

4/2/08 - UPDATED - Replaced symlink to MySQL socket with proper MySQL configuration file settings. Thanks Doug!

10/20/07 - UPDATED - Added full path to aliases, thanks Joel!

10/7/07 - UPDATED - Clarified +server option and executable names, thanks Thom!

I decided to move my MySQL server installation from the server I installed from to macports. Why? I believe MacPorts will simplify future upgrades. I'd also like to keep my LAMP installs in the same location. If you haven't already, install and configure MacPorts. Here are the steps I'll go over:

  • Intall MySQL 5
  • Create the initial MySQL databases
  • Options for starting MySQL
  • Confirm that MySQL is running
  • Set Basic MySQL Security

Install MySQL 5

You can install using Porticus, Port Authority, or from the command line:

sudo port install mysql5 +server

The +server variant is required if you'll need to create a system startup item for MySQL 5. You'll see plenty of output during the build process and an activation message just before the installation completes.

Create initial MySQL databases

MySQL databases are kept in /opt/local/var/db/mysql5/ and you'll notice that this directory is empty. Run mysql_install_db to create the mysql and test databases.

sudo /opt/local/lib/mysql5/bin/mysql_install_db --user=mysql

You should see output similar to the following:

Installing MySQL system tables...
070925 20:32:07 [Warning] Setting lower_case_table_names=2 because file system for /opt/local/var/db/mysql5/ is case insensitive OK
Filling help tables...
070925 20:32:11 [Warning] Setting lower_case_table_names=2 because file system for /opt/local/var/db/mysql5/ is case insensitive OK  To start mysqld at boot time you have to copy support-files/mysql.server to the right place for your system
PLEASE REMEMBER TO SET A PASSWORD FOR THE MySQL root USER ! To do so, start the server, then issue the following commands:
/opt/local/lib/mysql5/bin/mysqladmin -u root password 'new-password'
/opt/local/lib/mysql5/bin/mysqladmin -u root -h homebase.local password 'new-password'
See the manual for more instructions. You can start the MySQL daemon with:
cd /opt/local ; /opt/local/lib/mysql5/bin/mysqld_safe &
You can test the MySQL daemon with 
cd mysql-test ; perl  
Please report any problems with the /opt/local/lib/mysql5/bin/mysqlbug script!
The latest information about MySQL is available on the web at Support MySQL by buying support/licenses at

Options for starting MySQL

I personally don't want MySQL to start at system start up, I'll start it manually when I need it. If you're energy conscious and set your Mac to go to sleep you won't want to set mysqld to start at system boot either. If, however, you need MySQL to always start at system boot

sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.mysql5.plist

Whether you install the startup item or not, it's handy to add aliases to your profile to start and stop mysql from the command line. Use your favorite text editor (vi, pico, emacs) to add aliases.

vi ~/.profile


vi ~/.bash_profile

Add the following:

alias mysqlstart='sudo /opt/local/bin/mysqld_safe5 &'
alias mysqlstop='/opt/local/bin/mysqladmin5 -u root -p shutdown'

Note: Notice the '5' at the end of mysqld_safe? MacPorts adds version numbers at the end of executables to allow the installation of multiple versions (i.e. MySQL 4 and 5). You'll need to add the version number at the end of some of the executables you use, like mysqladmin5. Now you're ready to start your MySQL server with:


or, if you didn't create aliases

sudo /opt/local/share/mysql5/mysql/mysql.server start

Confirm that MySQL is running

If MySQL's okay, you should see a server start confirmation message. You can test to ensure that MySQL is running with (leave password empty when prompted):

mysqladmin5 -u root -p ping 
Enter password: 
mysqld is alive

or with

mysql5 -u root -p
Enter password: 
Welcome to the MySQL monitor. 
Commands end with ; or \g. Your MySQL connection id is 2 to server version: 5.0.45  Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

If you get the following error...

ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/tmp/mysql.sock' (2)

...set the mysqld_safe socket path in a new MySQL configuration file. Create /opt/local/etc/mysql5/my.cnf, add the following to it, save, the try again.

[mysqld_safe] socket = /tmp/mysql.sock

NOTE: If you've installed MacPort's PHP 5 you will probably need to tell PHP where the MySQL socket is. Edit your php.ini file located at /opt/local/etc/php.ini.

mysql.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock

Set Basic MySQL Security

Finally, set the root mysql password to secure your server.

mysqladmin5 -u root password

Moving MySQL data from other installations

If, like me, you want to move data from a previous MySQL 5 install (i.e. /usr/local/mysql/data), be sure to stop MySQL first. You'll want to overwrite the mysql database you created after installation when copying over data files and indices. Ensure that everything copied to /opt/local/var/db/mysql5/ remains owned by mysql. Refer to the MySQL documentation if you're upgrading from MySQL 4 to 5.

Now get busy querying.