phpMyAdmin does not apply any special security methods to the MySQL database server. It is still the system administrator’s job to grant permissions on the MySQL databases properly. phpMyAdmin’s Users page can be used for this.


Mac users should note that if you are on a version before Mac OS X, StuffIt unstuffs with Mac formats. So you’ll have to resave as in BBEdit to Unix style ALL phpMyAdmin scripts before uploading them to your server, as PHP seems not to like Mac-style end of lines character (“\r”).

Quick Install

  1. Choose an appropriate distribution kit from the Downloads page. Some kits contain only the English messages, others contain all languages. We’ll assume you chose a kit whose name looks like phpMyAdmin-x.x.x -all-languages.tar.gz.
  2. Untar or unzip the distribution (be sure to unzip the subdirectories): tar -xzvf phpMyAdmin_x.x.x-all-languages.tar.gz in your webserver’s document root. If you don’t have direct access to your document root, put the files in a directory on your local machine, and, after step 4, transfer the directory on your web server using, for example, ftp.
  3. Ensure that all the scripts have the appropriate owner (if PHP is running in safe mode, having some scripts with an owner different from the owner of other scripts will be a problem). See 4.2 What’s the preferred way of making phpMyAdmin secure against evil access? and 1.26 I just installed phpMyAdmin in my document root of IIS but I get the error “No input file specified” when trying to run phpMyAdmin. for suggestions.
  4. Now you must configure your installation. There are two methods that can be used. Traditionally, users have hand-edited a copy of, but now a wizard-style setup script is provided for those who prefer a graphical installation. Creating a is still a quick way to get started and needed for some advanced features.

Manually creating the file

To manually create the file, simply use your text editor to create the file (you can copy to get minimal configuration file) in the main (top-level) phpMyAdmin directory (the one that contains index.php). phpMyAdmin first loads libraries/config.default.php and then overrides those values with anything found in If the default value is okay for a particular setting, there is no need to include it in You’ll need a few directives to get going, a simple configuration may look like this:

// use here a value of your choice at least 32 chars long
$cfg['blowfish_secret'] = '1{dd0`<Q),5XP_:R9UK%%8\"EEcyH#{o';

$cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type']     = 'cookie';

Or, if you prefer to not be prompted every time you log in:


$cfg['Servers'][$i]['user']          = 'root';
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['password']      = 'cbb74bc'; // use here your password
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type']     = 'config';

For a full explanation of possible configuration values, see the Configuration of this document.

Using Setup script

Instead of manually editing, you can use phpMyAdmin’s setup feature. The file can be generated using the setup and you can download it for upload to the server.

Next, open your browser and visit the location where you installed phpMyAdmin, with the /setup suffix. The changes are not saved to the server, you need to use the Download button to save them to your computer and then upload to the server.

Now the file is ready to be used. You can choose to review or edit the file with your favorite editor, if you prefer to set some advanced options which the setup script does not provide.

  1. If you are using the auth_type “config”, it is suggested that you protect the phpMyAdmin installation directory because using config does not require a user to enter a password to access the phpMyAdmin installation. Use of an alternate authentication method is recommended, for example with HTTP–AUTH in a .htaccess file or switch to using auth_type cookie or http. See the ISPs, multi-user installations for additional information, especially 4.4 phpMyAdmin always gives “Access denied” when using HTTP authentication..
  2. Open the main phpMyAdmin directory in your browser. phpMyAdmin should now display a welcome screen and your databases, or a login dialog if using HTTP or cookie authentication mode.
  3. You should deny access to the ./libraries and ./setup/lib subfolders in your webserver configuration. For Apache you can use supplied .htaccess file in that folder, for other webservers, you should configure this yourself. Such configuration prevents from possible path exposure and cross side scripting vulnerabilities that might happen to be found in that code.
  4. It is generally good idea to protect public phpMyAdmin installation against access by robots as they usually can not do anything good there. You can do this using robots.txt file in root of your webserver or limit access by web server configuration, see 1.42 How can I prevent robots from accessing phpMyAdmin?.

phpMyAdmin configuration storage

For a whole set of new features (bookmarks, comments, SQL-history, tracking mechanism, PDF-generation, column contents transformation, etc.) you need to create a set of special tables. Those tables can be located in your own database, or in a central database for a multi-user installation (this database would then be accessed by the controluser, so no other user should have rights to it).

Please look at your ./examples/ directory, where you should find a file called create_tables.sql. (If you are using a Windows server, pay special attention to 1.23 I’m running MySQL on a Win32 machine. Each time I create a new table the table and column names are changed to lowercase!).

If you already had this infrastructure and upgraded to MySQL 4.1.2 or newer, please use examples/upgrade_tables_mysql_4_1_2+.sql and then create new tables by importing examples/create_tables.sql.

You can use your phpMyAdmin to create the tables for you. Please be aware that you may need special (administrator) privileges to create the database and tables, and that the script may need some tuning, depending on the database name.

After having imported the examples/create_tables.sql file, you should specify the table names in your file. The directives used for that can be found in the Configuration. You will also need to have a controluser with the proper rights to those tables (see section Using authentication modes below).

Upgrading from an older version

Simply copy from your previous installation into the newly unpacked one. Configuration files from old versions may require some tweaking as some options have been changed or removed. For compatibility with PHP 6, remove a set_magic_quotes_runtime(0); statement that you might find near the end of your configuration file.

You should not copy libraries/config.default.php over because the default configuration file is version- specific.

If you have upgraded your MySQL server from a version previous to 4.1.2 to version 5.x or newer and if you use the phpMyAdmin configuration storage, you should run the SQL script found in examples/upgrade_tables_mysql_4_1_2+.sql.

Using authentication modes

HTTP and cookie authentication modes are recommended in a multi-user environment where you want to give users access to their own database and don’t want them to play around with others. Nevertheless be aware that MS Internet Explorer seems to be really buggy about cookies, at least till version 6. Even in a single-user environment, you might prefer to use HTTP or cookie mode so that your user/password pair are not in clear in the configuration file.

HTTP and cookie authentication modes are more secure: the MySQL login information does not need to be set in the phpMyAdmin configuration file (except possibly for the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controluser']). However, keep in mind that the password travels in plain text, unless you are using the HTTPS protocol. In cookie mode, the password is stored, encrypted with the blowfish algorithm, in a temporary cookie.

For ‘HTTP‘ and ‘cookie’ modes, phpMyAdmin needs a controluser that has only the SELECT privilege on the `mysql`.`user` (all columns except `Password`), `mysql`.`db` (all columns), `mysql`.`host` (all columns) and `mysql`.`tables_priv` (all columns except `Grantor` and `Timestamp`) tables. You must specify the details for the controluser in the file under the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controluser'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controlpass'] settings. The following example assumes you want to use pma as the controluser and pmapass as the controlpass, but this is only an example: use something else in your file! Input these statements from the phpMyAdmin SQL Query window or mysql command–line client. Of course you have to replace localhost with the webserver’s host if it’s not the same as the MySQL server’s one.

If you want to use the many new relation and bookmark features: (this of course requires that your phpMyAdmin configuration storage be set up).

GRANT USAGE ON mysql.* TO 'pma'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'pmapass';
Host, User, Select_priv, Insert_priv, Update_priv, Delete_priv,
Create_priv, Drop_priv, Reload_priv, Shutdown_priv, Process_priv,
File_priv, Grant_priv, References_priv, Index_priv, Alter_priv,
Show_db_priv, Super_priv, Create_tmp_table_priv, Lock_tables_priv,
Execute_priv, Repl_slave_priv, Repl_client_priv
) ON mysql.user TO 'pma'@'localhost';
GRANT SELECT ON mysql.db TO 'pma'@'localhost';
GRANT SELECT ON TO 'pma'@'localhost';
GRANT SELECT (Host, Db, User, Table_name, Table_priv, Column_priv)
ON mysql.tables_priv TO 'pma'@'localhost';

If you want to use the many new relation and bookmark features:

GRANT SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE ON <pma_db>.* TO 'pma'@'localhost';

(this of course requires that your phpMyAdmin configuration storage be set up).

Then each of the true users should be granted a set of privileges on a set of particular databases. Normally you shouldn’t give global privileges to an ordinary user, unless you understand the impact of those privileges (for example, you are creating a superuser). For example, to grant the user real_user with all privileges on the database user_base:

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON user_base.* TO 'real_user'@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'real_password';

What the user may now do is controlled entirely by the MySQL user management system. With HTTP or cookie authentication mode, you don’t need to fill the user/password fields inside the $cfg['Servers'].

HTTP authentication mode

Signon authentication mode

  • This mode is a convenient way of using credentials from another application to authenticate to phpMyAdmin.
  • The other application has to store login information into session data.

Config authentication mode

  • This mode is the less secure one because it requires you to fill the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['user'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] fields (and as a result, anyone who can read your can discover your username and password). But you don’t need to setup a “controluser” here: using the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['only_db'] might be enough.
  • In the ISPs, multi-user installations section, there is an entry explaining how to protect your configuration file.
  • For additional security in this mode, you may wish to consider the Host authentication $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowDeny']['order'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowDeny']['rules'] configuration directives.
  • Unlike cookie and http, does not require a user to log in when first loading the phpMyAdmin site. This is by design but could allow any user to access your installation. Use of some restriction method is suggested, perhaps a .htaccess file with the HTTP-AUTH directive or disallowing incoming HTTP requests at one’s router or firewall will suffice (both of which are beyond the scope of this manual but easily searchable with Google).

Securing your phpMyAdmin installation

The phpMyAdmin team tries hardly to make the application secure, however there are always ways to make your installation more secure:

  • remove setup directory from phpMyAdmin, you will probably not use it after initial setup
  • prevent access to libraries directory from browser, as it is not needed, supplied .htaccess file does this
  • properly choose authentication method - Cookie authentication mode is probably the best choice for shared hosting
  • in case you don’t want all MySQL users to be able to access phpMyAdmin, you can use $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowDeny']['rules'] to limit them
  • consider hiding phpMyAdmin behind authentication proxy, so that MySQL credentials are not all users need to login