How To Show List All Databases on MySQL

Show List All Databases on MySQL

MySQL is one of the most widely used relational database management systems (RDBMS) in the world, powering countless websites and applications. As a database administrator or developer, one of the essential tasks you’ll encounter is listing all the databases present on your MySQL server. This seemingly simple task is crucial for effective database management, allowing you to quickly overview your databases and perform necessary operations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various methods to show and list all databases on your MySQL server, catering to both beginners and advanced users.


Before we dive into the different ways to list databases on MySQL, let’s ensure you have the necessary prerequisites in place. First and foremost, you’ll need a MySQL server installed on your system. Whether you’re running MySQL on Linux, Windows, or macOS, having a properly configured MySQL server is essential. Additionally, you should have a user account with the necessary privileges to list databases. Most of the methods we’ll cover require either the SELECT privilege on the MySQL database or the SHOW DATABASES privilege. Lastly, you’ll need to connect to your MySQL server using the command line or a GUI tool, depending on your preference and the method you choose.


The most straightforward and commonly used method to list all databases on a MySQL server is the SHOW DATABASES command. This command retrieves a list of all the databases to which the current user has access. To use this command, simply connect to your MySQL server using the command line client and execute the following:


Upon executing this command, MySQL will display a list of all the databases present on the server. For example, the output might look like this:

| Database |
| information_schema |
| mysql |
| performance_schema |
| sys |
| test_db |

If you want to filter the results based on a specific pattern, you can use the LIKE clause along with the wildcard (%) operator. For instance, to list all databases whose names start with “test,” you can use the following command:


This will display only the databases that match the specified pattern:

| Database |
| test_db |

It’s worth noting that the SHOW DATABASES command is synonymous with SHOW SCHEMAS, so you can use them interchangeably.

To use the SHOW DATABASES command, the user must have the SHOW DATABASES privilege or the global SELECT privilege. If the MySQL server was started with the --skip-show-database option, the SHOW DATABASES command will only display databases for which the user has the SELECT privilege, ensuring a higher level of security.


An alternative to the SHOW DATABASES command is querying the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SCHEMATA table directly using a SELECT statement. The INFORMATION_SCHEMA database is a virtual database that provides access to database metadata, including information about tables, columns, privileges, and more. The SCHEMATA table within the INFORMATION_SCHEMA database contains information about all the databases on the MySQL server.

To list all databases using this method, you can execute the following SQL query:


This query will retrieve the names of all the databases from the SCHEMA_NAME column of the SCHEMATA table. The output will be similar to the one obtained using the SHOW DATABASES command.

One advantage of using a SELECT query on the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SCHEMATA table is the flexibility it provides for filtering and sorting the results. You can use the WHERE clause to specify more complex conditions and retrieve specific databases based on various criteria. For example, to list all databases that have a name containing the word “test,” you can use the following query:


Additionally, you can join the SCHEMATA table with other tables in the INFORMATION_SCHEMA database to retrieve more detailed information about each database, such as character set, collation, and default encryption.

Using MySQL Command Line Client

Another way to list all databases on your MySQL server is by using the MySQL command line client. The mysql command allows you to interact with your MySQL server directly from the command line, executing queries and performing various database operations.

To list all databases using the mysql command, you can pass the SHOW DATABASES command as an argument when connecting to the server. Here’s an example:

mysql -u username -p -e "SHOW DATABASES;"

Replace “username” with your MySQL user name. The -p option prompts you to enter the password for the specified user. The -e option allows you to execute a command directly without entering the MySQL shell.

If you want to save the list of databases to a file, you can redirect the output of the mysql command to a file using the > operator:

mysql -u username -p -e "SHOW DATABASES;" > databases.txt

This command will execute the SHOW DATABASES command and save the output to a file named “databases.txt” in the current directory.

You can also use the mysql command in batch mode to execute multiple commands, including listing databases. Create a file with the desired MySQL commands, such as:


Save the file with a .sql extension (e.g., commands.sql) and execute it using the mysql command with the < operator:

mysql -u username -p < commands.sql

This will execute the commands in the specified file, displaying the list of databases and then exiting the MySQL shell.

The mysql command provides various options to customize your connection and output. Some useful options for listing databases include:

  • -h or --host: Specifies the hostname or IP address of the MySQL server.
  • -P or --port: Specifies the port number to use for the connection.
  • --protocol: Specifies the protocol to use for the connection (TCP, socket, pipe, memory).
  • --verbose or -v: Displays additional information about the executed commands.

It’s worth noting that the mysql command is different from the mysqladmin command, which is used for administrative tasks like creating and dropping databases, monitoring server status, and more.

Listing Databases with GUI Tools

For those who prefer a graphical user interface (GUI) to interact with their MySQL server, several popular MySQL GUI tools are available. These tools provide a user-friendly interface for managing databases, tables, and queries, making it easier for beginners and visual learners to work with MySQL.

Some widely used MySQL GUI tools include:

  • MySQL Workbench: The official GUI tool developed by Oracle, offering a comprehensive set of features for database design, development, and administration.
  • phpMyAdmin: A web-based MySQL administration tool that allows you to manage your databases through a browser interface.
  • Adminer: A lightweight, single-file PHP-based tool for managing MySQL and other databases, providing an intuitive interface for common database tasks.

To list databases using a GUI tool, you first need to connect to your MySQL server by providing the necessary connection details, such as the hostname, port number, user name, and password. Once connected, you can typically find the list of databases in a sidebar or a dedicated “Databases” section within the tool’s interface.

GUI tools offer several advantages, especially for beginners. They provide a visual representation of your databases and tables, making it easier to navigate and manage them. You can create new databases, drop existing ones, and perform various operations with just a few clicks. Additionally, GUI tools often include features like syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and visual query builders, enhancing productivity and reducing the chances of syntax errors.

When choosing a MySQL GUI tool, consider factors like ease of use, feature set, cross-platform compatibility, and community support. Some tools may have a steeper learning curve but offer more advanced features, while others prioritize simplicity and beginner-friendliness.


In this article, we explored various methods to show and list all databases on a MySQL server. From the simple SHOW DATABASES command to querying the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SCHEMATA table, using the MySQL command line client, leveraging GUI tools, and programmatically listing databases, each method has its own advantages and use cases.

As a database administrator or developer, being proficient in these techniques is crucial for effective database management. Whether you prefer the command line interface’s flexibility or the visual appeal of GUI tools, understanding how to list databases is a fundamental skill in your MySQL toolkit.

Remember to choose the method that best suits your needs and level of expertise. If you’re a beginner, starting with the SHOW DATABASES command or a user-friendly GUI tool might be the most comfortable approach. As you gain more experience, you can explore the power of the INFORMATION_SCHEMA database and programmatic database listing to automate tasks and integrate database operations into your applications.

To further enhance your MySQL skills, consider exploring other essential database management techniques, such as creating and dropping databases, managing user privileges, backing up and restoring databases, and optimizing query performance. The MySQL official documentation is an excellent resource for in-depth information and advanced concepts.

By mastering the art of listing databases and other database management tasks, you’ll be well-equipped to handle the challenges of working with MySQL and ensure the smooth operation of your databases. Happy database management!


r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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