How to Use MySQL Database in Python

Learn how to connect to a MySQL database, create tables, insert and fetch data in Python using MySQL connector.
  · 7 min read · Updated jul 2020 · Database

MySQL is one of the most popular open source relational database management systems (RDBMS) out there, it is developed, distributed and supported by Oracle Corporation now.

In this tutorial, you will use MySQL connector Python library to:

RelatedHow to Use MongoDB Database in Python.

To get started, first you need to have a MySQL server instance running in your machine, if you're on Windows, I suggest you get XAMPP installed. If you're on a Linux machine, run the following commands and you're good to go:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install mysql-server

Run through this tutorial to get MySQL installed in macOS.

Second, let's install MySQL connector Python library as well as tabulate module:

pip3 install mysql-connector-python tabulate

We'll be using tabulate module optionally to output fetched data in a similar way to regular MySQL clients.

Connect to MySQL Database

Let's import MySQL connector and connect to our database:

import mysql.connector as mysql
from tabulate import tabulate

# insert MySQL Database information here
HOST = "localhost"
USER = "root"

# connect to the database
db_connection = mysql.connect(host=HOST, database=DATABASE, user=USER, password=PASSWORD)
# get server information

We've used mysql.connector.connect() method to connect to a database, it accepts 4 arguments:

  • host: I specified "localhost" as host, which means we're connecting to our local MySQL server (installed on our machine). However, If you want to connect to a remote MySQL server, you need to do some configurations, check this tutorial in which I show you how to set up your MySQL server to accept remote connections.
  • database: This is the name of the database you want to connect, setting database to an empty string will only connect to MySQL, not to an actual database, so we'll handle creating our database manually.
  • user: root is the default user in MySQL, you can of course use another one.
  • password: This is the password of the user, by default it's empty string for the root user (of course, that's just for developement).

After that, we called get_server_info() method to print server information, here is the output so far:


If you got your server information, then everything went fine.

Let's see which database we're in:

# get the db cursor
cursor = db_connection.cursor()
# get database information
cursor.execute("select database();")
database_name = cursor.fetchone()
print("[+] You are connected to the database:", database_name)

Notice before we execute any MySQL command, we need to create a cursor. A cursor is a temporary work area created in MySQL server instance when a SQL statement is executed.

Here is my output:

[+] You are connected to the database: (None,)

Of course, we're not connected to any database, before we do that, let's create one first.

Create a Database

Since we're not in any database, we need to create one:

# create a new database called library
cursor.execute("create database if not exists library")

It is as simple as executing a regular MySQL command, we're using "if not exists" so if you run the code one more time, you won't get any "Database exists" error. Let's work on this database now:

# use that database 
cursor.execute("use library")
print("[+] Changed to `library` database")

Create a Table

To create a table, all we need to do is pass the proper SQL command to cursor.execute() method:

# create a table
cursor.execute("""create table if not exists book (
    `id` integer primary key auto_increment not null,
    `name` varchar(255) not null,
    `author` varchar(255) not null,
    `price` float not null,
    `url` varchar(255)
print("[+] Table `book` created")

We have just create book table that has 5 columns, just for demonstration, notice I used triple-double quotes to allow us to jump to new lines easily.

Insert Data into a Table

To insert data to a table, we need a data source, you may want to insert scraped data into the database, or some data in a local file, whatever the source might be, for this tutorial, we'll insert from a regular Python dictionary, just for convenience:

# insert some books
books = [
        "name": "Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners",
        "author": "Al Sweigart",
        "price": 17.76,
        "url": ""
        "name": "Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming",
        "author": "Eric Matthes",
        "price": 22.97,
        "url": ""
        "name": "MySQL for Python",
        "author": "Albert Lukaszewski",
        "price": 49.99,
# iterate over books list
for book in books:
    id = book.get("id")
    name = book.get("name")
    author = book.get("author")
    price = book.get("price")
    url = book.get("url")
    # insert each book as a row in MySQL
    cursor.execute("""insert into book (id, name, author, price, url) values (
        %s, %s, %s, %s, %s
    """, params=(id, name, author, price, url))
    print(f"[+] Inserted the book: {name}")

So we have inserted a couple of books here, notice we used "%s" to replace the actual data fields passed in params parameter, this is due to many reasons including SQL injection prevention and performance.

Here is my output:

[+] Inserted the book: Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners
[+] Inserted the book: Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming
[+] Inserted the book: MySQL for Python

If you go now to your MySQL client, whether it's PhpMyAdmin or in the command line, you won't find these new inserted books, that's because we need to commit:

# commit insertion

The main reason of using commit is to end the current transaction (in this case, inserting 3 books) and make all changes permanent in the transaction.

The opposite of commit is rollback, it basically means canceling all modifications made by the current transaction (in this case, not inserting 3 books), you can use db_connection.rollback() for that if you want.

For more information about transactions, check the MySQL's documentation about that.

Fetch Data from a Table

Now let's get the data we just inserted from the actual database:

# fetch the database
cursor.execute("select * from book")
# get all selected rows
rows = cursor.fetchall()
# print all rows in a tabular format
print(tabulate(rows, headers=cursor.column_names))

We executed the select command and grabbed all the rows using cursor.fetchall() method, if you want to fetch only the first, you can use fetchone() method as well.

Then we print all returned rows in a tabular format with the help of tabulate module, check my output:

  id  name                                                                              author                price  url
----  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------------  -------  -----------------------
   1  Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners  Al Sweigart           17.76
   2  Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming        Eric Matthes          22.97
   3  MySQL for Python                                                                  Albert Lukaszewski    49.99

Finally, let's close the connection:

# close the cursor
# close the DB connection


There you have it, MySQL connector library makes it convenient for Python developers to execute SQL commands, you can follow the same procedure on other commands such as UPDATE and DELETE.

Check the full code for this tutorial.

Suggested Courses

Finally, many of database concepts aren't discussed in detail here, if you feel you want to dig more to databases with Python, I highly suggest you get these courses:

Learn also: How to Convert HTML Tables into CSV Files in Python.

Happy Coding ♥

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