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How to reset a MySQL root password

Photo by Warren Sammut

Forgotten your MySQL root password? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.

In this tutorial we will show you how to reset a MySQL root password in case you have forgotten it. This guide should work with any modern Linux distribution such as Ubuntu 18.04 and CentOS 7.

Prerequisites

Before continuing with the steps below, make sure you are logged into your server as a user with sudo privileges.

Identify the Server Version

Depending on the MySQL or MariaDB server version you are running on your system, you will need to use different commands to recover the root password.

You can find your server version by issuing the following command:

mysql --version

If you have MySQL installed in your system the output will look something like this:

mysql  Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.7.22, for Linux (x86_64) using  EditLine wrapper

Or output like this for MariaDB:

mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.1.33-MariaDB, for debian-linux-gnu (x86_64) using readline 5.2

Be sure to make note of which version of MySQL or MariaDB you’re running.

How to Reset MySQL or MariaDB Root Password

Follow these steps to reset your MySQL/MariaDB root password:

1. Stop the MySQL/MariaDB service

To change the root password, first we need to stop the MySQL server. To do so type the following command:

sudo systemctl stop mysql

2. Start the MySQL/MariaDB server without loading the grant tables

When the --skip-grant-tables option is enabled anyone can to connect to the database server without a password and with all privileges.

To start the database server without loading the grant tables type:

sudo mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &

The ampersand & at the end of the command above will cause the program to run in the background, so we can continue to use the shell.

3. Log into the MySQL shell

Now you can connect to the database server as the root user, without being prompted the password:

mysql -u root

4. Set a new root password

  • Run the following commands if you have MySQL 5.7.6 and later or MariaDB 10.1.20 and later:

    ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'MY_NEW_PASSWORD';
    FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

    If ALTER USER statement doesn’t work for you, try to modify the user table directly:

    UPDATE mysql.user SET authentication_string = PASSWORD('MY_NEW_PASSWORD')
    WHERE User = 'root' AND Host = 'localhost';
    FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
  • Run the following commands if you have MySQL 5.7.5 and earlier or MariaDB 10.1.20 and earlier:

    SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('MY_NEW_PASSWORD');
    FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

In both cases if everything went well, you should see the following output:

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

5. Stop and Start the database server normally

Now that the root password is set, we’ll need to stop the database server and start it normally.

Stop the database server using the following command:

mysqladmin -u root -p shutdown

You will be prompted to enter the new root password:

Start the database server normally:

  • For MySQL, type:

    sudo systemctl start mysql
  • For MariaDB, type:

    sudo systemctl start mariadb

6. Verify the password

To verify that the new root password has been applied correctly type:

mysql -u root -p

You will be prompted to enter the new root password. Enter it, and you should be logged into your database server.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, you learned how to reset your MySQL or MariaDB root password. Make sure your new root password is strong and secure and keep it in a safe place.

If you want to learn how to manage your MySQL user accounts and databases you can now check this tutorial.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.