MySQL on Arch Linux

17 February, 2021 database 3 Mins

Yesterday, I was installing LAMP stack on my local machine to get some work done. For some weird reasons, I thought I would be able to access the database as the root user through a non-root process. Here are some notes about that just in case I encounter such issues again in future.


First thing first, we need mysql binary to be able to create and manipulate databases. Let me get that from Arch Package Repository.

# I am on Arch. So, my package manager is `pacman`.
# if you are running Debian(or similar), use `apt`
# instead.
$ sudo pacman -Syu mariadb

Initialize MariaDB

Once the installation process is over, we need to initialize the data directory. We also need to create system tables. One of these system databases is mysql which contains the user table(mysql.user). This table is responsible for managing user privileges.

We have got a script for this. It is provided by MariaDB. Please note that this script requires to be run as root (or by the superuser).

$ sudo mariadb-install-db --user=mysql --basedir=/usr --datadir=/var/lib/mysql

Start MariaDB Daemon

After running the above command, start MySQL as a system daemon. To do that, depending on the system, we can use systemd.

# for machines having systemd
$ sudo systemctl start mariadb.service # starts the service

# after starting the service, make sure to `enable` it
# so that it automatically starts on reboot
$ sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

# check if the process is up and running using
$ sudo systemctl status mariadb.service

At this point, the MySQL server should be up and running. To confirm that it is running, run mysql -u root -p. This will return a password prompt for you to enter the MySQL password.

Fixing Password Error

Unless you run that command with Super User’s privilege, you are likely to get a password mismatch error. That’s because a regular user can’t access root@localhost user (as that is MySQL’s super admin account).

We now have to create a new user for regular MySQL workflow. To create a new user, first log-in as root using sudo (or superuser).

$ sudo mysql -u root -p
# This will log you in with a prompt where you can run SQL.

Create New User

To create a new user, we have to perform some SQL black magic in the SQL prompt.

-- replace USERNAME. make sure it's in lowercase

Create a Database

We need to create a database where USERNAME will be running database operations. We are creating it now so that the USERNAME can be assigned to it (you can choose to do this step at the end. No issues). So…yeah, more SQL black magic.

CREATE DATABASE database_name;

Assign a Database User

Now that we have created a new database, time to assign USERNAME to take the control of this database. Some more SQL commands would be sufficient for that.

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON database_name.* TO 'USERNAME'@'localhost';

Once you run all those SQL commands, exit from MariaDB prompt using quit (or ^C).


Time to verify if we can log in with the newly created user. To do that, we can log in to MariaDB shell using mysql -u USERNAME -p (with or without sudo).

Enter your password and you will be inside the MariaDB shell. Enjoy!

#mysql #sql #relational