What is the MySQL VARCHAR max size?


I would like to know what the max size is for a MySQL VARCHAR type.

I read that the max size is limited by the row size which is about 65k. I tried setting the field to varchar(20000) but it says that that's too large.

I could set it to varchar(10000). What is the exact max I can set it to?

This question is tagged with mysql varchar maxlength

~ Asked on 2012-11-22 06:13:36

The Best Answer is


Keep in mind that MySQL has a maximum row size limit

The internal representation of a MySQL table has a maximum row size limit of 65,535 bytes, not counting BLOB and TEXT types. BLOB and TEXT columns only contribute 9 to 12 bytes toward the row size limit because their contents are stored separately from the rest of the row. Read more about Limits on Table Column Count and Row Size.

Maximum size a single column can occupy, is different before and after MySQL 5.0.3

Values in VARCHAR columns are variable-length strings. The length can be specified as a value from 0 to 255 before MySQL 5.0.3, and 0 to 65,535 in 5.0.3 and later versions. The effective maximum length of a VARCHAR in MySQL 5.0.3 and later is subject to the maximum row size (65,535 bytes, which is shared among all columns) and the character set used.

However, note that the limit is lower if you use a multi-byte character set like utf8 or utf8mb4.

Use TEXT types inorder to overcome row size limit.

The four TEXT types are TINYTEXT, TEXT, MEDIUMTEXT, and LONGTEXT. These correspond to the four BLOB types and have the same maximum lengths and storage requirements.

More details on BLOB and TEXT Types

Even more

Checkout more details on Data Type Storage Requirements which deals with storage requirements for all data types.

~ Answered on 2012-11-22 06:22:06


As per the online docs, there is a 64K row limit and you can work out the row size by using:

row length = 1
             + (sum of column lengths)
             + (number of NULL columns + delete_flag + 7)/8
             + (number of variable-length columns)

You need to keep in mind that the column lengths aren't a one-to-one mapping of their size. For example, CHAR(10) CHARACTER SET utf8 requires three bytes for each of the ten characters since that particular encoding has to account for the three-bytes-per-character property of utf8 (that's MySQL's utf8 encoding rather than "real" UTF-8, which can have up to four bytes).

But, if your row size is approaching 64K, you may want to examine the schema of your database. It's a rare table that needs to be that wide in a properly set up (3NF) database - it's possible, just not very common.

If you want to use more than that, you can use the BLOB or TEXT types. These do not count against the 64K limit of the row (other than a small administrative footprint) but you need to be aware of other problems that come from their use, such as not being able to sort using the entire text block beyond a certain number of characters (though this can be configured upwards), forcing temporary tables to be on disk rather than in memory, or having to configure client and server comms buffers to handle the sizes efficiently.

The sizes allowed are:

TINYTEXT          255 (+1 byte  overhead)
TEXT          64K - 1 (+2 bytes overhead)
MEDIUMTEXT    16M - 1 (+3 bytes overhead)
LONGTEXT      4G  - 1 (+4 bytes overhead)

You still have the byte/character mismatch (so that a MEDIUMTEXT utf8 column can store "only" about half a million characters, (16M-1)/3 = 5,592,405) but it still greatly expands your range.

~ Answered on 2012-11-22 06:22:54

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