How to Switch from MySQL to MariaDB 10.2 Database on Ubuntu Linux

If you’re currently running the MySQL database server on Ubuntu 16.04 and you wish to switch to MariaDB, the steps can be a good starting point.

This post is intended to help students and new users convert from MySQL to MariaDB database server on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

As you may already know, MariaDB is rapidly gaining traction on Linux systems, including Ubuntu. Over the past years, it was MySQL which was the default database server. now MariaDB has taken over.

After Oracle Corporation purchased the previous MySQL parent and made some controversial licensing changes, the open-source community gradually started drifting away from MySQL towards MariaDB.

MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL. This means it operates and functions like MySQL. If you uninstall MySQL and install MariaDB, applications that depended on MySQL won’t know the difference after installing MariaDB.

Removing MySQL Database Server

To get rid of MySQL from Ubuntu, run the commands below.

sudo systemctl stop mysql.service
sudo apt-get remove mysql-server mysql-common libmysqlclient18

After running the above commands, continue below to install the MariaDB database server.

Installing MariaDB Database Server

Now that MySQL is removed from Ubuntu, run the commands below to install MariaDB.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client libmariadbclient18

The commands above should install the stable version of the MariaDB database server from Ubuntu repositories.

During the installation, you may get the message below that the old data directory location will be saved at the new location. Accept and continue.

┌────────────────────┤ Configuring mariadb-server-10.1 ├──────
│ The old data directory will be saved at new location
│ A file named /var/lib/mysql/debian-*.flag exists on this system. The
│ number indicates a database binary format version that cannot
│ automatically be upgraded (or downgraded).
│ Therefore the previous data directory will be renamed to
│ /var/lib/mysql-* and a new data directory will be initialized at
│ /var/lib/mysql.
│ Please manually export/import your data (e.g. with mysqldump) if needed.
│                                  <Ok>

However, if you need to install the latest versions of MariaDB, run the commands below to add the MariaDB repository key to Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver hkp:// 0xF1656F24C74CD1D8

Then, run the commands below to add the MariaDB version 10.2 branch or repository to Ubuntu.

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb [arch=amd64,i386] '$(lsb_release -cs)' main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/MariaDB-10.1.list"

Finally, run the commands below to install MariaDB from the 10.2 branches.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

If you want to install the latest unreleased 10.3 version, add the repository below.

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb [arch=amd64,i386] '$(lsb_release -cs)' main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/MariaDB-10.2.list"

Then run the commands below to update to the latest 10.2 version.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable the MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure the MariaDB server.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

That’s it!

Now you can log in to MySQL by typing the commands below:

sudo mysql -u root -p


Again, this post shows you how to convert from MySQL to a MariaDB database server. Since almost all Linux distributions are now switching from MySQL to MariaDB, it’s probably the best thing to switch as well for better system support.

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