MariaDB Installed Without Password Prompts for Root on Ubuntu Linux

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Recently I was testing the MariaDB database server on Ubuntu 17.10 / 18.04 and discovered that the MariaDB database server now installs on Ubuntu without prompting the root user for a password to access the server.

Is this new?

It’s always been the case where MySQL and MariaDB, a fork of MySQL prompt passwords every time before access is granted to the server. Apparently, not anymore for MariaDB. Now simply installing the database gives the root access without a password.

Even after running the command sudo mysql_secure_installation. the root account password is never required. However, other applications and services that depend on MariaDB will fail if the root password is needed for authentication.

phpMyAdmin and MySQL Workbench database may fail if MariaDB is set up this way.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to set a root password for MariaDB and allow password authentication.

After digging a bit, I discovered that MariaDB uses the unix_socket plugin to authenticate. and not passwords. Even if you set a password, it is ignored. To re-enable password authentication, follow the steps below:

Login to the MariaDB server by running the commands below

sudo mysql -u root

Notice no password?

That should get you into the database server. After that, run the commands below to disable plugin authentication for the root user

use mysql;
update user set plugin='' where User='root';
flush privileges;
exit

Restart and run the commands below to set a new password.

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure the MariaDB server and create a new root password.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

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

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press 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

You should now be able to log on with password authentication. and other applications should now work with the root password authentication.

The next time type the commands below to logon

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password to sign on

Welcome to the MariaDB monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MariaDB connection id is 11
Server version: 10.1.25-MariaDB-1 Ubuntu 17.10

Copyright (c) 2000, 2017, Oracle, MariaDB Corporation Ab and others.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.

MariaDB [(none)]>

Enjoy!

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