When faced with MySQL administration tasks, many developers rely on phpMyAdmin. As the name implies it’s written in PHP, so it can be installed on your web server and accessed from a browser. If you find the interface a little dated, you could consider MonoQL—a slicker, Ajaxified alternative.For much of the time, developers just want to check some data, alter a few records, or back up the database. The phpMyAdmin and MonoQL zipped distributions range from 2MB to 7MB, and they’re overkill for most day-to-day administration. You’re using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.Here are three lightweight MySQL administration alternatives you should consider. They’re all PHP-based, open source, and great for quick database tasks.

SQL Buddy

SQL BuddySQL Buddy offers a comprehensive feature set, and supports SQLite as well as MySQL databases. The tool allows you to create, modify, or drop tables, indexes, foreign key relationships, and records. Backups are easy and you can run ad hoc SQL queries.SQL Buddy has a fast and attractive Ajax-powered interface with multiple languages and themes. The download is only 320kB (1.1MB extracted) and requires no installation—simply copy the files to your server and log in with a database user ID and password.Overall, SQL Buddy beats phpMyAdmin on many levels. It’s more than an alternative; it may even be a better option for you.Download SQL Buddy from sqlbuddy.com or code.google.com/p/sql-buddy/.


AdminerAdminer is a single 186kB file (or 281kB if you want the multi-lingual version). There’s no complex installation—just upload the file and log in. Amazingly, Adminer supports MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SQL Server, and Oracle, and runs under PHP4 or PHP5. There’s even a WordPress plugin version.Adminer can modify tables, indexes, foreign keys, views, stored procedures, functions, and triggers. It’s easy to browse or update data, and run your own SQL queries. The interface is functional rather than attractive, but it’s fast and easy to use.Adminer’s ease of installation makes it ideal for quick-and-dirty database administration. It’s become my tool of choice.Download Adminer from adminer.org or sourceforge.net/projects/adminer/.

PHP Mini Admin

PHP Mini AdminIf SQL Buddy and Adminer are too bloated for your needs, perhaps you should consider PHP Mini Admin? The download is 10kB. Yes, 10kB—which extracts to a single 26kB file.Like Adminer, you upload the file and log in. Understandably, features are more limited, but it’s easy to browse tables and examine, export, or import data. It’ll do anything if you’re happy writing your own SQL commands. PHP Mini Admin is fast and functional, so what more do you need?Download PHP Mini Admin from phpminiadmin.sourceforge.net.Do you have a preferred web-based MySQL administration tool? Comments are welcome …

note:Want more?

If you want to read more from Craig, subscribe to our weekly tech geek newsletter, Tech Times.

Tags: PHP
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler

  • David Corbacho
    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Thanks David. Chive looks excellent, although the 2MB download (11MB extracted) isn’t exactly lightweight. However, it’s certainly a prettier and more functional alternative to phpMyAdmin.

      • Alex

        MonoQL is 6.8mb download!

      • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

        Exactly … that’s why it didn’t make my list of lightweight alternatives!

  • skoop

    I’m missing here in this listing the Chive project, a Yii-based database administration package. It’s still in early development so it still contains some bugs, but it’s really nice.

  • Cezary Tomczak

    Hey Craig, you missed one! the best one :)
    Check out DBKiss: http://www.gosu.pl/dbkiss/
    It supports mysql and postgresql, is only 123 KB one-php-file, and has some unique features not found elsewhere like detecting missing WHERE conditions in sql editor, which might save your life someday!

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      I’ve not heard of DBKiss before so many thanks for the link.

  • http://r.je TomB

    I use Navicat, it’s a desktop application but that makes it far more responsive and easier to use!

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Thanks Tom. I agree that desktop apps such as Navicat or SQLyog are far easier when you’re building your database. They’re also great if you can connect to your live server.

      However, in those situations where you’re not at your main PC or just need to check some data, a PHP MySQL administration application comes in very handy.

  • Arkh

    For MySQL administration, you can also use MySQL Workbench. http://wb.mysql.com/
    It’s not php but as it is not installed on your server, you limit the chances of having an open SQL administrator panel available on your website.

    • baileylo

      For mac there are better solutions than work bench. I’d highly recommend the free sequel pro. Also querious is a good product as well. I agree with arkh that it is better not have an an open SQL administrator panel.

      And for: However, in those situations where you’re not at your main PC or just need to check some data, a PHP MySQL administration application comes in very handy.

      There’s always a handle sql cli =P

  • Tim

    Or simply the mysql-bundled console client. All developers in our company rely on it and it’s pretty rockstable ;-)

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      The CLI is great but can be a little cumbersome if you want to inspect a few dozen rows of data. Backing up in a web-based app is normally couple of clicks too.

  • Sphamandla

    Of the three im giving SQL Buddy a try see how that works out for me

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Let us know how you get on.

  • BOK

    “WizMySQLAdmin” is also very useful! URL: http://www.wizshelf.org/php.php

  • Carstonio

    Our web host provides phpMyAdmin on its servers. What security measures would we need to take if we used one of these other tools?

    • http://www.mikehealy.com.au cranial-bore

      SQL Buddy looks good, but I don’t seem to be able to edit or select rows from a custom query. If I just browse a whole table I can, but even a simple, single-table SELECT query will show the rows with no ability to edit them.

      What am I missing?

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      If you already have phpMyAdmin and are happy with it, there’s little reason to change (although I still find it a little slow for some tasks).

      Most of the tools use your MySQL ID and password, so you should make sure they’re strong. You could also use a URL that’s difficult to discover, e.g. rather than mysite.com/database use mysite.com/randomstringoflettersandnumbers.

      Finally, if you’re still concerned, modify .htaccess to restrict the system to known IPs or provide additional IDs/passwords.

  • Skyview

    Thanks for these. I’ve bee looking for something along these lines. I might give them all a try.

  • http://www.satya-weblog.com/ satya prakash

    I feel PHPMyAdmin is not heavy. So no need to look for lighter tool without good reason

  • umefarooq

    i really like sidu its really light and nice UI design and working great and its really great alternate to PHPMyAdmin developed in php


  • Chippo

    I like to use navicat (http://www.navicat.com/download/download.html). I think I like it cos its an app on my computer rather than a PHP install. Also makes it easier when your dealin with huge amounts of data, oh and the lite version is free

  • http://www.vcarrer.com vladocar

    I also build “Lightweight limited function phpMyAdmin” called MySql Lite Administrator http://code.google.com/p/mysql-lite-administrator/

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      Thanks vladocar — it looks good.

      Incidentally, when I first read the page, I mistakenly assumed it was for SQLite rather than MySQL-Lite. Perhaps that’s me being dumb, but the name could throw a few people.

  • http://LearnWebDesignOnline.com artcoder

    I usually use phpMyAdmin because it is already on most webhosts. However, if my client only gives me FTP access and doesn’t give me access to the webhost cpanel, then one of these three alternatives is a good choice. Then it is easy for me to upload the SQLBuddy, browse the database, and then delete SQLBuddy.

    Also good when you give FTP access to a sub-contractor and don’t want to give webhost cpanel access to sub-contractor. If contractor asks for database access, just upload SQLBuddy or the other two.

    I wasn’t able to get the WP-plugin version of adminer to work though.

  • http://www.oksoft.com shantanuo

    Adminer is something I use all the time.

  • Rajan Rawal

    Whether programmer use it or not but they must know it, so they don’t be surprised when hearing about it

  • http://www.wildwebwest.com WildWebWest

    Good info! Thank you craig…

  • http://www.webdbadmin.com Andrei Bintintan

    Hello everybody,

    I’m very please to announce the beta version of this project.
    A future web based database administration tool. A good alternative to phpmyadmin and all other tools.


    Demo: http://demo.webdbadmin.com

    Feedback is welcomed.

    Regards, Andrei Bintintan.

  • http://ssmusoke.wordpress.com Stephen S. Musoke

    Adminer has become an invaluable tool in my arsenal. A single file upload which gives u all the rights u need, infact I use it even if phpmyadmin is available since many hosts require you to log into the control panel first.

    I am not sure about adminer security for shared hosting panels, however it requires you to log in using a predefined database user and password, not sure if that is secure enough like the PHPMyAdmin though

    I have a blog post review of the tools at http://ssmusoke.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/mysql-design-and-administration-tools-%e2%80%93-q3-2011/

  • http://umairj.com Umair Jabbar

    came across this new tool, do check it out guys

    simple, and ajax based

  • Victor

    Great, thanks a lot!

  • M. Kırgül

    vty is another good alternative. A single, 30 kb file… http://www.kutukutu.com/vty/

Special Offer
Free course!

Git into it! Bonus course Introduction to Git is yours when you take up a free 14 day SitePoint Premium trial.