Alter vs Re-Import to Change MySQL Table(s) Character Set

I am using latin1 as my charset on all my tables and it’s becoming problematic, especially when working with APIs delivering UTF8 encoded information.

I was planning on using ALTER on a number of tables (one at a time) to convert the char set over to UTF8 with collation going to utf8_general_ci or utf8_unicode_ci.

One of my techs says its better to download the table, edit the charset/collation and then re-import, as ALTER can sometimes corrupt the table and/or database.

Is this true? Or is ALTER a safe option?


I wouldn’t say it is a better option, just different. But if you want to keep it on the safe side, simply do a copy of the table and then use ALTER table to do whatever modification you need.

I don’t see any problem changing from Latin1 to UTF8 because UTF8 has more characters than Latin1. But if there’s any, you still will have the backup copy so reimporting the data should be easy

Thank you! That is exactly what I was thinking. Cheers.

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