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Privilege Management

TiDB supports MySQL 5.7's privilege management system, including the syntax and privilege types. Starting with TiDB 3.0, support for SQL Roles is also available.

This document introduces privilege-related TiDB operations, privileges required for TiDB operations and implementation of the privilege system.

Grant privileges

The GRANT statement grants privileges to user accounts. It is recommended to first create a user, and then grant privileges. For example, use the following statement to grant the developer user the privilege to read the test database:

CREATE USER developer IDENTIFIED BY 'mypassword';
GRANT SELECT ON test.* TO 'developer';

Use the following statement to grant the developer user all privileges on all databases:



TiDB 2.1 does not support the NO_AUTO_CREATE_USER SQL Mode. This means that TiDB will automatically create a new user if one does not already exist. This is particularly risky, since typos can lead to users created with an empty password. While this behavior is compatible with earlier releases of MySQL, it is recommended to upgrade to TiDB 3.0 to prevent this issue.


Granting privileges to a database or table does not check if the database or table exists.

mysql> SELECT * FROM test.xxxx;
ERROR 1146 (42S02): Table 'test.xxxx' doesn't exist

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON test.xxxx TO xxxx;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT user,host FROM mysql.tables_priv WHERE user='xxxx';
| user | host |
| xxxx | %    |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

You can use fuzzy matching to grant privileges to databases and tables.

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `te%`.* TO genius;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT user,host,db FROM mysql.db WHERE user='genius';
| user   | host | db  |
| genius | %    | te% |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

In this example, because of the % in te%, all the databases starting with te are granted the privilege.

Revoke privileges

The REVOKE statement enables system administrators to revoke privileges from the user accounts.

The REVOKE statement corresponds with the REVOKE statement:

REVOKE ALL PRIVILEGES ON `test`.* FROM 'genius'@'localhost';


To revoke privileges, you need the exact match. If the matching result cannot be found, an error will be displayed:

mysql> REVOKE ALL PRIVILEGES ON `te%`.* FROM 'genius'@'%';
ERROR 1141 (42000): There is no such grant defined for user 'genius' on host '%'

About fuzzy matching, escape, string and identifier:

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `te\%`.* TO 'genius'@'localhost';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

This example uses exact match to find the database named te%. Note that the % uses the \ escape character so that % is not considered as a wildcard.

A string is enclosed in single quotation marks(''), while an identifier is enclosed in backticks (``). See the differences below:

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON 'test'.* TO 'genius'@'localhost';
ERROR 1064 (42000): You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the
manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right
syntax to use near ''test'.* to 'genius'@'localhost'' at line 1

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `test`.* TO 'genius'@'localhost';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

If you want to use special keywords as table names, enclose them in backticks (``). For example:

mysql> CREATE TABLE `select` (id int);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.27 sec)

Check privileges granted to users

You can use the SHOW GRANTS statement to see what privileges are granted to a user. For example:

SHOW GRANTS; -- show grants for the current user
SHOW GRANTS FOR 'root'@'%'; -- show grants for a specific user

To be more precise, you can check the privilege information in the Grant table. For example, you can use the following steps to check if the test@% user has the Insert privilege on db1.t:

  1. Check if test@% has global Insert privilege:

    SELECT Insert_priv FROM mysql.user WHERE user='test' AND host='%';
  2. If not, check if test@% has database-level Insert privilege at db1:

    SELECT Insert_priv FROM mysql.db WHERE user='test' AND host='%';
  3. If the result is still empty, check whether test@% has table-level Insert privilege at db1.t:

    SELECT table_priv FROM mysql.tables_priv WHERE user='test' AND host='%' AND db='db1';

Privileges required for TiDB operations

You can check privileges of TiDB users in the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.USER_PRIVILEGES table.

Privilege typePrivilege variablePrivilege description
ALLAllPrivAll the privileges
DropDropPrivDeletes a schema or table
IndexIndexPrivCreates or deletes an index
AlterAlterPrivExecutes the ALTER statement
SuperSuperPrivAll the privileges
GrantGrantPrivGrants another user a privilege
CreateCreatePrivCreates a schema or table
SelectSelectPrivReads the table data
InsertInsertPrivInserts data to a table
UpdateUpdatePrivUpdates the table data
DeleteDeletePrivDeleted the table data
ProcessProcessPrivDisplays the running task
ExecuteExecutePrivExecutes the EXECUTE statement
Drop RoleDropRolePrivExecutes DROP ROLE
Show ViewShowViewPrivExecutes SHOW CREATE VIEW
Create ViewCreateViewPrivCreates a View
Create UserCreateUserPrivCreates a user
Create RoleCreateRolePrivExecutes CREATE ROLE
Show DatabasesShowDBPrivShows the table status in the database


  • For all ALTER statements, users must have the ALTER privilege for the corresponding table.
  • For statements except ALTER...DROP and ALTER...RENAME TO, users must have the INSERT and CREATE privileges for the corresponding table.
  • For the ALTER...DROP statement, users must have the DROP privilege for the corresponding table.
  • For the ALTER...RENAME TO statement, users must have the DROP privilege for the table before renaming, and the CREATE and INSERT privileges for the table after renaming.


In MySQL 5.7 documentation, users need INSERT and CREATE privileges to perform the ALTER operation on a table. But in reality for MySQL 5.7.25, only the ALTER privilege is required in this case. Currently, the ALTER privilege in TiDB is consistent with the actual behavior in MySQL.


Requires the CREATE privilege for the database.


Requires the INDEX privilege for the table.


Requires the CREATE privilege for the table.

To execute the CREATE TABLE...LIKE... statement, the SELECT privilege for the table is required.


Requires the CREATE VIEW privilege.


If the current user is not the user that creates the View, both the CREATE VIEW and SUPER privileges are required.


Requires the DROP privilege for the table.


Requires the INDEX privilege for the table.


Requires the DROP privilege for the table.


Requires the DROP privilege for the table.


Requires the ALTER and DROP privileges for the table before renaming and the CREATE and INSERT privileges for the table after renaming.


Requires the INSERT and SELECT privileges for the table.


SHOW CREATE TABLE requires any single privilege to the table.

SHOW CREATE VIEW requires the SHOW VIEW privilege.


CREATE ROLE requires the CREATE ROLE privilege.

CREATE USER requires the CREATE USER privilege.


DROP ROLE requires the DROP ROLE privilege.

DROP USER requires the CREATE USER privilege.


Requires the CREATE USER privilege.


Requires the GRANT privilege with the privileges granted by GRANT.


Requires the SUPER privilege.

Implementation of the privilege system

Privilege table

The following system tables are special because all the privilege-related data is stored in them:

  • mysql.user (user account, global privilege)
  • mysql.db (database-level privilege)
  • mysql.tables_priv (table-level privilege)
  • mysql.columns_priv (column-level privilege; not currently supported)

These tables contain the effective range and privilege information of the data. For example, in the mysql.user table:

mysql> SELECT User,Host,Select_priv,Insert_priv FROM mysql.user LIMIT 1;
| User | Host | Select_priv | Insert_priv |
| root | %    | Y           | Y           |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

In this record, Host and User determine that the connection request sent by the root user from any host (%) can be accepted. Select_priv and Insert_priv mean that the user has global Select and Insert privilege. The effective range in the mysql.user table is global.

Host and User in mysql.db determine which databases users can access. The effective range is the database.


It is recommended to only update the privilege tables via the supplied syntax such as GRANT, CREATE USER and DROP USER. Making direct edits to the underlying privilege tables will not automatially update the privilege cache, leading to unpredictable behavior until FLUSH PRIVILEGES is executed.

Connection verification

When the client sends a connection request, TiDB server will verify the login operation. TiDB server first checks the mysql.user table. If a record of User and Host matches the connection request, TiDB server then verifies the Password.

User identity is based on two pieces of information: Host, the host that initiates the connection, and User, the user name. If the user name is not empty, the exact match of user named is a must.

User+Host may match several rows in user table. To deal with this scenario, the rows in the user table are sorted. The table rows will be checked one by one when the client connects; the first matched row will be used to verify. When sorting, Host is ranked before User.

Request verification

When the connection is successful, the request verification process checks whether the operation has the privilege.

For database-related requests (INSERT, UPDATE), the request verification process first checks the user’s global privileges in the mysql.user table. If the privilege is granted, you can access directly. If not, check the mysql.db table.

The user table has global privileges regardless of the default database. For example, the DELETE privilege in user can apply to any row, table, or database.

In the Db table, an empty user is to match the anonymous user name. Wildcards are not allowed in the User column. The value for the Host and Db columns can use % and _, which can use pattern matching.

Data in the user and db tables is also sorted when loaded into memory.

The use of % in tables_priv and columns_priv is similar, but column value in Db, Table_name and Column_name cannot contain %. The sorting is also similar when loaded.

Time of effect

When TiDB starts, some privilege-check tables are loaded into memory, and then the cached data is used to verify the privileges. Executing privilege management statements such as GRANT, REVOKE, CREATE USER, DROP USER will take effect immediately.

Manually editing tables such as mysql.user with statements such as INSERT, DELETE, UPDATE will not take effect immediately. This behavior is compatible with MySQL, and privilege cache can be updated with the following statement:


Limitations and constraints

Currently, the following privileges are not checked yet because they are less frequently used:

  • FILE
  • ...


Column-level privileges are not implemented at this stage.