How to easily convert utf8 tables to utf8mb4 in MySQL 5.5

John Doe ·

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From my guide How to support full Unicode in MySQL databases, here are the queries you can run to update the charset and collation of a database, a table, or a column:

 

For each database:

ALTER DATABASE
    database_name
    CHARACTER SET = utf8mb4
    COLLATE = utf8mb4_unicode_ci;

 

For each table:

ALTER TABLE
    table_name
    CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4
    COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;

 

For each column:

ALTER TABLE
    table_name
    CHANGE column_name column_name
    VARCHAR(191)
    CHARACTER SET utf8mb4
    COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;

 

(Don’t blindly copy-paste this! The exact statement depends on the column type, maximum length, and other properties. The above line is just an example for a VARCHAR column.)

Note, however, that you cannot fully automate the conversion from utf8 to utf8mb4. As described in step 4 of the abovementioned guide, you’ll need to check the maximum length of columns and index keys, as the number you specify has a different meaning when utf8mb4 is used instead of utf8.

Section 10.1.11 of the MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual has some more information on this.

 

I have a database which now needs to support 4 byte characters (Chinese). Luckily I already have MySQL 5.5 in production. So I would just like to make all collations which are utf8_bin to utf8mb4_...