Stop using PHPMyAdmin

It makes me cringe every time I see developers use PHPMyAdmin to administer their databases, even more if its a local database. This is a relic from the old times when people used it with their remote servers since desktop applications did not provide remote access functionality yet. Here are just a few things you have to consider if you still rely on it in your development stack:

  • Running PHPmyAdmin is a potential security vulnerability. Although security bugs are patched quickly server installations usually end up running the same version for years without an upgrade. At the same time desktop applications allow you to use SSH tunneling for a secure connection.
  • If you are not running it using SSL encryption you are vulnerable to a man in the middle attack. The attacker can easily read the entire database dump as you are downloading it from the server.
  • Leaving it idle for a couple of minutes results in a session timeout.
  • If you are managing multiple servers you have to maintain PHPMyAdmin on each of them.
  • You face timeouts when dealing with uploading large dumps or executing slow queries.
  • No database visualization tools, which are vital when inspecting databases with a large amount of tables
  • For managing local databases it has to many requirements, like a preconfigured virtual host etc.

At the same time there are so many better suited desktop applications, my favorites are:

  • SQLYog – The one with the most features. I especially like its database visualization and the ability to import/export CSV and Excel files. Their license is pretty expensive but there is a community edition available which has a comparable feature set. Although it’s Windows-only it runs perfectly fine behind Wine on Linux.
  • HeidiSQL – Another Windows-only tool, opensource and a more lightweight version. Recently I found myself using it more than SQLYog actually.
  • Sequel Pro – Is pretty much the best choice you have for a Mac. I used it only a couple of times but it comes with all the necessary tools.
  • MySQL Workbench – Like SQLYog but works on all platforms and is free.
  • Emma – Works natively on Linux, although the feature set is rather limited.

The bottom line is that you really have no excuses to continue using it anymore, it is a security vulnerability, lacks advanced features and has all the issues associated with running a web application.

1 Comment

  1. antonio Garcia Marin

    April 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I not use phpmyadmin because is slow but i need a tool online as like. For me is perfect.
    The tools you comment are good (I am heidisql fan) but i don’t have the permission to access to production from my computer. Theses programs are good for local development.

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