MySQL includes character set support that enables you to store data using a variety of character sets and
perform comparisons according to a variety of collations. You can specify character sets at the server,
database, table, and column level. MySQL supports the use of character sets for the
InnoDB storage engines.
This chapter discusses the following topics:
What are character sets and collations?
The multiple-level default system for character set assignment.
Syntax for specifying character sets and collations.
Affected functions and operations.
The character sets and collations that are available, with notes.
Character set issues affect not only data storage, but also communication between client programs and the MySQL
server. If you want the client program to communicate with the server using a character set different from the
default, you'll need to indicate which one. For example, to use the
character set, issue this statement after connecting to the server:
SET NAMES 'utf8';
For more information about configuring character sets for application use and character set-related issues in client/server communication, see Section 10.1.5, "Configuring the Character Set and Collation for Applications", and Section 10.1.4, "Connection Character Sets and Collations".