6.2.2. Privilege System Grant Tables

Normally, you manipulate the contents of the grant tables in the mysql database indirectly by using statements such as GRANT and REVOKE to set up accounts and control the privileges available to each one. See Section 13.7.1, "Account Management Statements". The discussion here describes the underlying structure of the grant tables and how the server uses their contents when interacting with clients.

These mysql database tables contain grant information:

Other tables in the mysql database do not hold grant information and are discussed elsewhere:

Each grant table contains scope columns and privilege columns:

The server uses the grant tables in the following manner:

The server uses the user and db tables in the mysql database at both the first and second stages of access control (see Section 6.2, "The MySQL Access Privilege System"). The columns in the user and db tables are shown here.

Table 6.3. user and db Table Columns

Table Name user db
Scope columns Host Host
User Db
Password User
Privilege columns Select_priv Select_priv
Insert_priv Insert_priv
Update_priv Update_priv
Delete_priv Delete_priv
Index_priv Index_priv
Alter_priv Alter_priv
Create_priv Create_priv
Drop_priv Drop_priv
Grant_priv Grant_priv
Create_view_priv Create_view_priv
Show_view_priv Show_view_priv
Create_routine_priv Create_routine_priv
Alter_routine_priv Alter_routine_priv
Execute_priv Execute_priv
Trigger_priv Trigger_priv
Event_priv Event_priv
Create_tmp_table_priv Create_tmp_table_priv
Lock_tables_priv Lock_tables_priv
References_priv References_priv
Reload_priv
Shutdown_priv
Process_priv
File_priv
Show_db_priv
Super_priv
Repl_slave_priv
Repl_client_priv
Create_user_priv
Create_tablespace_priv
Security columns ssl_type
ssl_cipher
x509_issuer
x509_subject
plugin
authentication_string
password_expired
Resource control columns max_questions
max_updates
max_connections
max_user_connections

The mysql.user table plugin and authentication_string columns store authentication plugin information.

If the plugin column for an account row is empty, the server uses native authentication for connection attempts for the account: Clients must match the password in the Password column of the account row.

If an account row names a plugin in the plugin column, the server uses it to authenticate connection attempts for the account. Whether the plugin uses the value in the Password column is up to the plugin.

The password_expired column permits DBAs to expire account passwords and require users to reset their password. The default password_expired value is 'N', but can be set to 'Y' with the ALTER USER statement. After an account's password has been expired, all operations performed by the account in subsequent connections to the server result in an error until the user issues a SET PASSWORD statement to establish a new account password. See Section 13.7.1.1, "ALTER USER Syntax".

It is possible after password expiration to "reset" a password by using SET PASSWORD to set it to its current value. As a matter of good policy, it is preferable to choose a different password.

During the second stage of access control, the server performs request verification to make sure that each client has sufficient privileges for each request that it issues. In addition to the user and db grant tables, the server may also consult the tables_priv and columns_priv tables for requests that involve tables. The latter tables provide finer privilege control at the table and column levels. They have the columns shown in the following table.

Table 6.4. tables_priv and columns_priv TableColumns

Table Name tables_priv columns_priv
Scope columns Host Host
Db Db
User User
Table_name Table_name
Column_name
Privilege columns Table_priv Column_priv
Column_priv
Other columns Timestamp Timestamp
Grantor

The Timestamp and Grantor columns are set to the current timestamp and the CURRENT_USER value, respectively. However, they are unused and are discussed no further here.

For verification of requests that involve stored routines, the server may consult the procs_priv table, which has the columns shown in the following table.

Table 6.5. procs_priv Table Columns

Table Name procs_priv
Scope columns Host
Db
User
Routine_name
Routine_type
Privilege columns Proc_priv
Other columns Timestamp
Grantor

The Routine_type column is an ENUM column with values of 'FUNCTION' or 'PROCEDURE' to indicate the type of routine the row refers to. This column enables privileges to be granted separately for a function and a procedure with the same name.

The Timestamp and Grantor columns currently are unused and are discussed no further here.

The proxies_priv table records information about proxy users. It has these columns:

Scope columns in the grant tables contain strings. They are declared as shown here; the default value for each is the empty string.

Table 6.6. Grant Table Scope Column Types

Column Name Type
Host, Proxied_host CHAR(60)
User, Proxied_user CHAR(16)
Password CHAR(41)
Db CHAR(64)
Table_name CHAR(64)
Column_name CHAR(64)
Routine_name CHAR(64)

For access-checking purposes, comparisons of User, Proxied_user, Password, Db, and Table_name values are case sensitive. Comparisons of Host, Proxied_host, Column_name, and Routine_name values are not case sensitive.

In the user and db tables, each privilege is listed in a separate column that is declared as ENUM('N','Y') DEFAULT 'N'. In other words, each privilege can be disabled or enabled, with the default being disabled.

In the tables_priv, columns_priv, and procs_priv tables, the privilege columns are declared as SET columns. Values in these columns can contain any combination of the privileges controlled by the table. Only those privileges listed in the column value are enabled.

Table 6.7. Set-Type Privilege Column Values

Table Name Column Name Possible Set Elements
tables_priv Table_priv 'Select', 'Insert', 'Update', 'Delete', 'Create', 'Drop', 'Grant', 'References', 'Index', 'Alter', 'Create View','Show view', 'Trigger'
tables_priv Column_priv 'Select', 'Insert', 'Update', 'References'
columns_priv Column_priv 'Select', 'Insert', 'Update', 'References'
procs_priv Proc_priv 'Execute', 'Alter Routine', 'Grant'

Administrative privileges (such as RELOAD or SHUTDOWN) are specified only in the user table. Administrative operations are operations on the server itself and are not database-specific, so there is no reason to list these privileges in the other grant tables. Consequently, to determine whether you can perform an administrative operation, the server need consult only the user table.

The FILE privilege also is specified only in the user table. It is not an administrative privilege as such, but your ability to read or write files on the server host is independent of the database you are accessing.

The mysqld server reads the contents of the grant tables into memory when it starts. You can tell it to reload the tables by issuing a FLUSH PRIVILEGES statement or executing a mysqladmin flush-privileges or mysqladmin reload command. Changes to the grant tables take effect as indicated in Section 6.2.6, "When Privilege Changes Take Effect".

When you modify an account's privileges, it is a good idea to verify that the changes set up privileges the way you want. To check the privileges for a given account, use the SHOW GRANTS statement (see Section 13.7.5.20, "SHOW GRANTS Syntax"). For example, to determine the privileges that are granted to an account with user name and host name values of bob and pc84.example.com, use this statement:

SHOW GRANTS FOR 'bob'@'pc84.example.com';



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