Top 10 MySQL GUI Tools

May 12, 2010

Many third parties create rich applications to facilitate database management, database development and database administration. Here are ten outstanding graphical interfaces for MySQL.

Most relational databases, with the notable exception of MS Access, are comprised of two distinct components: the back-end, where the data is warehoused, and the front-end, a user interface for communicating with the data component. This type of design is quite clever, as it parallels the two-tier programming model that separates the data layer from the user interface and allows the makers of the database software focus on their product's strongest suit: data storage and management. It also opens the door for third parties to create rich applications to interact with various databases. Such products include Embarcadero Rapid SQL and Oracle SQL Developer. Here are ten outstanding graphical interfaces for MySQL.

1. Workbench

Manufacturer: Sun Systems/Oracle Website: http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/workbench/
Price: FREE
License: GPL License
Supported platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux

MySQL Workbench

MySQL Workbench is a visual database design tool that integrates SQL development, administration, database design, creation and maintenance into a single development environment. It is the successor to DBDesigner 4 from fabFORCE.net and replaces the MySQL GUI Tools Bundle. The current version is 5.2, the earliest version being 5.0, which emphasized the fact that MySQL Workbench was developed as the successor to DBDesigner4.

2. Navicat

Manufacturer: PremiumSoft ™ CyberTech Ltd.
Website: http://www.navicat.com/en/products/navicat_mysql/mysql_overview.html
Pricing: As follows:

Windows Edition ( Non-Commercial )

US $209 (disk)

US $199 (download)

Windows Edition

US $379 (disk)

US $369 (download)

Mac OS X Edition ( Non-Commercial )

US $209 (disk)

US $199 (download)

Mac OS X Edition

US $329 (disk)

US $319 (download)

Linux Edition ( Non-Commercial )

US $189 (disk)

US $179 (download)

Linux Edition

US $329 (disk)

US $319 (download)

A 30-day trial version is available.
License: Available under Commercial or Non-commercial licenses.
Supported platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux

navicat mysql database structure

Navicat for MySQL is both a database administration and development tool. It works with any MySQL database server from version 3.21 or above, and supports most of the latest MySQL features including triggers, stored procedures, functions, events, views, and user management.

Features in Navicat are sophisticated enough to cater to professional developers' specific needs, yet easy to learn for users who are new to MySQL.

3. Sequel Pro

Manufacturer: The Sequel Pro Project (open source)
Website: http://www.sequelpro.com/
Price: FREE (donations accepted via PayPal)
License: GNU GPL 2.0
Supported platforms: Mac OS X Tiger Universal Build

Sequel Pro

Sequel Pro is a FREE open-source application. It is the successor of the CocoaMySQL Mac database management application. CocoaMySQL was the brainchild of Lorenz Textor, who was the main developer of CocoaMySQL from its early beginnings in 2003.

Sequel Pro is an application used to manage MySQL databases (locally or over the Internet). It lets you add and remove databases and tables, change fields and indexes, view and filter table content, add, edit and remove rows, perform custom queries, and dump tables or entire databases.

It is compatible with MySQL 3.x, 4 or 5.

4. HeidiSQL

Manufacturer: Ansgar Becker
Website: http://www.heidisql.com/
Price: FREE (donations accepted via PayPal)
License: GNU General Public License
Supported platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 (can be run on any Linux with Wine)


HeidiSQL, previously known as MySQL-Front, is a FREE and open source client developed by German programmer Ansgar Becker and a few other contributors in Delphi. To manage databases with HeidiSQL, users must login to a local or remote MySQL server with acceptable credentials, creating a session. Within this session, users may manage MySQL Databases within the connected MySQL server, disconnecting from the server when done. Its feature set is sufficient for most common and advanced database, table and data record operations but remains in active development to move towards the full functionality expected in a MySQL Frontend.

A version written in Java, jHeidi, which is designed to work on Mac and Linux computers, also exists. Unfortunately, the project has been discontinued since March 2010.

5. phpMyAdmin

Manufacturer: The phpMyAdmin Project (on Sourceforge)
Website: http://www.phpmyadmin.net/home_page/
Price: FREE (donations accepted via PayPal)
License: GNU General Public License, version 2
Supported platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, PHP 4 - 5 and MySQL 3 - 5


PhpMyAdmin is a FREE software tool written in PHP intended to handle the administration of MySQL over the Internet. PhpMyAdmin supports a wide range of operations with MySQL, the most frequently used being the managing of databases, tables, fields, relations, indexes, users, permissions. You still have the ability to execute SQL statements directly as well.

Tobias Ratschiller, then an IT consultant and later founder of the software company Maguma, started to work on a PHP-based web front-end to MySQL in 1998, inspired by Peter Kuppelwieser's MySQL-Webadmin. He gave up the project (and phpAdsNew, of which he was also the original author) in 2000 because of lack of time. By that time, phpMyAdmin had already become one of the most popular PHP applications and MySQL administration tools, with a large community of users and contributors. In order to coordinate the growing number of patches, a group of three developers, Olivier Müller, Marc Delisle and Loïc Chapeaux, registered the phpMyAdmin project at SourceForge.net and took over the development in 2001.

6. SQL Maestro MySQL Tools Family

Manufacturer: SQL Maestro Group
Website: http://www.sqlmaestro.com/products/mysql/
Price: ranges from $99 for non-commercial applications to $1949 for the MySQL Admin Tools Bundle, including a full site business license plus three years of upgrades. The bundle includes SQL Maestro, Data Wizard, Code Factory, Service Center, and PHP Generator Pro.
License: a full range of licensing options are available ranging from single non-commercial to site-wide commercial licenses with three years of free upgrades.
Supported platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7

SQL Maestro MySQL Tools Family

SQL Maestro Group offers complete database admin, development and management tools for all the most popular DBMS. Via the GUI interface, you can execute queries and SQL scripts, manage users and their privileges, import, as well as export and backup data. Moreover, you can generate PHP scripts for the selected tables and queries and to convert any ADO-compatible database to a MySQL database.

The bundle includes:

SQL Maestro for MySQL
A professional MySQL GUI admin tool with support all the latest MySQL 5.0 and 5.1 features such as views, procedures, triggers and table partitioning.

Data Wizard for MySQL
MySQL data dump, data export/import tools and more.

Code Factory for MySQL
A set of tools for editing SQL scripts and building SQL statements visually.

Service Center for MySQL
For MySQL server maintenance.

PHP Generator for MySQL
Produces high-quality MySQL PHP scripts. Free version available.

7. SQLWave

Manufacturer: Nerocode
Website: http://www.nerocode.com/
Price: $99.00
License: shareware. See http://www.nerocode.com/license.txt for more details.
Supported platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7


Nerocode SQLWave is a MySQL GUI Client tool designed to automate and simplify the database development process. It also provides an easier way to explore and maintain existing databases, design compound SQL statements, query and manipulate data in different ways. MySQL 4.x - 6.x compliant.

A 30-day trial version is available.

8. dbForge Studio

Manufacturer: devart
Website: http://www.devart.com/dbforge/mysql/studio/
Price: FREE for express edition, $49.95 (non-commercial standard edition), $99.99 (non-commercial professional edition)
License: Commercial and non-commercial licenses available. Subscriptions are also offered as an efficient and quick way to deliver product upgrades and technical support.
Supported platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7

dbForge Studio

DbForge Studio for MySQL offers visual MySQL development and administration.

There are three editions: Express, Standard, and Professional.

Express is a FREE application that provides basic functionality for working with schema objects, user accounts, SQL scripts, and queries.

Standard includes additional tools for database administrators and developers, such as a debugger, Query Builder, code templates, object search, various export and maintenance wizards.

Professional is the most full-featured version and adds the following functionality: database projects, accurate comparison and synchronization of database structures (schema comparison) or database content (data comparison), debugging stored procedures and scripts, complex query creation.

Other tools from dbForge include:

  • Schema Compare for MySQL
  • Data Compare for MySQL
  • Query Builder for MySQL
  • Fusion for MySQL

9. DBTools Manager

Manufacturer: DBTools Software
Website: http://www.dbtools.com.br/EN/dbmanagerpro/
Price: Standard Edition is FREE. Enterprise is $69.90 USD for a single license. Discounts are available for multiple licenses.
License: Standard Edition is licensed under standard freeware conditions. The enterprise version is licensed per unit sold.
Supported platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7


Specially designed for personal use, it has a minimum set of features that makes it ideal for new database users to perform basic database management. You can use this edition for FREE for non commercial use. For commercial use, you can purchase a license which will provide additional features.

Enterprise Edition
Specially designed for Enterprise use, it is more suited for DBA and developers looking for an integrated application for database management. You can try it before purchasing. The Enterprise Edition trial version comes with all features enabled, so that you can try them all for 20 days and make your purchasing decision based on the full experience.

Both include Support for MySQL 3, 4 and 5.

10. MyDB Studio

Manufacturer: H2LSoft, Inc.
Website: http://www.mydb-studio.com
Price: FREE
License: freeware
Supported platforms: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7

MySql Tools Screenshot

Our final entry is another studio containing a complete collection of tools for MySQL Server administration. Developers will appreciate its ability to create/edit/drop database objects, DB synchronization, and data export/import. DBAs can also use MyDB Studio to perform database migration, as well as backups and restores. It supports SSH tunneling to secure your connections, which allows you to connect even if your host doesn't allow you remote access connection, user and privilege management, and PHP script creation.

I am confident that you will find a product to suit your needs in this group. They are in no particular order, so feel free to try any that catches your eye. I should also point out that I received absolutely no financial compensation from any of these companies. My assessment of each product is based on my unbiased opinion. As such, my top ten list may diverge slightly from the general consensus.

» See All Articles by Columnist Rob Gravelle