Databases have become an essential component of every web-based project. From a simple blog to a corporate portal, database engines drive the application and are the central location where all processes and logics converge. In effect, very few processes could avoid tapping into a database.
In this MySQL series on databases, I will highlight the importance of databases and how you can use popular database management system (DBMS) and PHP in real world scenarios. In particular, this MySQL series would cover connection of MySQL and PHP, MySQL data types, table manipulation in MySQL, a CRUD in PHP and MySQL, MySQL clauses, joining tables, and REGEX expressions for MySQL.
What is a Database?
A database is a collection of data and information that is stored in an organized manner that can be retrieved, updated and deleted in the future. Database can be stored in files or in different tables in a system.
A table consists of rows and columns. Columns are different entities or characteristics of that table, for example, if we create a table of teachers, its entities would be ID, Name, Age, and Qualification. Database can be a collection of anything, it can be a collection of movies you watch or students that you have to teach.
What is Database Management System?
Database management helps you handle your databases and assists you to create functions to insert, update, delete, and view your databases. Depending on the complexity of data, there are many ways to manage databases. For example, if your data is just the collection of movies, you can use a simple DBMS for it to be managed. However, if you are managing a complex database, like that of a School Management System, then you have to first create two different tables for teachers and students, then another table of courses, and one more table in which you list which course is taught by which teacher, with a table of class which depicts which class teacher teaches that subject, and it goes on creating more complexities.
Because these things are related to each other and you need to be sure that no data conflicts with other, and you are able to easily retrieve data from this. For this, we use Relational Database Management System, as it helps you dealing with these type of complexities easily.
List of Software for Database Software
There are many software which can help you create and manage your databases. Some are paid, while some are free. Have a look at some of them below:
- SQL Server (paid)
- Oracle (paid+free)
- MySQL (free)
- MariaDB (free)
- FireBase (paid+free)
- Percona (free)
We will be using MySQL with PHP for our tutorial series as it is free and open source, and is used by a major portion of database users.
What is MySQL?
MySQL is a database management system developed by Oracle Corporation used mostly for web servers. MySQL can be deployed and run on any operating system. MySQL is easy, fast and can be used for any type of database whether it is relational or simple, large or small. Since it uses standard SQL for queries, what this means is that if you learn MySQL you will be able to make queries on different Database management software also.
Configuring System for MySQL and PHP
Since PHP and MySQL are both server-side languages, you will need a server to practice it. For practice purposes, you can configure your system for localhost, (and if you are practicing it on Cloudways, then we have a click to Install button which will do all the things by itself) but for your computer, you need to do the following.
To make a local host on your computer, you can install either XAMPP or WAMP for your localhost. Both come with MySQL and PHP. I will be using XAMPP as it is cross-platform and can be installed on any Operating System. This is how to install XAMPP.
1. Download XAMPP installer from here as per your Operating System.
2. After downloading it, double click the .exe file and start the installation by selecting your desired language.
3. If you are installing on Windows, and the dialog occurs that tells you not to install XAMPP on C:\program files, then click OK.
4. Click Next and verify that all check boxes are checked
5. Verify your installation location
6. Click next and wait for the installation to complete.
7. Finish the installation and click Yes in the dialogue to start your Control Panel
8. If the XAMPP control panel does not start automatically, then find it in your menu item and click on it to make it run. After it runs you will see this window:
9. Click on the Start button next to Apache, and wait for apache to start. After Apache has started, click on the Start button next to MySQL. Wait for MySQL to start. Both Apache and MySQL are running now.
10. Now open your browser and type localhost, it should redirect you to this localhost/xampp/splash.php” which means you have configured it properly.
This is a very basic tutorial of how to setup MySQL with PHP using the XAMPP.
Keep following the Cloudways Blog to learn more about how to work around the MySQL database using PHP. If you find any issues in the tutorial, then let me know in the comments section below. This was just a beginners guide to MySQL and databases.
You might also like: Connect to a Remote MySQL Database
In the next installment of this MySQL series, I will cover how you can create a database in MySQL and connect it with your server.
In the meanwhile, you can check out Cloudways Managed MySQL hosting, that comes with a Built-in MySQL Manager and is optimized for superior speed and performance. Developers also love Cloudways because of its Git intergration ability. The best part about Cloudways is that you don’t need to worry about managing your hosting service, as the whole service is managed. Start your FREE TRIAL now and experience the power of managed Cloud hosting with Cloudways!
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Ahmed was a PHP community expert at Cloudways - A Managed PHP Hosting Cloud Platform. He is a software engineer with extensive knowledge in PHP and SEO. He loves watching Game of Thrones is his free time. Follow Ahmed on Twitter to stay updated with his works. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org