Best Database Administration Tools | phpMyAdmin, MySQL WorkBench & more

Why do you need database administration tools?

database administration

In the world of dedicated hosting and dedicated server administration, one of the most important jobs is database administration. If you don’t feel like digging into the command line interface to manipulate your databases, you can choose from a plethora of Database Administration Tools.

Database administration tools provide a GUI / Web interface to automate database tasks like looking up tables, find and replace, and any other task that you may wish to run on a database. There are hundreds to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. In this article, we will cover some of the most popular database administration tools in use today on both Linux and Windows, and why you might choose to use one over the other. 

phpMyAdmin

Platforms: Linux, Mac OS, Windows
Cost: Free (Open Source)
Download Now: http://www.phpmyadmin.net/home_page/downloads.php

First released in September 9, 1998, phpMyAdmin has been the de facto standard in MySQL database administration for years. It boasts a full featured and easy to use web interface, and its cross platform and open source design makes it an attractive option for most server administrators. You’ll find phpMyAdmin loaded into most cPanel installations. It’s a solid and well-tested interface.

Pros:
-Multiserver administration
-Export data in formats like CSV, SQL, or PDF
-Global database searching
-Long history of solid performance
-Not very resource intensive

Cons:
-While phpMyAdmin has the simplest interface of all of the tools we tested, it can still be a little complex for novice users.

MySQL WorkBench

Platforms: Linux, Mac OS, Windows
Cost: Free and Paid Versions Available
Download Now: http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/workbench/

MySQL Workbench is another very popular choice of database administration tools. Designed for the more advanced database administrator, you are sure to find almost every database function you need inside MySQL Workbench. It takes nearly every SQL task and brings them into a graphical user interface. It is a powerful database administration tool with visual interfaces for creating, optimizing, and executing MySQL queries. The software also has options for viewing users, database health, and configuring SQL servers. As you’ll experience with the tool, it has pretty much everything you need. This comes at a price though. A lot of users complain that Workbench is just too complicated.

Pros:
-Very full featured
-Can utilize nearly every SQL command you may need in a GUI

Cons:
-It can be quite complicated and difficult to learn
-Complicated to perform simple tasks
-Tends to be slower than other tools on the market
-Fairly resource intensive

SQL Server Management Studio

Platform: Windows
Cost: Free, but runs on Windows Server which requires license
Download Now: http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=7593

We haven’t forgotten about the Windows server administrators. Looking for something to manage your Microsoft Server SQL instances? Look no further than SQL Server Management Studio from Microsoft. Designed to work perfectly with your Windows Server machine, this might be the right tool for you if you’re looking for something tailor made to that platform.

Pros:
-Designed for Microsoft Server

Cons:
-Resource intensive and only works on one platform
-Requires Microsoft licensing
-May be less actively updated because it’s not open source

SQL Web Data Administrator

Platform: Windows
Cost: Free
Download Now: https://sqlwebadmin.codeplex.com/

Looking for a database administration tool for Windows like phpMyAdmin, but with a more basic web interface? SQL Web Data Administrator may be right for you. The web panel provides your users with a very simple solution for performing basic database commands. It’s a really lightweight application, so you won’t see much of your system resources used by this application. But most users complain that it just isn’t as full featured as phpMyAdmin for a dedicated hosting environment.

Pros:
-Manage user roles easily
-Perform basis database operations with just a few clicks
-Basic web interface

Cons:
-Limited functionality
-Windows only

Emma

Platform: Linux
Cost: Free (Open Source)
Download Now: http://freecode.com/projects/emma

Emma is the database administration tool for you if you’re looking for a lighter alternative to the MySQL Workbench with a simple interface for advanced users. Featuring CSV exports, a full featured SQL editor, and simultaneous server administration, Emma is a really neat tool. Compared to other tools though, Emma is very basic. If you’re looking to do complicated tasks, you’re better off with phpMyAdmin or MySQL Workbench.

Pros:
-Simple, easy to use design
-Lightweight

Cons:
-Users describe Emma as “limited”
-Missing software functions, such as undo, multi-item selection, and syntax highlighting


What tools do you love and what interfaces do you find too difficult?

Finding the best database administration tool for your dedicated server is an important decision for any server administrator. We covered some of the more popular tools, but which tools do you use to manage your dedicated hosting databases? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Dedicated Servers