Databases Explained - How to Use Your Database

Many applications, as we mentioned previously, such as shopping carts and secure member areas, use a database to store pertinent information. While you may never have to physically use a database, it is busy working overtime for you, even if you are not aware that it is running.

Most of these applications will automatically create the databases that they need. The required fields will be specified and then they begin to run seamlessly with that application. The entire process is usually automated and will not require much effort on your part to maintain.

However, should the need arise, it is important to have the correct tools to modify, back-up or extract data from your database. The program that you use to manage your database will be dependant on the type of database that your site is running on. Since PHP and MySQL are the primary databases for the applications we have mentioned above, we will focus on PHPMyAdmin in this column.

PHPMyAdmin is a free utility that makes it very easy to access your SQL databases. Many hosting companies will include PHPMyAdmin on your site, but if you do not have it, you will need to first download and install this application. The process is automated and is extremely easy to perform.

Once you have installed PHPMyAdmin on your server, you will need to log-in using the database access information that your hosting company provided when you created your account. This may be different from your regular site log-in information, so you will need to make sure that you have the correct username and password.

Now that you have logged in, you will see all of your databases displayed. Many applications will run on one database, but have several entries in the database. This means that your file list may be quite long, depending on the application. You can select the database that you need to modify from this list.

After you have selected the database, you will be given the option to run queries. This is a process that allows you to retrieve or add information to your database. You will need to have some PHP and SQL knowledge to perform these tasks. If you are working or trying to fix a specific application, this information should be included in your help files.

You can also use PHPMyAdmin to make a back-up of your databases, which is highly recommended. This information can either be displayed within your browser, or downloaded in a zip file.

You don’t need to be a genius to operate a database. In fact, you may never even have to touch your database to get it to operate correctly. Most applications are equipped to handle these issues without needing your intervention. However, it is a good idea to become familiar with how your database operates so that you are prepared to handle any issues that may arise.

Related Posts:
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Posted on 12/14/05 9:54 PM

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