How to Reset MySQL or MariaDB Root Password in Linux

If you are setting up a MySQL or MariaDB database server for the first time, chances are you will be running mysql_secure_installation soon afterwards to implement basic security settings.

One of these settings is the password for the database root account – which you must keep private and use only when strictly required. If you forget the password or need to reset it (for example, when a database administrator changes roles – or is laid off!).

This article will come in handy. We will explain how to reset or recover forgottent MySQL or MariaDB root password in Linux.

Although we will use a MariaDB server in this article, the instructions should work for MySQL as well.

Recover MySQL or MariaDB root Password

To begin, stop the database service and check the service status, we should see the environment variable we set previously:

------------- SystemD ------------- 
# systemctl stop mariadb
------------- SysVinit -------------
# /etc/init.d/mysqld stop

Next, start the service with --skip-grant-tables:

------------- SystemD ------------- 
# systemctl set-environment MYSQLD_OPTS="--skip-grant-tables"
# systemctl start mariadb
# systemctl status mariadb
------------- SysVinit -------------
# mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &
Start MySQL/MariaDB with Skip Tables

Start MySQL/MariaDB with Skip Tables

This will allow you to connect to the database server as root without a password (you may need to switch to a different terminal to do so):

# mysql -u root

From then on, follow the steps outlined below.

MariaDB [(none)]> USE mysql;
MariaDB [(none)]> UPDATE user SET password=PASSWORD('YourNewPasswordHere') WHERE User='root' AND Host = 'localhost';
MariaDB [(none)]> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

Finally, stop the service, unset the environment variable and start the service once again:

------------- SystemD ------------- 
# systemctl stop mariadb
# systemctl unset-environment MYSQLD_OPTS
# systemctl start mariadb
------------- SysVinit -------------
# /etc/init.d/mysql stop
# /etc/init.d/mysql start

This will cause the previous changes to take effect, allowing you to connect to the database server using the new password.

  • mysql, mariadb, password reset
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