phpMyAdmin does not apply any special security methods to the MySQL database server. It is still the system administrator’s job to grant permissions on the MySQL databases properly. phpMyAdmin’s Users page can be used for this.
Mac users should note that if you are on a version before Mac OS X, StuffIt unstuffs with Mac formats. So you’ll have to resave as in BBEdit to Unix style ALL phpMyAdmin scripts before uploading them to your server, as PHP seems not to like Mac-style end of lines character (“\r”).
phpMyAdmin is included in most Linux distributions. It is recommended to use distribution packages when possible - they usually provide integration to your distribution and you will automatically get security updates from your distribution.
Debian’s package repositories include a phpMyAdmin package, but be aware that the configuration file is maintained in /etc/phpmyadmin and may differ in some ways from the official phpMyAdmin documentation.
OpenSUSE already comes with phpMyAdmin package, just install packages from the openSUSE Build Service.
Ubuntu ships phpMyAdmin package, however if you want to use recent version, you can use packages from PPA for Michal Čihař.
Gentoo ships the phpMyAdmin package, both in a near stock configuration as well as in a webapp-config configuration. Use emerge dev-db/phpmyadmin to install.
Mandriva ships the phpMyAdmin package in their contrib branch and can be installed via the usual Control Center.
Fedora ships the phpMyAdmin package, but be aware that the configuration file is maintained in /etc/phpMyAdmin/ and may differ in some ways from the official phpMyAdmin documentation.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux¶
Red Hat Enterprise Linux itself and thus derivatives like CentOS don’t ship phpMyAdmin, but the Fedora-driven repository Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) is doing so, if it’s enabled. But be aware that the configuration file is maintained in /etc/phpMyAdmin/ and may differ in some ways from the official phpMyAdmin documentation.
Installing on Windows¶
The easiest way to get phpMyAdmin on Windows is using third party products which include phpMyAdmin together with a database and web server such as XAMPP.
You can find more of such options at Wikipedia.
- Choose an appropriate distribution kit from the phpmyadmin.net Downloads page. Some kits contain only the English messages, others contain all languages. We’ll assume you chose a kit whose name looks like phpMyAdmin-x.x.x -all-languages.tar.gz.
- Untar or unzip the distribution (be sure to unzip the subdirectories): tar -xzvf phpMyAdmin_x.x.x-all-languages.tar.gz in your webserver’s document root. If you don’t have direct access to your document root, put the files in a directory on your local machine, and, after step 4, transfer the directory on your web server using, for example, ftp.
- Ensure that all the scripts have the appropriate owner (if PHP is running in safe mode, having some scripts with an owner different from the owner of other scripts will be a problem). See 4.2 What’s the preferred way of making phpMyAdmin secure against evil access? and 1.26 I just installed phpMyAdmin in my document root of IIS but I get the error “No input file specified” when trying to run phpMyAdmin. for suggestions.
- Now you must configure your installation. There are two methods that can be used. Traditionally, users have hand-edited a copy of config.inc.php, but now a wizard-style setup script is provided for those who prefer a graphical installation. Creating a config.inc.php is still a quick way to get started and needed for some advanced features.
Manually creating the file¶
To manually create the file, simply use your text editor to create the file config.inc.php (you can copy config.sample.inc.php to get a minimal configuration file) in the main (top-level) phpMyAdmin directory (the one that contains index.php). phpMyAdmin first loads libraries/config.default.php and then overrides those values with anything found in config.inc.php. If the default value is okay for a particular setting, there is no need to include it in config.inc.php. You’ll probably need only a few directives to get going; a simple configuration may look like this:
<?php $cfg['blowfish_secret'] = 'ba17c1ec07d65003'; // use here a value of your choice $i=0; $i++; $cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type'] = 'cookie'; ?>
Or, if you prefer to not be prompted every time you log in:
<?php $i=0; $i++; $cfg['Servers'][$i]['user'] = 'root'; $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = 'cbb74bc'; // use here your password $cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_type'] = 'config'; ?>
For a full explanation of possible configuration values, see the Configuration of this document.
Using Setup script¶
Instead of manually editing config.inc.php, you can use the Setup Script. First you must manually create a folder config in the phpMyAdmin directory. This is a security measure. On a Linux/Unix system you can use the following commands:
cd phpMyAdmin mkdir config # create directory for saving chmod o+rw config # give it world writable permissions
And to edit an existing configuration, copy it over first:
cp config.inc.php config/ # copy current configuration for editing chmod o+w config/config.inc.php # give it world writable permissions
On other platforms, simply create the folder and ensure that your web server has read and write access to it. 1.26 I just installed phpMyAdmin in my document root of IIS but I get the error “No input file specified” when trying to run phpMyAdmin. can help with this.
Next, open setup/ in your browser. If you have an existing configuration, use the Load button to bring its content inside the setup panel. Note that changes are not saved to disk until you explicitly choose ``Save`` from the Configuration area of the screen. Normally the script saves the new config.inc.php to the config/ directory, but if the webserver does not have the proper permissions you may see the error “Cannot load or save configuration.” Ensure that the config/ directory exists and has the proper permissions - or use the Download link to save the config file locally and upload it (via FTP or some similar means) to the proper location.
Once the file has been saved, it must be moved out of the config/ directory and the permissions must be reset, again as a security measure:
mv config/config.inc.php . # move file to current directory chmod o-rw config.inc.php # remove world read and write permissions rm -rf config # remove not needed directory
Now the file is ready to be used. You can choose to review or edit the file with your favorite editor, if you prefer to set some advanced options which the setup script does not provide.
- If you are using the auth_type “config”, it is suggested that you protect the phpMyAdmin installation directory because using config does not require a user to enter a password to access the phpMyAdmin installation. Use of an alternate authentication method is recommended, for example with HTTP–AUTH in a .htaccess file or switch to using auth_type cookie or http. See the ISPs, multi-user installations for additional information, especially 4.4 phpMyAdmin always gives “Access denied” when using HTTP authentication..
- Open the main phpMyAdmin directory in your browser. phpMyAdmin should now display a welcome screen and your databases, or a login dialog if using HTTP or cookie authentication mode.
- You should deny access to the ./libraries and ./setup/lib subfolders in your webserver configuration. For Apache you can use supplied .htaccess file in that folder, for other webservers, you should configure this yourself. Such configuration prevents from possible path exposure and cross side scripting vulnerabilities that might happen to be found in that code.
- It is generally a good idea to protect a public phpMyAdmin installation against access by robots as they usually can not do anything good there. You can do this using robots.txt file in root of your webserver or limit access by web server configuration, see 1.42 How can I prevent robots from accessing phpMyAdmin?.
phpMyAdmin configuration storage¶
For a whole set of additional features (bookmarks, comments, SQL-history, tracking mechanism, PDF-generation, column contents transformation, etc.) you need to create a set of special tables. Those tables can be located in your own database, or in a central database for a multi-user installation (this database would then be accessed by the controluser, so no other user should have rights to it).
Please look at your ./examples/ directory, where you should find a file called create_tables.sql. (If you are using a Windows server, pay special attention to 1.23 I’m running MySQL on a Win32 machine. Each time I create a new table the table and column names are changed to lowercase!).
If you already had this infrastructure and upgraded to MySQL 4.1.2 or newer, please use examples/upgrade_tables_mysql_4_1_2+.sql and then create new tables by importing examples/create_tables.sql.
You can use your phpMyAdmin to create the tables for you. Please be aware that you may need special (administrator) privileges to create the database and tables, and that the script may need some tuning, depending on the database name.
After having imported the examples/create_tables.sql file, you should specify the table names in your config.inc.php file. The directives used for that can be found in the Configuration.
You will also need to have a controluser ($cfg['Servers'][$i]['controluser'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controlpass'] settings) with the proper rights to those tables. For example you can create it using following statement:
GRANT SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE ON <pma_db>.* TO 'pma'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'pmapass';
Upgrading from an older version¶
Simply copy config.inc.php from your previous installation into the newly unpacked one. Configuration files from old versions may require some tweaking as some options have been changed or removed. For compatibility with PHP 6, remove a set_magic_quotes_runtime(0); statement that you might find near the end of your configuration file.
You should not copy libraries/config.default.php over config.inc.php because the default configuration file is version- specific.
If you have upgraded your MySQL server from a version previous to 4.1.2 to version 5.x or newer and if you use the phpMyAdmin configuration storage, you should run the SQL script found in examples/upgrade_tables_mysql_4_1_2+.sql.
Using authentication modes¶
HTTP and cookie authentication modes are recommended in a multi-user environment where you want to give users access to their own database and don’t want them to play around with others. Nevertheless be aware that MS Internet Explorer seems to be really buggy about cookies, at least till version 6. Even in a single-user environment, you might prefer to use HTTP or cookie mode so that your user/password pair are not in clear in the configuration file.
HTTP and cookie authentication modes are more secure: the MySQL login information does not need to be set in the phpMyAdmin configuration file (except possibly for the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['controluser']). However, keep in mind that the password travels in plain text, unless you are using the HTTPS protocol. In cookie mode, the password is stored, encrypted with the blowfish algorithm, in a temporary cookie.
Then each of the true users should be granted a set of privileges on a set of particular databases. Normally you shouldn’t give global privileges to an ordinary user, unless you understand the impact of those privileges (for example, you are creating a superuser). For example, to grant the user real_user with all privileges on the database user_base:
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON user_base.* TO 'real_user'@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'real_password';
What the user may now do is controlled entirely by the MySQL user management system. With HTTP or cookie authentication mode, you don’t need to fill the user/password fields inside the $cfg['Servers'].
HTTP authentication mode¶
- Uses HTTP Basic authentication method and allows you to log in as any valid MySQL user.
- Is supported with most PHP configurations. For IIS (ISAPI) support using CGI PHP see 1.32 Can I use HTTP authentication with IIS?, for using with Apache CGI see 1.35 Can I use HTTP authentication with Apache CGI?.
- See also 4.4 phpMyAdmin always gives “Access denied” when using HTTP authentication. about not using the .htaccess mechanism along with ‘HTTP‘ authentication mode.
Signon authentication mode¶
- This mode is a convenient way of using credentials from another application to authenticate to phpMyAdmin.
- The other application has to store login information into session data.
Config authentication mode¶
- This mode is sometimes the less secure one because it requires you to fill the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['user'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] fields (and as a result, anyone who can read your config.inc.php can discover your username and password).
- In the ISPs, multi-user installations section, there is an entry explaining how to protect your configuration file.
- For additional security in this mode, you may wish to consider the Host authentication $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowDeny']['order'] and $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowDeny']['rules'] configuration directives.
- Unlike cookie and http, does not require a user to log in when first loading the phpMyAdmin site. This is by design but could allow any user to access your installation. Use of some restriction method is suggested, perhaps a .htaccess file with the HTTP-AUTH directive or disallowing incoming HTTP requests at one’s router or firewall will suffice (both of which are beyond the scope of this manual but easily searchable with Google).
Swekey authentication mode¶
The Swekey is a low cost authentication USB key that can be used in web applications. When Swekey authentication is activated, phpMyAdmin requires the users’s Swekey to be plugged before entering the login page (currently supported for cookie authentication mode only). Swekey Authentication is disabled by default. To enable it, add the following line to config.inc.php:
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['auth_swekey_config'] = '/etc/swekey.conf';
You then have to create the swekey.conf file that will associate each user with their Swekey Id. It is important to place this file outside of your web server’s document root (in the example, it is located in /etc). A self documented sample file is provided in the examples directory. Feel free to use it with your own users’ information. If you want to purchase a Swekey please visit http://phpmyadmin.net/auth_key since this link provides funding for phpMyAdmin.
Securing your phpMyAdmin installation¶
The phpMyAdmin team tries hard to make the application secure, however there are always ways to make your installation more secure:
- remove setup directory from phpMyAdmin, you will probably not use it after initial setup
- properly choose authentication method - Cookie authentication mode is probably the best choice for shared hosting
- in case you don’t want all MySQL users to be able to access phpMyAdmin, you can use $cfg['Servers'][$i]['AllowDeny']['rules'] to limit them
- consider hiding phpMyAdmin behind authentication proxy, so that MySQL credentials are not all users need to login
- if you are afraid of automated attacks, enabling Captcha by $cfg['CaptchaLoginPublicKey'] and $cfg['CaptchaLoginPrivateKey'] might be an option.