How To Reinstall MySQL v5.x On Linux

My MySQL database installation has been corrupted. I would like to delete old mysql server. How do I reinstall MySQL database server version 5.x on Linux or Unix-like oses? A software upgrade broke my system. How can I uninstall and re-install mysql again to get fresh full mysql again?

Tutorial details
Difficulty level Intermediate
Root privileges Yes
Requirements None
Est. reading time 20m
You can easily reinstall mysql server on Linux or Unix-like operating system. The steps are as follows:

  1. Backup database and all config files
  2. Erase/uninstall existing mysql server/client.
  3. Delete all files data directory.
  4. Delete all mysql config files.
  5. Completely reinstall mysql server.
  6. Restore config files and database.

Step #1: Backup backup backup

Make a backup – it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to make a backup of your system before you do this. You need to backup

  1. MySQL database data directory (e.g. /var/lib/mysql/.
  2. MySQL databases using mysqldump command.
  3. Mysql config files /etc/my.cnf, /etc/logrotate.d/mysqld, and other files.
  4. Mysql log files (e.g. /var/log/mysqld.log.

In this example, I am backing up all important files on CentOS/RHEL 6.x based server:
# mkdir /root/mysql-files/
# tar zcvf /root/mysql-files/mysql.config-files.dd-mm-yyyy.tar.gz /etc/logrotate.d/mysqld /var/log/mysqld.log /etc/my.cnf /root/my.cnf /var/lib/mysql/

In this example, I am backing up all databases using a shell script called

# Dump MySQL databases.
# Note: Test only on RHEL/CentOS/Debian/Ubuntu Linux.
# Author: nixCraft <> Under GPL v2.0+
# -----------------------------------------------------
NOW=$(date +"%d-%m-%Y")
MYSQL="$(which mysql)"
MYSQLDUMP="$(which mysqldump)"
GZIP="$(which gzip)"
if [ ! -d $BAK ]; then
  mkdir -p $BAK
DBS="$($MYSQL -u $MUSER -h $MHOST -p$MPASS -Bse 'show databases')"
echo -n "Dumping...${THISDB}..."
for db in $DBS
 echo -n "$db "
 FILE=$BAK/mysql-$db.$NOW-$(date +"%T").gz
echo -n  "...Done @ ${BAK} directory."
echo ""

Run it as follows
$ ./
Sample outputs: cyberciti mysql...Done @ /root/mysql-files/08-12-2013 directory.

Verify backups:
# ls -l /root/mysql-files/08-12-2013
Sample outputs:

-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  1836687 Dec  8 04:00 mysql-blog.08-12-2013-04:00:18.gz
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root  7152648 Dec  8 04:00 mysql-cyberciti.08-12-2013-04:00:25.gz
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   135530 Dec  8 04:00 mysql-mysql.08-12-2013-04:00:41.gz

I suggest that you read our previous guide “HowTo: Migrate / Move MySQL Database And Users To New Server” for more information.

Step #2: Erase/Delete MySQL server

If you are using Debian/Ubuntu Linux type the following apt-get command:
$ sudo apt-get purge mysql-server mysql-common mysql-client
Sample outputs:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package mysql-client is not installed, so not removed
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  libnet-daemon-perl libdbi-perl libterm-readkey-perl mysql-server-core-5.5 mysql-client-core-5.5
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  libdbd-mysql-perl* libmysqlclient18* mysql-client-5.5* mysql-common* mysql-server*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 6 to remove and 2 not upgraded.
After this operation, 67.3 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y
(Reading database ... 82128 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing mysql-server ...
Removing mysql-server-5.5 ...
mysql stop/waiting
Purging configuration files for mysql-server-5.5 ...
Removing mysql-client-5.5 ...
Removing libdbd-mysql-perl ...
Removing libmysqlclient18 ...
Purging configuration files for libmysqlclient18 ...
Removing mysql-common ...
Purging configuration files for mysql-common ...
dpkg: warning: while removing mysql-common, directory '/etc/mysql' not empty so not removed.
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Processing triggers for ureadahead ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin ...
ldconfig deferred processing now taking place

Delete config/database/log files using rm command:
$ sudo rm -rvfi /var/lib/mysql /etc/mysql/ /var/log/mysql*

If you are using CentOS/RHEL/Fedora/Red Hat/Scientific Linux type the following yum command to uninstall mysql:
# yum remove mysql mysql-server
Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: product-id, rhnplugin, security, subscription-manager
This system is not registered to Red Hat Subscription Management. You can use subscription-manager to register.
This system is receiving updates from RHN Classic or RHN Satellite.
Setting up Remove Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package mysql.x86_64 0:5.1.71-1.el6 will be erased
---> Package mysql-server.x86_64 0:5.1.71-1.el6 will be erased
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
 Package                Arch             Version                Repository                       Size
 mysql                  x86_64           5.1.71-1.el6           @rhel-x86_64-server-6           2.4 M
 mysql-server           x86_64           5.1.71-1.el6           @rhel-x86_64-server-6            25 M
Transaction Summary
Remove        2 Package(s)
Installed size: 27 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Erasing    : mysql-server-5.1.71-1.el6.x86_64                                                   1/2 
  Erasing    : mysql-5.1.71-1.el6.x86_64                                                          2/2 
  Verifying  : mysql-server-5.1.71-1.el6.x86_64                                                   1/2 
  Verifying  : mysql-5.1.71-1.el6.x86_64                                                          2/2 
  mysql.x86_64 0:5.1.71-1.el6                    mysql-server.x86_64 0:5.1.71-1.el6                   

Delete config/database/log files using rm command:
# rm -rfvi /etc/my.cnf /var/lib/mysql/ /var/log/mysqld.log

Step #3: Reinstall mysql database server

If you are using CentOS/RHEL/Fedora/Red Hat/Scientific Linux type the following yum command to install mysql:
# yum install mysql mysql-server

If you are using Debian/Ubuntu Linux type the following apt-get command:
$ sudo apt-get install mysql-client mysql-server mysql-common

Step #4: Restore config files and databases

Restore all config files and databases as demonstrated in step #1. See how to restore a backup of a mysql database:
$ gunzip mysql-blog.08-12-2013-04:00:18.gz
$ mysql -u root -p mysql -e 'CREATE DATABASE blog;'
$ mysql -u root -p blog < mysql-blog.08-12-2013-04\:00\:18

Restore mysql config file as follows:
# tar xvf /root/mysql-files/mysql.config-files.dd-mm-yyyy.tar.gz -C /root/backups/
# cp /root/backups/etc/my.cnf /etc
# service mysqld restart

This entry is 5 of 5 in the CentOS Linux MySQL Server Tutorial series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. CentOS install Mysql database server
  2. CentOS install MySQL client only
  3. MySQL Create a user accounts
  4. MySQL Create a database & tables and data
  5. Reinstall MySQL On Linux

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🐧 10 comments so far... add one

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10 comments… add one
  • bob Dec 10, 2013 @ 8:26

    Thank you mate, just a simple thank you!

  • n.arshad Aug 25, 2014 @ 4:37

    nice explanation!!!!!!!!!!! thank u very much……..

  • Dexter Nov 26, 2014 @ 6:29

    insert mysqldomp option “-B” for add sql command “CREATE DATABASE ” in sql file

    then mysql -uroot -ppassword < dbl.sql

  • marc Jan 30, 2015 @ 16:42

    After reinstall I cannot start the mysqld. I get the errors
    /sbin/service mysqld start
    Cannot check for MySQL Daemon startup because of mysqladmin failure.
    Starting mysqld: [FAILED]

    command line statements like mysql -u root -p produces
    Bus error

  • 338A Aug 3, 2015 @ 3:22

    i like the tutorial. thanks for helping trouble with my vps

  • Neo Jan 21, 2016 @ 18:38

    After reinstalling, I cannot access with root password. Not sure how to get it.

  • nvirenque Mar 15, 2016 @ 20:37

    Many thanks,
    my install was totally broken and reinstall correct it.

  • krisna Jul 2, 2016 @ 22:12

    thanks!! it helps!

  • zero Jul 8, 2016 @ 19:15


  • Zeeshan Apr 6, 2017 @ 9:09

    You can use rm -rvf /var/lib/mysql /etc/mysql/ /var/log/mysql* instead of rm -rvfi /var/lib/mysql /etc/mysql/ /var/log/mysql* else it will keep asking for a confirmation before deleting each file, and there are many files to be deleted.

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