If I have a table User is it faster to do something like:

SELECT * FROM user WHERE id > ? ORDER BY id LIMIT 10000

(With each subsequent query using the previous last row's id as the param)

Or to use a LIMIT with an offset, like this:

SELECT * FROM user ORDER BY id LIMIT ?, 10000

(With total number of records retrieved so far being the offset).

As an additional complication, what if I wanted to perform a similar query based on a linking table join? Like say a user could belong to multiple roles, so I wanted a query like

SELECT u.* FROM user u INNER JOIN user_roles ur ON ur.user_id = u.id WHERE ur.role_name IN ('Admin', 'SuperUser', 'etc.') LIMIT ?, 10000

Does a join affect the decision as to which style query is preferred?

1 Answer 1


OFFSET is very bad. Instead of processing the data in Order(N) time, it will take Order(N*N). This is because of the effort to skip past the "offset" rows.

Instead "remember where you left off". I go into details about such in these two blogs:

These tips apply to all versions of MySQL.

  • 1
    Thanks! I didn't realize the LIMIT clause with an offset would result in a re-read through all previous rows for each iteration.
    – Jordan0Day
    Jan 9, 2017 at 14:55
  • This is really correct answer.
    – Andrei_N
    Mar 25, 2020 at 22:03

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