Should I add INDEX to my VARCHAR column? I need to select rows with a string, not with ID, will it speed my queries?


SELECT * FROM `cities` WHERE `slug` = 'new-york';
  • 4
    What is a slug? Mar 4, 2019 at 9:30
  • Yes. you can but the field should be an index key
    – Dev Ramesh
    Mar 4, 2019 at 9:45
  • @ypercubeᵀᴹ A slug is the part of a URL which identifies a particular page on a website in an easy to read form. For example, SELECT * FROM countries WHERE slug = 'new-york';
    – Shahin
    Mar 4, 2019 at 10:08
  • Should I add UNIQUE constraint to my slug column? I need to select rows with a slug, will it be helpful? No. Constraint is not relative to performance.
    – Akina
    Mar 4, 2019 at 10:17
  • @Akina In MYSQL UNIQUE automatically adds INDEX to the column. By saying "Should I add UNIQUE constraint to my slug column?" I mean that should I add INDEX to my column?
    – Shahin
    Mar 4, 2019 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


You plan to have queries of the type:

SELECT * FROM cities WHERE slug = 'new-york';

So, yes, you should definitely have an index on (slug).

Should it be UNIQUE index or a UNIQUE constraint?

That depends on whether you allow to have two rows in the table with same "slug". I think this is unlikely to be a requirement, as "slugs" are usually short terms to uniquely identify a thing (user, city, country, web page, etc).

So, yes, the index should be UNIQUE. MySQL makes no difference between UNIQUE INDEX and UNIQUE CONSTRAINT. I prefer to use the UNIQUE constraint syntax (which adds a UNIQUE index):

    ADD CONSTRAINT cities_slug_uq     -- constraint name
        UNIQUE cities_sluq_uqx        -- index name
        (slug) ;

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