I just tried to add a new user to MySQL using


However, it fails with the following error:

ERROR 1396 (HY000): Operation CREATE USER failed for 'name'@'%'

Adding the user just for localhost works fine:

CREATE USER 'name'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '...'

I have no clue what could be the problem. I'd be grateful for any ideas.

(I'm using mysql Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.1.66.)

  • I faced the similar issue, while CREATE / DROP the user, I verified all the grant tables for user information, I could not find any user info, I tried revoking all access and dropped the user, after sometime, the operation works, without doing any changes, I written my detailed answer here rathishkumar.in/2018/10/… Oct 22, 2018 at 8:50

2 Answers 2


According to the docs if you ommit the @'hostname' (that is CREATE USER 'name') MySQL will interpret it as it had a @'%'. The error message you provided suggests that there is already a user 'name'@'%' in the system:

mysql> CREATE USER 'name'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'test';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.04 sec)

mysql> CREATE USER 'name'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'test';
ERROR 1396 (HY000): Operation CREATE USER failed for 'name'@'%'
mysql> CREATE USER 'name' IDENTIFIED BY 'test';
ERROR 1396 (HY000): Operation CREATE USER failed for 'name'@'%'

If you delete the user and still get the message, try running FLUSH PRIVILEGES.

Also see this SO question for additional info.


I was facing this same error while using mysql:5.7 docker image. Main mistake was trying to create root user which exists by default. More information: https://github.com/docker-library/mysql/issues/129

As given in the above link, solution was to NOT set MYSQL_USER and MYSQL_PASSWORD in the environment variables while starting the docker image.

  • This helped me a lot! I didn't know why I couldn't connect to the DB in docker and never suspected this was the reason.
    – dingo_d
    Nov 20, 2019 at 16:25

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