Where does mysql store data? I found out (by using mysql>SELECT @@datadir ) that it's in var/lib/mysql - but that can't be it. I have a quite big database (4 GB) called 'bot', but all the files in the 'bot' subdirectory (var/lib/mysql/bot) have only 280KB. Where is the rest?

One more thing - 99% of the database's size is a text column in one of the tables - I know that mysql stores it in separate files, but does it create one file per record?

1 Answer 1


If you're using InnoDB and have a reasonably default configuration, tablespace data is in the ibdata files, you should have at least ibdata1 by default.

You may want to read up about its configuration:


Specifically splitting it so that each table gets its own ibdata file:


And there are some related questions:

Ibdata usage and Recommendations?

If you're not using InnoDB, disregard that :)

  • Thanks! Yes, it's innodb. That's actually quite scary that all the databases are stored in a single file... I'll certainly set innodb-file-per-table to true. Thanks again.
    – Konrad
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 12:03
  • @Konrad: that's actually pretty common. Oracle and SQL Server also store everything in a single file (although you can configure them differently)
    – user1822
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 12:11

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