laptop with MySQL version 8 logo

Upgrading to MySQL 8 on All SiteGround Servers

A few weeks ago we initiated an upgrade to MySQL 8 across our servers. That came as a result of a long process of monitoring and testing the compatibility of this version with our clients’ websites, until we concluded that MySQL 8 is highly compatible with major applications hosted on our platform and safe to switch to.

MySQL is a fundamental piece of software in our stack, used by the great majority of our clients to power up their databases. Its optimal functioning has a great impact on the overall website performance and availability. That is why the SiteGround team dedicates a lot of resources to optimize and customize our MySQL, always aiming to squeeze out better and better performance. To achieve this goal over the years, we introduced various customizations such as our unique MySQL setup, and we carefully plan and test any new MySQL version upgrades, making sure the benefits outweigh the potential damages such an upgrade could bring. We are now confident that MySQL version 8 is largely compatible and our clients can safely take advantage of the enhanced database performance, scalability, and coding optimizations it brings along.

What is the plan for the MySQL update?

First, we would like to announce that all new websites created on our shared servers and all newly created cloud accounts now come with MySQL 8 by default.

Second, the migration process to MySQL 8 of existing shared sites is now in progress. Once our shared servers are updated, we will start updating the Cloud instances too. The process will continue in the next few months. According to our schedule, we plan to have migrated all our customers to MySQL 8 by the end of June this year.

To make the transition as easy and smooth for you as possible, we are sending you emails at least one week in advance to inform you on what dates exactly we are going to upgrade your website to MySQL 8. The upgrade procedure is performed late at night when the traffic to the server is minimal. A brief service interruption may occur while updating the software. No action is required on your side in relation to the migration.

What is new in MySQL 8?

MySQL 8 introduces a variety of new features and improvements of old functionalities all aiming to improve the overall performance and scalability as well as developer experience. Here are some of the most notable ones.

Better performance and scalability

MySQL 8 offers better performance and scalability. Benchmark tests show better results in terms of both performance and scalability for MySQL 8 compared to MySQL 5.7. The tests show that MySQL 8 is handling read/write operations much better and the number of processed transactions is much higher.

Furthermore, the tests show that MySQL 8 utilizes the hardware much better compared to 5.7.

Here are some of the improvements that make this possible:

  • Scaling Read/Write Workloads

MySQL 8 shows better performance on intensive read/write and more than 2 times better performance on high loads is observed compared to MySQL 5.7.

  • Better Performance upon High Contention Loads

Performance for high contention workloads has been significantly improved in MySQL 8. A high contention workload occurs when multiple transactions are waiting for a lock on the same row in a table, causing queues of waiting transactions.

In MySQL 8, such bursts are dealt with much better in terms of transactions per second and latency. That leads to better hardware utilization (efficiency), as the system needs less spare resources and can thus run with a higher average load.

  • Native partitioning/InnoDB Pool Enhancement

MySQL 8 supports native partitioning for the InnoDB engine. That allows you to split large tables into smaller partitions. This can improve query performance and reduce storage requirements, especially for large tables. The new MySQL version also introduces enhancements of the InnoDB pool. The pool is responsible for caching the data and reducing I/O operations.

Common table expressions (CTEs)

With the latest MySQL 8 version, you can now take advantage of common table expressions as well. A common table expression is a result set which exists only temporarily while executing a statement that can later be used in the same statement.

These CTEs allow for creating more complex queries by using simpler blocks, based on temporary tables. In other words, common table expressions allow the usage of named temporary result sets.

Default character change

The default character in MySQL 8 is changed to utf8mb4.

One of the most notable differences between utf8, utf8mb3, and utf8mb4 is the maximum number of bytes per character. While utf8 and utf8mb3 can only store characters in the BMP (Basic Multilingual Plane) of Unicode, utf8mb4 can store characters in the Supplementary Plane. utf8mb4 supports a wide range of characters, including emojis and other special characters.

Invisible indexes

Another new feature in MySQL 8 are the invisible indexes. Generally, indexes are used by the MySQL query optimizer to improve the speed with which data is retrieved, while invisible indexes are the ones that are hidden from the MySQL query optimizer and make it possible to test removing an index on query performance, without making a destructive change.

For example, if you are working with a very large table with a few indexes, and you want to optimize it further by removing certain indexes and adding new ones. Imagine that you know that you will need these indexes in the future. Removing them in the first place might be dangerous, because building them again later on takes lots of resources. To avoid this, you can now simply use invisible indexes – make some existing ones into invisible ones, test whatever you need with the new ones, and then bring them back, when needed, by making them visible again.

Why is now the right time to migrate?

As MySQL is such a fundamental technology, major updates happen rarely and take a long time to be universally adopted. MySQL 8 was first released in 2018, but it took several years for the majority of the websites and their underlying applications to become compatible with it. We were constantly monitoring the level of compatibility and have chosen the current update time, as we have seen that now the risk of negatively impacting a website with the upgrade has greatly diminished. Since the update started a few weeks ago, we have already seamlessly moved hundreds of thousands of sites to MySQL 8.

Daniel Kanchev

Director Product Development

Daniel is responsible for bringing new products to life at SiteGround. This involves handling all types of tasks and communication across multiple teams. Enthusiastic about technology, user experience, security and performance, you can never be bored hanging around him. Also an occasional conference speaker and travel addict.

Comments ( 23 )

author avatar

DevCodeGPT

Apr 17, 2024

Anyway to manually init the upgrade? I have a few sites running Django that is no longer compatible with 5.7.44.

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

Apr 19, 2024

Hey there, currently, we are in the process of actively upgrading all our clients to MySQL as quickly as possible, with an ETA for completion by the end of June. Unfortunately, manual upgrades are not possible, and we are not prioritizing migrations based on specific applications. However, we would be happy to check your account and provide more detailed information regarding when your server is scheduled for an update. To do so, please reach out directly to our support team by following the steps outlined here: stgrnd.co/contactus/. We look forward to hearing from you.

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author avatar

Roger Clarke

Apr 19, 2024

This is very welcome, especially as Joomla 5 has a minimum requirement of MySQL 8. But I've asked Siteground support on a couple of occasions over the last 12 months what plans Siteground have for MySQL 8, and they have been unable to give any information at all, to the point that I was starting to consider options for moving to another provider. Clearly work on this has been going on for a long time, and sharing just some high level intentions (e.g. we plan for shared hosting to be running on MySQL 8 before Joomla 4 is out of support) would have been very reassuring. The first I've heard about this is a 10 day notice that one of my accounts would be migrating. Looking forward to it.

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

Apr 22, 2024

Hey there, thank you for your feedback. Our approach was to ensure that all details and edge cases were thoroughly checked before committing to a strict plan and publicly informing our clients about the next steps. However, we have been gradually notifying clients whose servers were scheduled for an update as part of our step-by-step rollout, to ensure that there are no major issues during the migration. Our main priority was to avoid providing information that could potentially change, leading to confusion. We hope this clarifies, and we appreciate your patience throughout this process. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out directly to our support team. Here are the steps: stgrnd.co/contactus/.

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author avatar

Matthew Brown

Apr 19, 2024

Hi Our site is https://www.propress.co.uk - if the migration to MySQL 8 doesn't work for our site will we be able to roll back to 5.7?

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

Apr 22, 2024

Hey there, the chances of the migration to MySQL 8 not working for your site are very slim. However, if any issues occur, our support team is available 24/7 to assist and resolve any problems. While we don’t roll back versions once upgraded, we are committed to ensuring that your site runs smoothly on MySQL 8.

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author avatar

Susie

Apr 20, 2024

My website is down. How do I upgrade to get it running again?

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

Apr 22, 2024

Hey there, we are sorry to hear about the trouble you are experiencing. We would be happy to check your account and provide more detailed information regarding when your server is scheduled for an update. To do so, please reach out directly to our support team by following the steps outlined in this article: stgrnd.co/contactus/. We look forward to hearing from you.

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author avatar

fatu

Apr 21, 2024

good evening

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author avatar

fccefc

Apr 24, 2024

Hi, our website, fccefc.org, is down, and we can't log in through the admin account. After password logging in, it returns "Unknown column 'a.client_id' in 'where clause', which seems related to MySQL upgrade.

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

Apr 24, 2024

Hey there, upon checking your account, we can confirm that it's still on MySQL 5.7, so the error isn't related to the update. To troubleshoot it, consider restoring a backup from before the issue started occurring. If the issue persists after the restore, you can check your plugins to see if one of them is causing a conflict. You can disable all plugins from Site Tools -> WordPress -> Install & Manage -> click on the Actions menu next to the entry for your website -> Disable all plugins. Additionally, you can always reach out directly to our support team. Here are the steps: stgrnd.co/contactus/. They'll be happy to help and investigate further.

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author avatar

Dom

Apr 25, 2024

Interesting! For smoother transition, do you confirm it's best to already use the character encoding utf8mb4 ? Your post made me check the "Charset" in (a) phpMyAdmin and in (b) the wp-config.php file, for one website... and I just changed the configuration from utf8 to utf8mb4 (for 1 site so far).

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

Apr 25, 2024

Hey there, thanks for the question. Indeed, it is best to use utf8mb4 over utf8. The difference is that utf8 can encode up to 3 bytes per character; however, there are Unicode characters that require 4 bytes to encode. This essentially means that utf8 cannot support all Unicode characters. utf8mb4 can encode up to 4 bytes per character and fully supports Unicode, including emojis and other special characters. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out directly to our support team. They would be happy to answer all your questions. Here are the steps: stgrnd.co/contactus/

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author avatar

Gordon

Apr 30, 2024

Obviously you would have migrated Joomla sites already, so how is that CMS fairing in the compatibility stakes. Also, apart from the encoding, is there anything Joomla admins can do to smooth the transistion?

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

May 07, 2024

Hey there, not all Joomla websites have migrated to MySQL 8. The new versions of Joomla require MySQL 8, so unless you are using specific modules or components that require MySQL 5.7 (if you're unsure, contact the developers of the modules or components you're using), you should not be concerned about the MySQL upgrade. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to our support team. Here are the steps to follow: stgrnd.co/contactus/. They are available 24/7 and would be happy to help.

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author avatar

DDAC

May 03, 2024

OSTickets stopped working - and impacting operations. "Composer detected issues in your platform: Your Composer dependencies require a PHP version ">= 8.1.0"." Any thoughts?

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

May 07, 2024

Hey there, it seems that the error is related to the PHP version in use, not the MySQL version. You can change your PHP version from Site Tools to see if the issue persists. Here are the steps: https://eu.siteground.com/kb/what-is-managed-php/#What_is_Manual_PHP_Versions_Management. If you require further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to our support team: stgrnd.co/contactus. They will be happy to help.

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author avatar

Phil B.

May 09, 2024

Hi - I assume for my site, which is running Joomla 3.10.12 with PHP 7.4.33, the MySQL upgrade (from 5.7) to version 8 should be "seamless"?

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

May 10, 2024

Hey there, that is indeed correct. We strive to make the process as seamless as possible by performing the upgrade late at night when traffic is minimal. We also inform you via email one week in advance about the exact date, and no action is required on your end for the migration. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to our support team via the steps outlined in the article: stgrnd.co/contactus. They are available 24/7 and would be happy to help.

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author avatar

pcbfacile

May 10, 2024

we have a site based on prestashop 1.6.1.24 is mysql 8 compatible with such a platfrom?

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

May 15, 2024

Hey there, PrestaShop 1.6.1.24 was primarily designed to work with versions of MySQL up to 5.7. When it comes to MySQL 8, there are significant changes and improvements, including changes to the default character set, authentication method, and other functionalities that might not be fully compatible with older applications not explicitly updated to support these changes. If possible, consider updating to a newer version of PrestaShop that supports MySQL 8. This might involve additional steps but could provide a more stable and secure environment in the long run. It’s important to also note that we check every website for compatibility issues before migrating it to MySQL 8 and address them if possible. If not, we will revert your website to MySQL 5.7 and notify you via a message in your client area. We hope this clarifies. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to our support team using the steps outlined in this article: stgrnd.co/contactus. They will be happy to help!

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author avatar

Artem

May 12, 2024

Thank you so much 😊 Have successfully updated all Joomla sites from 4.4.4 up to 5.1.0 without any problems. Nice job 💪 Staying with SiteGround 🤗

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author avatar

Lina Asenova Siteground Team

May 15, 2024

Hey there, thank you so much for your kind words and for choosing SiteGround. We're glad to hear that your update went smoothly. If you require assistance in the future or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We're here for you whenever you need us!

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