Top Five Best Database Management Tools

Nov 14 2009 by Jacob Gube | 72 Comments

For a database administrator, DBM (database management) tools make tasks related to maintaining relational databases efficient and fast. Prior to the popularity of these tools, most DBA’s had to use the command line to create, edit, and delete databases. In this article, we present to you the top five most popular/most voted for database management tools.

Top Five Best Database Management Tools

Late last month, we asked what your favorite database management tool was, and now, here are the top five most-voted-for tools.

5. Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

For Microsoft SQL Server database admins, there probably isn’t a better tool out there than Miscosoft’s freeware app (downloadable at $0 dollars on the Microsoft site), SQL Server Management Studio. SQL Server Management Studio has a GUI that Windows OS users will find straightforward, and it has an innovative feature called Object Explorer that lets you browse, select, and perform tasks on database objects. It’s the only tool you need for creating and administering Microsoft SQL Server databases.

4. Sequel Pro

Sequel Pro

For Mac OS users, Sequel Pro–an open source MySQL database management front-end tool–is a top pick. It has a slick and intuitive GUI that keeps it barebones so that you can easily navigate the app. To get started with Sequel Pro, make sure to check out their docs page (but a word of caution, the docs is still under development at this time).

3. SQLyog

SQLyog

SQLyog is a GUI administration tool for MySQL developed by Indian-based software company, Webyog. It comes in two flavors: Enterprise (with the price ranging from $99 to $999) and the pared down Free Community version; to see the differences, check out the feature comparison table. SQLyog’s list of features is outstanding and unfathomable – a top-notch tool for professional database admins.

2. Navicat for MySQL

Navicat for MySQL

Navicat for MySQL is part of the family of cross-platform (Windows/Mac/Linux) relational database management tools created by PremiumSoft. It has a visual query builder for creating complex database queries in a snap, import/export/backup tools for your databases, a report builder for printing out db queries that the boss can understand, a task scheduling assistant for scheduled execution of jobs, and much more.

Navicat also produces front-ends for Oracle and PostgreSQL. Navicat products have a Lite version (non-commercial) and a Premium version; check out the feature matrix to see the difference in features of both versions.

1. phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin, the most popularly voted database management tool by you (and where my vote would have gone), is an open source web-based MySQL manager. Don’t let it’s simple and aesthetically-challenged GUI fool you, phpMyAdmin packs a punch: you can create/manage databases, tables, db users, optimize and check for errors in your db tables, run queries, export/import data in plenty of file formats, and much more; couple all of that with ease of installation and you’ve got yourself a true winner.

To learn more about phpMyAdmin, you should consider getting the Mastering phpMyAdmin 3.1 for Effective MySQL Managementbook by Packt Publishing (a book that I highly recommend).

Is your favorite database management tool not mentioned? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About the Author

Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions. He’s also a web developer/designer who specializes in front-end development (JavaScript, HTML, CSS) and PHP development. If you’d like to connect with him, head on over to the contact page and follow him on Twitter: @sixrevisions.

72 Comments

Bodgan Pop

November 14th, 2009

phpMyAdmin has its issues but is indeed truly awesome. Plus, it is platform independent. If phpMyAdmin had visual database design features it would certainly appeal to everyone.

Tyler

November 14th, 2009

phpMyAdmin has to win this one.

Not saying the others aren’t good, but phpMyAdmin has everything you’d want (Well I know its got all that I want) and being able to access it from anywhere is a great plus, I can use any computer to access the MySQL databases.

Keith Davis

November 14th, 2009

phpMyAdmin comes bundled with XAMPP and it’s the only database tool I’ve heard of.

Only found it because I followed Jacobs tutorial on how to setup a local WordPress installation using XAMPP… best tutorial ever!

qim

November 14th, 2009

If it must be an quick and easy installation I’m using Adminer from http://www.adminer.org/ .

It’s a single file alternative to phpMyAdmin. Not all features are implemented, but if you don’t have a chance to install phpMyAdmin on a server it’s a good choice.

Dave

November 14th, 2009

EMS MySQL Manager rocks. They have a paid and a lite version, and versions for most other major databases as well. Check it out.

Lailson Bandeira

November 14th, 2009

Sequel is so, so awesome good! =D
It really deserves the 1st place!

Henrique

November 14th, 2009

Navicat is great on OS X, I use it for PostgreSQL every day at work.

Ben

November 15th, 2009

phpMyAdmin looks really ugly, here’s a beautiful alternative – SQLBuddy http://sqlbuddy.com/. Free and open source too.

You’ll never go back to phpMyAdmin.

Kyle W

November 15th, 2009

phpMyAdmin is alright for a web application, but I like SQL Buddy much better. The interface is super clean, it’s just as easy (if not easier) to set up and uses AJAX to do most of the database management.

For a software application, I LOVE Sequel Pro. It’s nice to see it on the list.

I normally use Sequel Pro to do assist with locally developed applications and SQL Buddy to do production queries/updates.

Imran Khan

November 15th, 2009

navicat is simply superb fast and GUI , easy to edit , etc.

Tinu Cleatus

November 15th, 2009

If you are on a mac, there is no better tool than Sequel Pro. Can’t imagine my workflow without it and its open source !

Schalk Neethling

November 15th, 2009

If one looks at specifically MySQL than some tools I think a lot of people overlook the MySQL GUI tools, they are really an awesome set of tools. If you need web based tools, then I agree phpMyAdmin takes the top prize.

expressions

November 15th, 2009

Yes my vote is also for phpmyadmin.
nice articles would be trying others soon

stooni

November 15th, 2009

I have also another one – HeidiSQL is an easy-to-use interface and a “working-horse” for web-developers using the popular MySQL-Database. http://www.heidisql.com/

—good article
— stooni

Abdulhakim Haliru

November 15th, 2009

My unreserved vote will always go to PhpMyadmin. on the SQL server, i will give it up for SSMS.
Jacob, thankx for this article.

Max

November 15th, 2009

phpMyAdmin is the best for setting up and managing a db… but I use it side by side with Querious http://www.araelium.com/querious/
Querious is much more clearly arranged when it comes to view a filled db.

colm

November 15th, 2009

Toad is conspicuous by it’s absence… Doesn’t anyone use Oracle anymore??

Em

November 15th, 2009

phpMyAdmin for me too. It’s a great tool.

James

November 15th, 2009

What about the official Sun MySQL administrator?

I find it very good and would rate it above PHPMyAdmin.

http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/gui-tools/5.0.html

Nikko

November 15th, 2009

Have you guys used MySQL GUI Tools? It’s a really nice desktop application for MySQL management.

Andrei

November 15th, 2009

Hey there, where did MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser from MySQL GUI tools go?

http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/gui-tools/5.0.html

I personally find it faster and more flexible than phpMyAdmin.

Bruno Daniel

November 15th, 2009

I really love the official MySQL Query Browser, included in the MySQL GUI Tools.

http://dev.mysql.com/doc/query-browser/en/mysql-query-browser-tour-mainwindow.html

Goldmin

November 15th, 2009

SQL Server Management Studio and Phpmyadmin are the tools of choice for sql and mysql, phpmyadmin is just such a breeze to use and can be setup in 5 minutes flat!

Austin

November 15th, 2009

PHPMyAdmin is pretty much the only one that you need. :)

CMIWebStudiocom

November 15th, 2009

In this list, did we forget that MySQL provides a set of GUI tools for download?

phpMyAdmin looks like it’s from the dark ages, but it gets the job done. Navicat is more robust and really a must have in my opinion.

adrive

November 15th, 2009

And what about Oracle SQL Developer – my favourite tool

Simon

November 15th, 2009

I always found a special hatred for phpMyAdmin, not entirely sure why, it’s gui just looks so dated :(

Navicat/AnySQL Maestro for me.

Deano

November 15th, 2009

Gotta recommend : HeidiSQL

Best free one :D http://www.heidisql.com/

The latest alpha is even better.

Autonomy

November 15th, 2009

I have used phpMyAdmin on a variety of sites and no matter the level of the other users involved, it is very easy to navigate and simple to learn. I am not surprised it’s #1.

James Hadley

November 15th, 2009

The official MySQL GUI Tools are crap.

I don’t understand why someone will use it when phpMyAdmin and SQLyog Community edition are available for free.

linh

November 16th, 2009

i love phpmyadmin & navicat

Wouter Vervloet

November 16th, 2009

PHPMyAdmin is definetly the easiest since most hosts include this by default, but I can’t believe how this list doesn’t include the MySQL GUI Tools made by Sun. It is a truly amazing set of tools available for Windows, OSX as well as Linux (though I must say the OSX version can be a bit unstable).

Paul West

November 16th, 2009

I’m a phpMyAdmin user mainly due to the fact that it seems to come with a lot of hosts out there. It is a great tool. It’s so quick and easy to make a backup too.

I do worry it’s making me lazy. I had to update a few others through the command line, I was REALLY rusty and had to get a MySQL book out!

Mwafrika

November 16th, 2009

phpMyAdmin comes bundled with XAMPP. Not much choice there plus it’s a pretty decent tool.

I’ve tried HeidiSQL but messed my tables when exporting and importing scripts. Not very confident using it.

Frank

November 16th, 2009

There is another open source tool that I find useful if you are working on different databases instances or software:
SQuirrel SQL Client (http://squirrel-sql.sourceforge.net/)

wookashs

November 16th, 2009

Just Squirrel-sql works on every platform with many databases.
http://squirrel-sql.sourceforge.net/

teebee

November 16th, 2009

I gotta put my vote in for HeidiSQL too. I use MySQL GUI tools as well but like Heidi better!

Mustafa

November 16th, 2009

SQLyog is my favorite tool. It is good, stable and useful.

Joe

November 16th, 2009

I’ve been using Querious on the Mac. Works very well, however I got it before I learned about the free Sequal Pro

Snacks

November 16th, 2009

What about Oracle?

Chocolim

November 16th, 2009

Sequel Pro can damage your database, never use it in produccion, i have a killed table when editing the structure, trying to reproduce the step to report the bug.

Art

November 16th, 2009

HeidiSQL does it. Can’t stand the look of phpMyAdmin. Never could. Left it many years ago.

Sandeep Chandra

November 16th, 2009

I use DBMaster(http://www.10thdoor.com) to do my day to day work and it is good enough for that.

Adam Elleston

November 17th, 2009

I am shocked HeidiSQL is not on there. Its a lot faster than PHP MyAdmin and the ability to export from one open connection to another is pricess for quick DB transfers from a dev enviroment to live.

DaM

November 17th, 2009

SQLBuddy Rulz its small faster and awesome web2.0 interface

Ashesh

November 18th, 2009

I love phpmyadmin, it rocks

MySQL Workbench

November 18th, 2009

MySQL Workbench 5.2 includes:
- Model (upgrade from DBDesigner)
- Query (upgrade from MySQL Query Browser)
- Admin (upgrade from MySQL Administrator)
- SSH-Tunnel (new)

Quick-Start Tutorial:
http://wb.mysql.com/?p=406

Download WB 5.2:
http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/workbench/

Lisa

November 20th, 2009

I heart phpMyAdmin, and it hearts me :3

Spike

November 20th, 2009

You might also consider RazorSQL. Though commercial, it can connect to many different database systems and is pretty tight.

Dave Rowe

November 20th, 2009

I have to give props to the MySQL GUI tools. Specifically, Workbench for modeling. Hands-down, my favorite tool for modeling. It’s clean, quick, and the forward/reverse engineering tools are _extremely_ helpful. The GUI tools themselves from MySQL would benefit to be packaged into a single app, rather than split out (Workbench could stand alone, in my opinion). But, combining the query browser and admin tool, seems like an easy win for Sun/MySQL

Tim

November 22nd, 2009

phpMyAdmin has to be the most frequent management tool to be used now days. It can be find anywhere and is very basic.

Sean Hood

November 23rd, 2009

I have to recommend SQL Buddy too so much nicer and easier to use than phpMyAdmin.

idcj

November 23rd, 2009

I’d like to suggest LyteRAD http://www.lytecube.com/lyterad though not a pure database management tool, but a super quick way to build complete table schemas, reports and even apps.

Hazem Farra

November 24th, 2009

I use a free tool, Database.NET – http://fishcodelib.com/Database.htm, to manage my databases (MS SQL, MySQL, Access, SQLite, etc).
It is super easy to use in running CRUD queries.

Check it out at http://fishcodelib.com/Database.htm (the also have some other useful FREE utilities!

Long Nguyen

November 27th, 2009

Usually, I use MySQL Workbench and MySQL GUI tools.
Sometime, I use phpMyAdmin and SQL Buddy.

JJ

December 18th, 2009

As Colm mentioned, Toad’s absence from this list is more than conspicuous.

The article’s title should have more appropriately been named “MySQL DB Admin Tools” and you should have left MSSMS out of it. It’s clear that MySQL tools are the only ones 98% of the commenters (and apparently the author) has any experience with.

The blurb on the MS offering isn’t even accurate. MSSMS is not freeware at all and comes as part of the MS SQL Server (although there is an Express version that is free, but it doesn’t include all of the features of the full version).

The exclusion of any Oracle tools highlights the fact that this article was written from the perspective of a PHP-centric web developer and not a DBA. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, but I wouldn’t have chosen to represent it as the tools DBA’s choose… That world extends far beyond the borders of the MySQL world.

Pablo Matamoros

December 20th, 2009

I agree with JJ and other comments.

If we center in MySQL, MySQL GUI tools are the best option for desktop use. phpMyAdmin is a good tool but limited, no doubt the best tool if you need webaccess.

John E

December 20th, 2009

If you use Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio, then you HAVE GOT TO GET SQL PROMPT PRO!!!
http://www.red-gate.com/Products/SQL_Prompt/index.htm

I spend about 1/2 my day in it and it saves a LOT of time. Code completion in transact sql is amazing. as is having a tool that reads into your table structure. GET IT. I can’t live with out it. And no I don’t work for them. But I would like to!

moroos

March 16th, 2010

Squirrel SQL is a piece of shit. It’s unstable, hangs at least every hour. I cannot count how much time I lost by this %$#%^. Advantage is I got a habit of saving my work in any application every 3 minutes.

Michael

March 21st, 2010

Hmm, none of the tools mentioned can beat this ONLINE tool:
http://novaquantum.com/

It is NOT a perfect tool, of course, but it does more than any other online tool: multi-server management with copy/paste functionality between DBs and tables!

Just don’t compare it with a “thick” client, this tool runs in a browser using Ajax.

Steve C

October 8th, 2010

I’ve used Squirrel against Oracle, Postgres and MySQL for years. It’s always been rock solid.

adario

November 16th, 2010

I think you cannot compare products like Navicat against PHPMYAdmin, because the first one is really for the enterprise, but PHPMyAdmin is just for web developers.

If you speak about a powerful and profesional MySQL Administrators they should include:
- replication
- Migration
- Backup
- Data transform

I always like free and open source software, but in this case, I’m afraid Navicat is very superior to other free/open source products. It is even better than some Orale products because you can connect to Oracle, MySQL and Postgres.

Sam S

January 14th, 2011

Nothing impresses me as much as MySQL Workbench

mentioned above in comments and truly all should check it out

saddam Al-geyahi

January 22nd, 2011

I love SQL Server

stunt!

January 28th, 2011

I hate phpmyadmin is toooo slow and I always use navicat

Andre

April 27th, 2011

I use phpadmin where can not be connect to the contrary, such sf.net. Sometimes I use the Squirrel, but I love Orbada, to browse the database structure, edit the stored procedures (Oracle, MySQL, Firebird) Orbada is the best!

WiseCoders

May 18th, 2011

Try DbSchema as well, one of the best database management tools out there

yangyongsung

July 26th, 2011

best database management tools is SQLGate
http://www.sqlgate.com

Mike

October 20th, 2011

i agree, try dbschema, it will make your life easier.

http://www.dbschema.com

faizan satti

November 29th, 2011

Navicat is great on OS X, I use it for PostgreSQL every day at work.

Saira Naeem

May 30th, 2013

One of the best SQL database management tools is EliteSQL Dashboard. Simple, Fast, Reliable. Over 20 features. Must TRY!
http://www.elitesql.com/EliteSQL-Dashboard.aspx

Magnus K

June 24th, 2013

I like phpMyAdmin, but I need a cross platform management tool.

I manage multiple servers, that is using different platforms(oracle database, MS SQL server, MySQL, Sybase, PostgreSQL, INGRES…)
I’m trying out a cross platform management tool at the moment, it’s called dbWatch, works great. I found a trial at piratebay.
http://www.dbwatch.com

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