I'm setting up up a new MySQL server and I'd like to give it the same set of usernames, allowed hosts, and passwords as an existing server (which is going away).

Would it work to just do a dump of the users table and then load it on the new server?

Is there a better way than that?


5 Answers 5

oldserver$ mysqldump mysql > mysql.sql
newserver$ mysql mysql < mysql.sql
newserver$ mysql 'flush privileges;'

Should do it, remember to add -u $USER and -p$PASSWORD as required

  • 18
    The 'mysql' db contains lots more uses than just the grants. Make sure you want to transfer it all, before performing the above steps. Dec 20, 2010 at 21:29
  • I'm getting the error You can't use locks with log tables. Is there any work around for this?
    – Despertar
    Feb 6, 2013 at 3:21
  • 1
    I got unknown database flush privileges. What worked for me: mysqladmin reload. I suppose that service mysql reload or restart would also do the job.
    – user68729
    Feb 18, 2015 at 18:41
  • 11
    This is not the right answer. You should not migrate the whole mysql table. Use SHOW GRANTS FOR ... to extract the current privieges and then GRANT them on the new host.
    – caponica
    Mar 27, 2016 at 10:40
  • 9
    On behalf of @eerick who doesn't have enough rep yet to comment: DO NOT use mysqldump with any of the mysql schema tables. This can have terrible consequences. I actually just used the accepted answer to try and solve this problem myself and I ran into all sorts of errors. I effectively ended up locking myself out of the database because my admin account wasn't recognizing my password and I couldn't create new users. You may be able to use mysqldump if the versions are the same, but I still wouldn't risk it.
    – rrauenza
    Jun 9, 2016 at 22:11

I would take a look at the Percona Toolkit. The description of the pt-show-grants tool says it all...

pt-show-grants extracts, orders, and then prints grants for MySQL user accounts.

Why would you want this? There are several reasons.

The first is to easily replicate users from one server to another; you can simply extract the grants from the first server and pipe the output directly into another server.

The second use is to place your grants into version control....

  • May i ask you make an example for this command?
    – shgnInc
    May 26, 2015 at 9:58
  • pt-show-grants --user root --ask-pass
    – matheeeny
    Jun 11, 2015 at 3:01

Whilst a dump of the mysql database would probably work, in my experience, properly documenting all the access and setting it up again with GRANT statements is much better. There are two benefits to doing it this way:

  1. You will understand your database security and how it is implemented.
  2. You will get to remove access that is no longer required.

The accepted answer (using mysqldump to backup mysql.user table) is a very dangerous approach if you are migrating to a new server version.

I did that in the past (migrating users from Mysql 4 to Mysql 5.1), and later I had problems trying to grant or modify privileges to my database users.

This happens because mysql.users table structure differs between mysql server versions, as explained here:


So, take care if you are upgrading your server version. Some more hints here:


  • I upvoted this but then was surprised to see official docs saying "Do not forget to copy the mysql database because that is where the grant tables are stored."
    – Ryan
    Nov 4, 2019 at 23:00

mysqldump will work, but since the mysql database uses ISAM, you can just copy the directory to the new server. You'll find this in different places, but the most common location for the mysql database will be /var/lib/mysql/mysql. Be sure to stop mysql on the new server, move the old directory out of the way, copy the directory and restart. An example using standard locations as root:

# /etc/init.d/mysqld stop
# cd /var/lib/mysql
# mv mysql ../mysql.backup
# rsync -a root@oldserver:/var/lib/mysql/mysql .
# /etc/init.d/mysql start
  • 1
    The 'mysql' db contains lots more uses than just the grants. Make sure you want to transfer it all, before performing the above steps. Dec 20, 2010 at 21:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.