Configuring MariaDB for Remote Client Access

Some MariaDB packages bind MariaDB to (the loopback IP address) by default as a security measure using the bind-address configuration directive. Old MySQL packages sometimes disabled TCP/IP networking altogether using the skip-networking directive. Before going in to how to configure these, let's explain what each of them actually does:

  • skip-networking is fairly simple. It just tells MariaDB to run without any of the TCP/IP networking options.
  • bind-address requires a little bit of background information. A given server usually has at least two networking interfaces (although this is not required) and can easily have more. The two most common are a Loopback network device and a physical Network Interface Card (NIC) which allows you to communicate with the network. MariaDB is bound to the loopback interface by default because it makes it impossible to connect to the TCP port on the server from a remote host (the bind-address must refer to a local IP address, or you will receive a fatal error and MariaDB will not start). This of course is not desirable if you want to use the TCP port from a remote host, so you must remove this bind-address directive or replace it either to listen on all interfaces, or the address of a specific public interface.
MariaDB starting with 10.11

Multiple comma-separated addresses can now be given to bind_address to allow the server to listen on more than one specific interface while not listening on others.

If bind-address is bound to (localhost), one can't connect to the MariaDB server from other hosts or from the same host over TCP/IP on a different interface than the loopback ( This for example will not work (connecting with a hostname that points to a local IP of the host):

(/my/maria-10.11) ./client/mariadb --host=myhost --protocol=tcp --port=3306 test
ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to MySQL server on 'myhost' (115)
(/my/maria-10.11) telnet myhost 3306
telnet: connect to address Connection refused

Using 'localhost' works when binding with bind_address:

(my/maria-10.11) ./client/mariadb --host=localhost --protocol=tcp --port=3306 test
Reading table information for completion of table and column names
You can turn off this feature to get a quicker startup with -A

Welcome to the MariaDB monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.

Finding the Defaults File

To enable MariaDB to listen to remote connections, you need to edit your defaults file. See Configuring MariaDB with my.cnf for more detail.

Common locations for defaults files:

  * /etc/my.cnf                              (*nix/BSD)
  * $MYSQL_HOME/my.cnf                       (*nix/BSD) *Most Notably /etc/mysql/my.cnf
  * SYSCONFDIR/my.cnf                        (*nix/BSD)
  * DATADIR\my.ini                           (Windows)

You can see which defaults files are read and in which order by executing:

shell> mariadbd --help --verbose
mariadbd  Ver 10.11.5-MariaDB for linux-systemd on x86_64 (MariaDB Server)
Copyright (c) 2000, 2018, Oracle, MariaDB Corporation Ab and others.

Starts the MariaDB database server.

Usage: ./mariadbd [OPTIONS]

Default options are read from the following files in the given order:
/etc/my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf ~/.my.cnf

The last line shows which defaults files are read.

Editing the Defaults File

Once you have located the defaults file, use a text editor to open the file and try to find lines like this under the [mysqld] section:

    bind-address = <some ip-address>

(The lines may not be in this order, and the order doesn't matter.)

If you are able to locate these lines, make sure they are both commented out (prefaced with hash (#) characters), so that they look like this:

    #bind-address = <some ip-address>

(Again, the order of these lines don't matter)

Alternatively, just add the following lines at the end of your .my.cnf (notice that the file name starts with a dot) file in your home directory or alternative last in your /etc/my.cnf file.


This works as one can have any number of [mysqld] sections.

Save the file and restart the mariadbd daemon or service (see Starting and Stopping MariaDB).

You can check the options mariadbd is using by executing:

shell> ./sql/mariadbd --print-defaults
./sql/mariadbd would have been started with the following arguments:
--bind-address= --innodb_file_per_table=ON --server-id=1 --skip-bind-address ...

It doesn't matter if you have the original --bind-address left as the later --skip-bind-address will overwrite it.

Granting User Connections From Remote Hosts

Now that your MariaDB server installation is setup to accept connections from remote hosts, we have to add a user that is allowed to connect from something other than 'localhost' (Users in MariaDB are defined as 'user'@'host', so 'chadmaynard'@'localhost' and 'chadmaynard'@'' (or 'chadmaynard'@'server.domain.local') are different users that can have completely different permissions and/or passwords.

To create a new user:

Welcome to the MariaDB monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MariaDB connection id is 36
Server version: 5.5.28-MariaDB-mariadb1~lucid binary distribution

Copyright (c) 2000, 2012, Oracle, Monty Program Ab and others.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.

MariaDB [(none)]> 
  • if you are interested in viewing any existing remote users, issue the following SQL statement on the mysql.user table:
SELECT User, Host FROM mysql.user WHERE Host <> 'localhost';
| User   | Host      |
| daniel | %         |
| root   | |
| root   | ::1       |
| root   | gandalf   |
4 rows in set (0.00 sec)

(If you have a fresh install, it is normal for no rows to be returned)

Now you have some decisions to make. At the heart of every grant statement you have these things:

  • list of allowed privileges
  • what database/tables these privileges apply to
  • username
  • host this user can connect from
  • and optionally a password

It is common for people to want to create a "root" user that can connect from anywhere, so as an example, we'll do just that, but to improve on it we'll create a root user that can connect from anywhere on my local area network (LAN), which has addresses in the subnet This is an improvement because opening a MariaDB server up to the Internet and granting access to all hosts is bad practice.

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* TO 'root'@'192.168.100.%' 

(% is a wildcard)

For more information about how to use GRANT, please see the GRANT page.

At this point we have accomplished our goal and we have a user 'root' that can connect from anywhere on the LAN.

Port 3306 is Configured in Firewall

One more point to consider whether the firewall is configured to allow incoming request from remote clients:

On RHEL and CentOS 7, it may be necessary to configure the firewall to allow TCP access to MariaDB from remote hosts. To do so, execute both of these commands:

firewall-cmd --add-port=3306/tcp 
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=3306/tcp


  • If your system is running a software firewall (or behind a hardware firewall or NAT) you must allow connections destined to TCP port that MariaDB runs on (by default and almost always 3306).
  • To undo this change and not allow remote access anymore, simply remove the skip-bind-address line or uncomment the bind-address line in your defaults file. The end result should be that you should have in the output from ./sql/mariadbd --print-defaults the option --bind-address= and no --skip-bind-address.

The initial version of this article was copied, with permission, from on 2012-10-30.


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