The MySQL database is a popular option for storing data. It's powerful, reliable, and easy to use. However, it can be challenging to work with if you don't have the right tools. Luckily, Python has an API for MySQL that makes working with this database simple. Connecting to MySQL with Python code is a great way to build a rich set of data through programming and to create database content quickly. Python has built-in libraries that allow you to do just that and you can expand its capabilities significantly by accessing the right extensions. In this tutorial, we'll walk you through connecting MySQL databases using Python and getting your data from the database connection, whether you use Linux, Windows, or Mac using your localhost.

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Table of Contents

Overview of the Process

Using Python with MySQL client is a relatively straightforward process that starts with making a connection. MySQL is designed to be insular and disconnected from other applications by default. It won’t respond to random commands, so it can keep your data safe. You have to create a persistent connection to MySQL.connector.connect to send a command line to it. 

Once you make the connection, you can send commands to MySQL using methods such as a Python module or Python program. Methods are, essentially, scripts that are prebuilt into Python for specific actions. You use these to communicate with MySQL while connecting, searching for data, extracting the data, and manipulating it in the Python application

Once you are finished getting the data that you needed, close the connection. This shuts the door to MySQL so that no one else can use it to access data after you have left. This is crucial for security. 

1. Install MySQL Connector Module

Before you can make a connection, you have to set up MySQL for it. A Python file is not compatible with MySQL by default. It needs an API for the two to communicate with each other. The MySQL Connector module is one of the leading choices because it is quick and easy to use. 

Installing the module is relatively simple. Open your instance of Python and use the Install Command to target the module. Python will do the rest for you through the mysql-connector-python.

2. Import MySQL Connector Module

The next step is to verify that everything is installed correctly and that you can connect with MySQL. To do this, import MySQL connector.

In Python, use the Import Command to pull in the connector module. If the process runs without any problems, everything is installed correctly. 

Every time you start a new instance of Python, you need to import the connector. Because it is not a default part of the system, it needs to be loaded every time. 

3. Use the Connect Method

Now that everything is set up, you can start communicating with MySQL. Open Python and import the connector module. Then, use the Connect Method to establish a connection with your MySQL instance. 

The module does not automatically connect to MySQL. You have to tell it to do that with the Connect Method. This creates a persistent connection to MySQL that lets you communicate with your db api

While the connection is open, be careful what you tell Python to do. As long as the connection is open, you can manipulate databases. Remember to close the connection when you are done working with the database name. That way, you don’t accidentally cause a problem or leave a possible security breach open. 

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4. Use the Cursor Method

Pure Python is not able to directly communicate with SQL, but it can use PostgreSQL to send SQL statements. To do this, you need to use the Cursor Method.

The Cursor Method enables an instance of PostgreSQL in your connection. It is attached to the connection until it is closed. If you close the connection, you have to use the Cursor.execute Method again when you reconnect. 

There are several types of Cursor Method classes, each with slightly different functionality. Which one you chose depends on what you need to do. Essentially, all of them make it possible to build multiple connections to the database within a single connection. This means that you can request data from the database and manipulate it before returning it to Python 3. It is helpful if you need to convert the data to a specific format for use in Python once you retrieve it. 

5. Use the Execute Method

Up until this point, all of your actions have focused on making it possible to get the data that you need. Now, you will take action to get it using the Execute Method.

The Execute Method lets you activate a series of programming steps as if they are automated. Once all of the steps are programmed in, you can execute them at once. Pure Python handles the rest of the process. 

Use the Execute Method to build your query process. You’ll need to request the data from the database here. Execute returns a Python object with the data listed in it. You’ll want to make sure that all of the data that you need is contained within the Execute Method that you set up. Otherwise, it becomes more difficult to avoid duplicate requests or to transform the data once you have it. 

6. Read Query Result With Fetch

Execute returns an object with the data that you need in it. Take the object, and read the data using Fetch. Fetch is the method that collects data from databases and lets Python read it. There are several Fetch methods that you can use to return the data, with most having to do with the number of records returned. 

Using Fetch, you can collect the data that you need from the object and parse it however you need to. You can use multiple Fetch requests to collect the data that you need. Repeat the process until you have found everything that you are looking for. The connection stays open until you close it, so you can make as many requests as you need. 

7. Close Cursor and Connection Objects

When you have all of the data that you are looking for, start the shutdown process. The first step is to close the Cursor Method. Because a Cursor object creates a persistent connection to the database, you have to close it to avoid security problems. If you leave it open, requests can still reach the database. In security terms, someone could use it as a way to access your data if they can establish a connection to the database. 

The next step is to close the connection to MySQL and the Python script. Like the Cursor sys, this connection is persistent as well. Always make sure that you close the connection so that other users cannot bypass security and access your data. 

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Using Python to access MySQL makes it easier to integrate systems. Python and MySQL connections are widely used in business, which makes combining them even more powerful. However, the process can be a bit difficult for anyone that is not well versed in either system. Fortunately, you can get help from Integrate.io. 

Integrate.io gives you access to all of the resources that you need to manage your data, schema, Unicode, or syntax, whether through Java, Unix, PHP, Tuple, Oracle, or a SQL query. We can help you get a system in place that makes data management much easier and connect you with a Python developer. Contact us to start your  7-day trial to see how Integrate.io can change how you manage data.