Why shouldn't I use mysql_* functions in PHP?


MySQL has been a popular choice for database management in PHP for a long time. However, the use of mysql_* functions in PHP has been deprecated since PHP 5.5.0, and they were completely removed in PHP 7.0.0. In this article, we will explore the technical reasons behind why one shouldn't use mysql_* functions, the alternatives available, and the impact of using these deprecated functions on your website.

1. Deprecated Functions

The mysql_* functions were deprecated and removed for a number of reasons:

  • Security vulnerabilities: The mysql_* functions do not provide a secure way to interact with the database. They are prone to SQL injection attacks, as they do not offer proper escaping of user input. This leaves your website open to potential malicious attacks.
  • Outdated features: The mysql_* functions do not support many of the newer features and improvements introduced in MySQL. They lack support for features like prepared statements and transactions, which are essential for writing secure and efficient database queries.
  • Maintenance and support: The mysql_* functions have been officially removed from PHP, which means they are no longer maintained or supported. This means that if you encounter any issues or bugs with these functions, you won't receive any updates or fixes from the PHP development team.

2. Alternatives

Fortunately, there are alternative functions and extensions available that offer better security and functionality. Some of the recommended alternatives to mysql_* functions are:

  • mysqli extension: The mysqli extension is an improved version of the mysql extension. It has support for prepared statements, transactions, and other advanced features. You can use functions like mysqli_query() and mysqli_real_escape_string() as replacements for their mysql_* counterparts.
  • PDO extension: PDO stands for PHP Data Objects and provides a consistent interface for accessing databases in PHP. It supports multiple database drivers and offers features like prepared statements and transactions. PDO can be used as an alternative to both the mysql and mysqli extensions.

3. Impact on Your Website

If you continue to use mysql_* functions on your website, there are a few potential consequences:

  • Compatibility issues: As mentioned earlier, mysql_* functions were completely removed in PHP 7.0.0. If you upgrade your PHP version to 7 or above, your website will stop working if it relies on these deprecated functions.
  • Security risks: By using mysql_* functions, you are exposing your website to potential SQL injection attacks. This can lead to data breaches, unauthorized access to sensitive information, and other security vulnerabilities.
  • Limited functionality: The lack of support for advanced features like prepared statements and transactions can limit the performance and functionality of your website. The use of these features is crucial for writing secure and efficient database queries.


In conclusion, using mysql_* functions in PHP is not recommended due to the deprecated status, security vulnerabilities, and lack of support for modern features. It is important to migrate your codebase to alternative functions and extensions like mysqli or PDO to ensure the security and functionality of your website.