What's the difference between MySQLdb, mysqlclient and MySQL connector/Python?

MySQLdb is a thin python wrapper around C module which implements API for MySQL database.

There was MySQLDb1 version of wrapper used some time ago and now it is considered to be a legacy. As MySQLDb1 started evolving to MySQLDb2 with bug fixes and Python3 support, a MySQLDb1 was forked and here is how mysqlclient appeared, with bugfixes and Python3 support. Sum up, so now we have MySQLDb2 which is not ready for production use, MySQLDb1 as an outdated driver and a community supported mysqlclient with bug fixes and Python3 support.

Now, to solve that mess, MySQL provides their own version of MySQL adapter - mysql connector, an all-in python module that uses MySQL API with no C modules dependencies and only standard python modules used.

So now the question comes down to: mysqlclient vs mysql connector.

As for me, I would go with officially supported library, however mysqlclient should be a good choice as well. Both of them are being actively updated with fixes and new features which you can see by active commits in last days.

Note: I did not have much experience with them, so there might be cases when one or another does not suite your needs. Both libraries follow PEP-249 standard which means you should be fine with at least base functionality everywhere.

Installation and Dependencies

  • mysqlclient

As a fork of C wrapper it requires C modules to work with MySQL which adds python header files to build these extensions (read python-dev). Installation depends on the system you use, just make sure you aware of package names and can install them.

  • mysql connector Main documentation is pretty clear, however you should be aware of Protobuf C++ dependency (for mysql connector versions >= 2.2.3).

There are thee MySQL adapters for Python that are currently maintained:

  • mysqlclient - By far the fastest MySQL connector for CPython. Requires the mysql-connector-c C library to work.

  • PyMySQL - Pure Python MySQL client. According to the maintainer of both mysqlclient and PyMySQL, you should use PyMySQL if:

    • You can't use libmysqlclient for some reason.
    • You want to use monkeypatched socket of gevent or eventlet.
    • You wan't to hack mysql protocol.
  • mysql-connector-python - MySQL connector developed by the MySQL group at Oracle, also written entirely in Python. It's performance appears to be the worst out of the three. Also, due to some licensing issues, you can't download it from PyPI (but it's now available through conda).


According to the following benchmarks, mysqlclient is faster (sometimes > 10x faster) than the pure Python clients.

  • Benchmarking MySQL drivers (Python 3.4)
  • PyMySQL Evaluation
  • Python MySQLdb vs mysql-connector query performance

A lot of options provided by users. Little late to party. But my 2 cents in on with benchmarking for pypy 3.7 version.

Stick to mysqlclient if you want faster access and repetitive access

MySQL Connector/Python: 23.096168518066406 [sec]
mysqlclient: 6.815327882766724 [sec]
PyMySQL: 24.616853952407837 [sec]
MySQL Connector/Python: 22.619106769561768 [sec]
mysqlclient: 6.607790231704712 [sec]
PyMySQL: 24.410773038864136 [sec]

Loop... from previous benchmarking...

def q100k(cur):
    t = time.time()
    for _ in range(100000):
        cur.execute("SELECT 1,2,3,4,5,6")
        res = cur.fetchall()
        assert len(res) == 1
        assert res[0] == (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
    return time.time() - t