In this post, we are going to compare three MySQL administration tools: phpMyAdmin, MySQL Workbench, and TablePlus, with pros and cons of each tool.

1. phpMyAdmin

With a web-based build, phpMyAdmin offers a handy tool to handle the administration of MySQL database in a web browser.

  • Supported platforms: phpMyAdmin is a web-based administration tool, so you can get it run from any platforms with a web browser.

  • Supported Drivers: phpMyAdmin supports MySQL 5.5 and newer.

  • Pricing: phpMyAdmin is free and open source. It’s available on almost every hosting service.



  • It’s available right out of the box in most web hosting service providers.
  • It’s portable. It can run on any computer and on any OS as long as it has a web browser installed.
  • Easy installation. You need to have PHP and MySQL installed on your server, extract the files to a specified directory and run the install script.
  • Stable and flexible due to its maturity.
  • Comprehensive management of user accounts and permissions


  • It’s web-based, so it runs slow and depends too much on the browser. Sometimes the defaults can cause conflicts with web servers.
  • Confusing and outdated interface. It may take some time to get used to it.
  • No schema visualization
  • Does not have smart code highlighting or auto-completion capabilities.

2. MySQL Workbench

MySQL WorkBench offers a full-featured administration tool for MySQL on multiple operating systems.

  • Supported platforms: MySQL Workbench is cross-platform. It’s available on Mac, Windows, Linux.

  • Supported Drivers: MySQL Workbench supports all versions of MySQL because it’s built by the MySQL at Oracle.

  • Pricing: MySQL Workbench also has a community version which is free and open source. The other two commercial versions for enterprises are subscription based with enterprise features and support.

MySQL Workbench


  • It’s cross-platform. In case you work on more than one operating system, you don’t have to use a different tool and the experiences will be consistent.
  • It includes everything a data modeler needs for creating complex ER models
  • It has a Visual Performance Dashboard
  • A complete and easy to use tools for database migration.
  • Ability to cancel long queries without hanging.
  • It provides fast access to server status and other information.
  • It shows multiple result sets.
  • It’s easy to create and edit views, procedures & functions.


  • It only supports MySQL and MariaDB. If you work with more database other than MySQL and MariaDB, it’s a huge drawback.
  • The UI is unintuitive. It is packed with a lot of features. It’s definitely not a tool for beginners.
  • It complicated and overkill to perform simple tasks.
  • It’s resource intensive.
  • It crashes a lot too.

3. TablePlus

With a native build and a lightweight size, TablePlus is a very handy tool for managing MySQL and many other databases.

  • Supported platforms: TablePlus is built native for each platform. It started out with a native version for Mac, then another version for Windows, and a version for Linux was introduced recently as an alpha release. It also has an iOS version.

  • Supported Drivers: TablePlus supports a handful of relational databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, Amazon Redshift, MariaDB, CockroachDB, Vertica, Oracle; and two popular NoSQL databases: Cassandra and Redis.

  • Pricing: TablePlus has a free version with full set of features which you can download and use forever, but there are some usage limitations. If you use it heavily, the license costs $59 to remove all those limitations.



  • Native build for each platform so it’s fast, lightweight, and stable.
  • Clean and simple interface.
  • Multiple drivers support
  • Multiple conditions data filter
  • Queries history and keyword binding favorite.
  • Streaming results and async loading to show queries results faster and doesn’t block the UI.
  • Very quick inline editing for table data and structure, you also can edit query results directly.
  • Smart query editor with highlight syntax, instant autocomplete, SQL reformat.
  • Multiple carets
  • A plugin system to extend the app.
  • Quick support. TablePlus releases new updates regularly and responds to users’ requests almost immediately.


It currently lacks of some advanced features such as ER Diagram, database compare tool to Diff and Sync, etc.

4. Conclusion

Go with MySQL Workbench if you:

  • Work with MySQL only
  • Need a tool to get the job done and don’t mind the UI/UX

Go with phpMyAdmin if you:

  • Work with MySQL only
  • Prefer a web app over a desktop app

Go with TablePlus if you:

  • Are a fan of native experience
  • Work with multiple databases
  • Want a modern design with better usability
  • Want quick support & development cycle.