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What is the best collation to use for MySQL (with PHP)


I'm wondering if there is a "best" choice for collation in MySQL for a general website where you aren't 100% of what will be entered? I understand that all the encodings should be the same, such as MySQL, Apache, the HTML and anything inside PHP.

In the past I have set PHP to output in "UTF-8", but which collation does this match in MySQL? I'm thinking it's one of the UTF-8 ones, but I have used utf8_unicode_ci, utf8_general_ci, and utf8_bin 



The main difference is sorting accuracy (when comparing characters in the language) and performance. The only special one is utf8_bin which is for comparing characters in binary format.

utf8_general_ci is somewhat faster than utf8_unicode_ci, but less accurate (for sorting). The specific language utf8 encoding (such as utf8_swedish_ci) contain additional language rules that make them the most accurate to sort for those languages. Most of the time I use utf8_unicode_ci (I prefer accuracy to small performance improvements), unless I have a good reason to prefer a specific language.

You can read more on specific unicode character sets on the MySQL manual - http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/charset-unicode-sets.html

  • answered 2 years ago
  • G John

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