Navigating Through MySQL Error 1018: Strategies for Diagnosing and Solving ER_CANT_READ_DIR Issues

When managing a MySQL database, encountering Error 1018 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_CANT_READ_DIR) can be a significant hurdle. The error message “Can’t read dir of ‘%s’ (errno: %d)” suggests that MySQL is unable to access the directory specified. This issue is commonly associated with file system permissions, missing directories, or other file system-related errors. Understanding how to diagnose and resolve this error is crucial for maintaining the integrity and accessibility of your databases.

Understanding Error 1018 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_CANT_READ_DIR)

Error 1018 occurs when MySQL attempts to access a directory but fails. The ‘%s’ in the error message is a placeholder for the directory name, while ‘%d’ is the error number that corresponds to the specific system error encountered.

Diagnosing the Error

To effectively diagnose Error 1018, consider the following steps:

  1. Review File Permissions: The MySQL server must have the necessary read permissions to access the directories where databases are stored. Checking and modifying file permissions may be required.
  2. Inspect the Data Directory: The error can also happen if the data directory is incorrect, missing, or inaccessible. Confirm that the path specified in the MySQL configuration is correct and that the directory exists.
  3. Check for System Errors: System errors indicated by the error number (errno) can provide additional context. Common system errors include “Permission denied” or “No such file or directory”.

Fixing the Error

Let’s explore different scenarios and sample code to address the potential causes of Error 1018:

Example 1: Adjusting File Permissions

If the issue is related to file permissions, the following commands can be used to set the correct ownership and permissions for the MySQL directories:

sudo chown -R mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/lib/mysql

Make sure to replace /var/lib/mysql with the actual path to your MySQL data directory.

Example 2: Confirming the Data Directory

To verify the existence and ownership of the data directory, use:

ls -ld /var/lib/mysql

If the directory does not exist or has incorrect ownership, create it or change the ownership accordingly:

sudo mkdir /var/lib/mysql
sudo chown mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql

Example 3: Addressing System Errors

For system errors, refer to the error number for a more precise diagnosis. For instance, if the error number indicates too many open files, you might need to increase the open file limit for the MySQL process or the system.

Example 4: Ensuring Proper Configuration

Check the MySQL configuration file for the correct data directory setting:

grep 'datadir' /etc/mysql/my.cnf

If the path is incorrect, update it to the correct directory and restart the MySQL server.

Example 5: Handling Corrupted Files or Directories

In cases where files or directories are corrupted, restoring from a backup may be necessary. If the corruption is limited to non-critical files, you might be able to repair the directory or database using MySQL’s repair tools.

After applying the appropriate measures based on the diagnosis, you should be able to resolve Error 1018 and regain access to the affected directories.


Dealing with MySQL Error 1018 requires a careful examination of file permissions, data directory configurations, and system errors. By methodically addressing each potential cause, you can overcome this challenge and ensure your MySQL server operates smoothly. Always remember to perform regular backups and monitor system logs to prevent and quickly respond to similar issues in the future.

Leave a Comment