Resolving MySQL Error 1163: Handling BLOB/TEXT Columns in Unsupported Table Types

Encountering Error 1163 – SQLSTATE: 42000 (ER_TABLE_CANT_HANDLE_BLOB) in MySQL can be a stumbling block when you’re working with BLOB or TEXT columns. This error message indicates that the table type you’re using doesn’t support BLOB or TEXT columns. Let’s walk through how to diagnose and fix this issue so you can get back to managing your data efficiently.

Understanding the Error

Before diving into the solutions, it’s important to understand that MySQL supports different storage engines, such as InnoDB and MyISAM, each with its own features and limitations. Historically, some table types like MEMORY or some versions of the NDB (used in MySQL Cluster) do not support BLOB or TEXT types. When you attempt to create or alter a table to include BLOB or TEXT columns in these storage engines, MySQL will raise Error 1163.

Diagnosing the Problem

To diagnose the problem, you’ll need to check which storage engine is being used by your table. You can do this by running the following SQL command:

SHOW TABLE STATUS LIKE 'your_table_name';

Look for the Engine value in the output. If it’s a type that doesn’t support BLOB or TEXT columns, that’s the source of your problem.

Fixing the Error

Changing the Storage Engine

If you’re using a table type that doesn’t support BLOB or TEXT columns, you can switch to a different storage engine like InnoDB, which does support these types. You can change the storage engine using the ALTER TABLE command:

ALTER TABLE your_table_name ENGINE=InnoDB;

Modifying the Column Types

If changing the storage engine isn’t an option, you might need to reconsider the column types you’re using. For example, you could use VARCHAR or VARBINARY for smaller amounts of text or binary data. However, keep in mind that these types have a maximum length.

Using a Separate Table

Another solution is to create a separate table using a storage engine that supports BLOB or TEXT columns. You can then create a relationship between this table and your original table. Here’s a simple example:

-- Create the main table with an engine that doesn't support BLOB/TEXT
CREATE TABLE main_table (
  title VARCHAR(255)

-- Create a related table with BLOB/TEXT support
CREATE TABLE blob_table (
  main_table_id INT,
  content BLOB,
  FOREIGN KEY (main_table_id) REFERENCES main_table(id)

In this example, main_table uses the MEMORY engine, which doesn’t support BLOB/TEXT, and blob_table uses InnoDB, which does. The blob_table has a foreign key that references the main_table, allowing you to link the data between the two tables.


Error 1163 in MySQL is a clear indication that the storage engine you’re using is incompatible with BLOB or TEXT columns. By checking the storage engine and either altering it or restructuring your database schema, you can overcome this limitation. Remember to always backup your data before making structural changes to your database.

Leave a Comment