Resolving MySQL Error 1214: Enabling FULLTEXT Index Compatibility

If you’re working with MySQL and encounter Error 1214 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_TABLE_CANT_HANDLE_FT), it means you’ve attempted to create a FULLTEXT index on a table that uses a storage engine that doesn’t support this feature. FULLTEXT indexes are a powerful tool for performing text searches on character-based columns, but they’re not universally supported across all storage engines. Let’s explore how to identify and fix this issue.

Understanding the Error

Error 1214 occurs when you try to create a FULLTEXT index on a table that is not using a storage engine compatible with this type of index. As of MySQL 5.6 and later, FULLTEXT indexes are supported by InnoDB and MyISAM storage engines, but not by others like MEMORY or ARCHIVE.

Diagnosing the Problem

To diagnose the error, first determine the storage engine of the table on which you’re trying to create the FULLTEXT index:

SHOW TABLE STATUS LIKE 'your_table_name';

Replace your_table_name with the actual name of your table. Look for the Engine column in the output.

Fixing the Error

Switching to a Compatible Storage Engine

If your table is not using InnoDB or MyISAM, you’ll need to convert it to one of these storage engines. Here’s how you can change the storage engine to InnoDB, which supports FULLTEXT indexes:

ALTER TABLE your_table_name ENGINE=InnoDB;

After altering the table’s storage engine, you can then create the FULLTEXT index:

ALTER TABLE your_table_name ADD FULLTEXT(your_text_column);

Replace your_text_column with the name of the column you wish to index.

Creating a Compatible Table

If you’re designing a new table and know you’ll need FULLTEXT search capabilities, ensure you specify the correct storage engine at creation:

CREATE TABLE your_new_table_name (
    your_text_column TEXT,

Replace your_new_table_name and your_text_column with your chosen table and column names.

Preventing Future Errors

When designing your database schema:

  • Choose the appropriate storage engine based on the features you need.
  • Remember that FULLTEXT indexes are only supported by InnoDB and MyISAM.
  • Consider the trade-offs between different storage engines, such as transaction support in InnoDB versus the potentially faster read performance of FULLTEXT searches in MyISAM.


Error 1214 in MySQL is a clear indication that you’re trying to use a feature that’s not supported by your table’s storage engine. By ensuring that you’re using either InnoDB or MyISAM when you need FULLTEXT indexing, you can avoid this error. Always plan your database schema with the features and limitations of storage engines in mind, and consult the MySQL documentation for the latest information on FULLTEXT index support and capabilities.

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