When working with MySQL, encountering Error 1284 can be a roadblock. This error points to an attempt to reference a key cache that MySQL does not recognize or that does not exist. Key caches are used to cache MyISAM table indexes and can be customized beyond the default key cache. Understanding what triggers this error and how to resolve it is crucial for maintaining your database’s performance and stability.

Understanding Error 1284

Error 1284 occurs when you try to assign table indexes to a key cache that hasn’t been defined. By default, MySQL assigns table indexes to the main key cache created at server startup. If you attempt to use a custom key cache without properly configuring it, MySQL will return this error.

Diagnosing the Issue

To diagnose the issue, review the SQL statement that resulted in the error and identify the key cache name that’s causing the problem. Once you’ve located the name, you can check whether the key cache has been created and is available in MySQL.

Examples and Sample Code

Here are some examples and sample code to illustrate how to resolve Error 1284:

Example 1: Assigning Indexes to a Non-Existent Key Cache

If you try to use a key cache that hasn’t been defined, you’ll encounter Error 1284:

CACHE INDEX my_table IN non_existent_cache;

To fix this, first ensure that you create the key cache before assigning indexes to it:

SET GLOBAL non_existent_cache.key_buffer_size = 1048576;
CACHE INDEX my_table IN non_existent_cache;

Example 2: Typographical Errors in Key Cache Name

A simple typographical error in the key cache name can also cause this error. For example:

CACHE INDEX my_table IN myKeyChache; -- 'myKeyChache' is a typo.

Ensure that the key cache name is spelled correctly:

CACHE INDEX my_table IN myKeyCache; -- Assuming 'myKeyCache' is the correct name.

Example 3: Confusion Between Session and Global Key Cache Names

MySQL differentiates between session and global variables. If you set a key cache as a session variable and try to access it as a global one, or vice versa, you might get Error 1284.

Make sure you’re using the correct scope when creating and accessing the key cache:

-- Creating a global key cache
SET GLOBAL my_cache.key_buffer_size = 1048576;

-- Using the global key cache
CACHE INDEX my_table IN my_cache;


Error 1284 in MySQL is an indication that there’s a reference to an undefined key cache. To resolve this error, check for typographical errors in the key cache name, ensure that the key cache is defined before attempting to use it, and verify that you are using the correct scope when setting and referencing the key cache. By carefully managing your custom key caches and their assignments, you can avoid this error and optimize the performance of your MyISAM tables. Remember to always back up your data before making changes to your database configuration to prevent data loss.

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