MySQL Error 1267 is a common issue that many database administrators and developers face. It arises when there is an illegal mix of collations for an operation within a query. Collations define how string comparison is to be handled in a database, and it’s crucial for the collations of the strings being compared to be compatible. This error message is MySQL’s way of saying that it has encountered a situation where it’s being asked to compare strings with different collations, and it doesn’t know how to proceed. Let’s explore how to diagnose and fix this issue.

Understanding Error 1267

Error 1267 occurs when you try to compare, join, or concatenate strings with different collations without explicitly defining which collation to use. Each collation has rules for character classification, sorting, and comparison. If the collations are incompatible, MySQL cannot reliably perform these operations.

Diagnosing the Issue

To diagnose the issue, you’ll need to identify the collations of the columns, expressions, or literals involved in the operation that caused the error. You can use the COLLATION() function to determine the collation of a particular string.

Examples and Sample Code

Here are some examples and sample code to help you understand and fix Error 1267:

Example 1: Comparing String Columns with Different Collations

Suppose you have two tables, table1 and table2, and you’re trying to join them on string columns that have different collations:

FROM table1
JOIN table2 ON table1.string_column = table2.string_column;

If table1.string_column has a collation of utf8_general_ci and table2.string_column has a collation of utf8_unicode_ci, this will result in Error 1267.

To fix this, you can explicitly set the collation for the comparison:

FROM table1
JOIN table2 ON table1.string_column COLLATE utf8_general_ci = table2.string_column COLLATE utf8_general_ci;

Example 2: Concatenating Strings with Different Collations

When concatenating strings from different columns with different collations, you might encounter Error 1267:

SELECT CONCAT(column1, column2) AS concatenated_string
FROM my_table;

If column1 and column2 have different collations, you will need to convert them to the same collation:

SELECT CONCAT(column1 COLLATE utf8mb4_general_ci, column2 COLLATE utf8mb4_general_ci) AS concatenated_string
FROM my_table;

Example 3: Illegal Mix of Collations in WHERE Clause

Filtering data with a WHERE clause that involves strings with different collations can also cause this error:

FROM my_table
WHERE string_column = 'some value';

If string_column has a different collation than the default collation of the connection, you may get Error 1267.

To address this, specify the collation for the comparison:

FROM my_table
WHERE string_column COLLATE utf8mb4_general_ci = 'some value' COLLATE utf8mb4_general_ci;


Error 1267 is a collation conflict error that requires you to ensure that all strings involved in an operation are using the same collation. You can either convert the strings to the same collation using the COLLATE clause in your SQL statements or alter your database, table, or columns to use compatible collations. It’s also good practice to be consistent with collations during database design to avoid such issues. When making changes to collations, always back up your data first to prevent any unintended data loss or corruption.

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