How to validate e-mail address in MySQL

Most people validate e-mail addresses in a normal programming language, such as PHP and that is a very good idea when you process user input and such, however sometimes you want to validate data already entered in a database.

Take this example: you have a comments table where each person can enter an e-mail address, but since it’s an optional field you don’t even validate the input. However when you need to send a newsletter you don’t want to process all fields and validate one by one, you want to use a single query and just get all e-mail addresses (eventually by adding additional rules as well), so here’s how you can do it in MySQL:

FROM `m_comment`
WHERE `comment_url`
REGEXP ‘(.*)@(.*)\.(.*)’

Sure, you can optimize the query, but it’s a simple regular expression which .. well, in most cases is good enough.

11 thoughts on “How to validate e-mail address in MySQL

  1. Yeah, your regexp expression is indeed better, the first one I wrote was the bare minimum, you can find a much optimized one of course, but on a real situation it was good enough (yours is better indeed).

  2. It doesn’t work properly. It ignores the . , if there is a . in it or not. It always passes 🙁

    Please help! 😀

  3. A way better regular expression:

  4. Regex with MySQL is slightly different, you need to “double protect” special cars, here’s the good one :


  5. SELECT * FROM user WHERE email NOT REGEXP ‘^[a-zA-Z0-9][+a-zA-Z0-9._-]*@[a-zA-Z0-9][a-zA-Z0-9._-]*[a-zA-Z0-9]*\\.[a-zA-Z]{2,4}$’

    handles gmail address with +
    handles email addresses where the host is a single letter

    tested against approximately 8000 user records on a production database

  6. When I have to do a select, it is too late, because I then have already invalid data in the database. Validation must happen before an insert, not after.

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