So, you’re creating a custom SQL query to perform a task in the database. After putting the code together and running it in PHPmyAdmin it responds with a 1064 error. It may look similar to this:
The 1064 error displays any time you have an issue with your SQL syntax, and is often due to using reserved words, missing data in the database, or mistyped/obsolete commands. So follow along and learn more about what the 1064 error is, some likely causes, and general troubleshooting steps.
Note: Since syntax errors can be hard to locate in long queries, the following online tools can often save time by checking your code and locating issues:
Causes for the 1064 error
This may seem cryptic since it is a general error pointing to a syntax issue in the SQL Query statement. Since the 1064 error can have multiple causes, we will go over the most common things that will result in this error and show you how to fix them. Follow along so you can get your SQL queries updated and running successfully.
Using reserved words
Every version of MySQL has its own list of reserved words. These are words that are used for specific purposes or to perform specific functions within the MySQL engine. If you attempt to use one of these reserved words, you will receive the 1064 error. For example, below is a short SQL query that uses a reserved word as a table name.
CREATE TABLE alter (first_day DATE, last_day DATE);
How to fix it:
Just because the word alter is reserved does not mean it cannot be used, it just has special requirements to use it as the MySQL engine is trying to call the functionality for the alter command. To fix the issue, you will want to surround the word with backticks, this is usually the button just to the left of the “1” button on the keyboard. The code block below shows how the code will need to look in order to run properly.
CREATE TABLE `alter` (first_day DATE, last_day DATE);
Sometimes data can be missing from the database. This causes issues when the data is required for a query to complete. For example, if a database is built requiring an ID number for every student, it is reasonable to assume a query will be built to pull a student record by that ID number. Such a query would look like this:
SELECT * from students WHERE studentID = $id
If the $id is never properly filled in the code, the query would look like this to the server:
SELECT * from students WHERE studentID =
Since there is nothing there, the MySQL engine gets confused and complains via a 1064 error.
How to fix it:
Hopefully, your application will have some sort of interface that will allow you to bring up the particular record and add the missing data. This is tricky because if the missing data is the unique identifier, it will likely need that information to bring it up, thus resulting in the same error. You can also go into the database (typically within phpMyAdmin) where you can select the particular row from the appropriate table and manually add the data.
Mistyping of Commands
One of the most common causes for the 1064 error is when a SQL statement uses a mistyped command. This is very easy to do and is easily missed when troubleshooting at first. Our example shows an UPDATE command that is accidentally misspelled.
UDPATE table1 SET id = 0;
How to fix it:
Be sure to check your commands prior to running them and ensure they are all spelled correctly.
Below is the syntax for the correct query statement.
UPDATE table1 SET id = 0;
Some commands that were deprecated (slated for removal but still allowed for a period of time) eventually go obsolete. This means that the command is no longer valid in the SQL statement. One of the more common commands is the ‘TYPE‘ command. This has been deprecated since MySQL 4.1 but was finally removed as of version 5.1, where it now gives a syntax error. The ‘TYPE‘ command has been replaced with the ‘ENGINE‘ command. Below is an example of the old version:
CREATE TABLE t (i INT) TYPE = INNODB;
This should be replaced with the new command as below:
CREATE TABLE t (i INT) ENGINE = INNODB;
As you can see there is more than one cause for the 1064 error within MySQL code. Now, you know how to correct the issues with your SQL Syntax, so your query can run successfully. This list will be updated as more specific instances are reported.