Working with Insert Ignore in MySQL



When inserting multiple rows, but default SQL will stop and return an error if there is an issue and no rows are inserted. If we use the INSERT IGNORE statement we can skip errors and insert all rows that are still valid. In this article, we will learn how to use INSERT IGNORE in MySql.

The Syntax

The basic syntax of INSERT IGNORE INTO is as follows:

INSERT IGNORE INTO table(column1, column2, ...)
  (value1, value2, ....),
  (value1, value2, ....);

Getting Setup

We will be using docker in this article, but feel free to install your database locally instead. Once you have docker installed, create a new file called docker-compose.yml and add the following.

version: '3'
    image: mysql:latest
    container_name: db
      MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD: root_pass
      MYSQL_DATABASE: app_db
      MYSQL_USER: db_user
      MYSQL_PASSWORD: db_user_pass
      - "6033:3306"
      - dbdata:/var/lib/mysql
    image: phpmyadmin/phpmyadmin
    container_name: pma
      - db
      PMA_HOST: db
      PMA_PORT: 3306
    restart: always
      - 8081:80


Next, run docker-compose up.

Now, navigate to http://localhost:8081/ to access phpMyAdmin. Then log in with the username root and pass root_pass.

Click the SQL tab and you are ready to go.

Creating a DB

In this article, we will need some data to work with. We will be using the sample db provided here: However, we will only enter what we need rather than import the whole db.

With the SQL tab open (or your own sql cli going), let's first create our DB and select it.

create DATABASE if not EXISTS sakila;

USE sakila;
CREATE TABLE employees (
    emp_no      INT             NOT NULL,
    birth_date  DATE            NOT NULL,
    first_name  VARCHAR(14)     NOT NULL,
    last_name   VARCHAR(16)     NOT NULL,
    gender      ENUM ('M','F')  NOT NULL,    
    hire_date   DATE            NOT NULL,
    PRIMARY KEY (emp_no)
CREATE TABLE salaries (
    emp_no      INT             NOT NULL,
    salary      INT             NOT NULL,
    from_date   DATE            NOT NULL,
    to_date     DATE            NOT NULL,
    FOREIGN KEY (emp_no) REFERENCES employees (emp_no) ON DELETE CASCADE,
    PRIMARY KEY (emp_no, from_date)

Now, let's enter a few rows

INSERT INTO `employees` VALUES (10001,'1953-09-02','Georgi','Facello','M','1986-06-26'),
INSERT INTO `salaries` VALUES (10001,60117,'1986-06-26','1987-06-26'),

An Example

Let's do an example where we insert two rows with the same id. This will result in an error.

INSERT INTO employees (emp_no, birth_date, first_name, last_name, gender, hire_date)
  (4000, '1991-01-01', 'Anna', 'Hendrix', 'F', '2021-01-01'),
  (4000, '1991-01-01', 'Diana', 'Hendrix', 'F', '2021-01-01');

Duplicate entry '4000' for key 'employees.PRIMARY'

None of the rows were inserted. If we want the first row to insert even if the second errors, we can use the INSERT IGNORE.

INSERT IGNORE INTO employees (emp_no, birth_date, first_name, last_name, gender, hire_date)
  (4000, '1991-01-01', 'Anna', 'Hendrix', 'F', '2021-01-01'),
  (4000, '1991-01-01', 'Diana', 'Hendrix', 'F', '2021-01-01');