MySQL and Access via ODBC

A client of mine had a request to connect Microsoft Access to MySQL via an ODBC connector. The MySQL ODBC setup is not very common, but is entirely possible. MySQL does provide an ODBC connector for other database clients. ¬†The setup is a bit tricky. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information and documentation online for this type of setup. After some trial and error, I got it to work.

First of all, here are some details. The MySQL server runs on Ubuntu 12.04. The ODBC client, MS Access 2010, runs on a Windows 7 machine. Assuming MySQL is already installed, we just need to make sure the MySQL server ODBC library is installed first.

sudo apt-get install libmyodbc

Now, let’s create an ODBC Data Source. Not sure if this step is required or optional. I did it anyways.

sudo nano /etc/odbc.ini

Add the following entries:

[ODBC Data Sources]
testodbc = MyODBC 5.2.5 Driver DSN
Driver       = MySQL
Description  = MySQL ODBC 5.2.5 Driver DSN
Server       = localhost
Port         =
User         = user
Password     = password
Database     = test
Option       = 3
Socket       =

Let’s secure your MySQL database by answering the following questions.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Answer the following questions:

Enter current password for root. Enter password.
Change root password? [Y/n] n
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] n
Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y

Allow remote login on MySQL

# Edit mysql configuration
sudo nano /etc/mysql/my.cnf
# Comment out "skip-networking"
# Add "bind-address ="
# Enter your own IP address
$ bind-address =
# Save file and exit. 
# Login to MySQL 
$ sudo mysql -u root -p 
# Grant privileges 
mysql> grant all privileges on *.* to 'root'@'%' identified by 'password' with grant option;
mysql> flush privileges;
mysql> exit;
# Restart MySQL
$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart
# Test connection
$ telnet 3306

Download the latest MySQL ODBC Connector and install.

Open Microsoft Access

  1. Create “new blank database.”
  2. Select “External Data” and click on “ODBC Database.”
  3. Select “Link to the data source by creating a link table.”
  4. Create a new DSN
  5. Choose “MySQL 5.2 ODBC Driver.”
  6. Enter IP, Port 3306, Username, Password, and Database.
  7. Save DNS for later use.

You should have connected to the MySQL by now.

User Access To Web Root

When setting up your Ubuntu server, you can allow regular Linux accounts to access your web root directory via FTP or secure shell. In this case, you want users to access /var/www directory. One of the first things you’ll need to do is give permissions to the Apache user www-data.

Change the group name to /var/www.

sudo chgrp www-data /var/www

Make it writeable.

sudo chmod 775 /var/www

Set the GID for www-data for all sub-folders.

sudo chmod g+s /var/www

Finally, add your user to www-data group.

sudo usermod -a -G www-data username

This will now allow you to use a regular user account via FTP or SSH with write permissions to the /var/www directory. This is much more secure way than using the www-data user account.

Fix Apache FDQ Error

If you’re working on Ubuntu and running Apache, you probably have seen this error when rebooting Apache. It says “could not reliably determine the server’s fully qualified domain name.” There’s a simple fix to this configuration issue.

You’ll need to edit the /etc/apache2/httpd.conf config file:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

and add this entry:

ServerName localhost

Reboot Apache

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

The error is now gone.