Why would I limit my MySQL VARCHAR length?
Posted on 2007-04-04
According to the MySQL documentation, the amount of bytes taken up by a standard VARCHAR entry is equal to the length of the data + 1.
For example, when I store the string 'abc', it will take up 4 bytes of space.
That's why I think it is strange you can specify the allowed length of a VARCHAR field.
Is there any reason whatsoever I wouldn't want to specify a column as VARCHAR (255) even though each individual cell of data stored in that column will never exceed 10 characters (for instance)?
In other words, if I want - for example - to keep a list of ISO country codes (which are each exactly 2 characters long, such as 'US' for United States), is there any reason why I would specify this column as a VARCHAR (2) and not a VARCHAR (255)?