The UPDATE command modifies existing rows in a specified table by setting one or more column values. It is commonly used to change data, correct errors, and update outdated information.


UPDATE table_name
SET column1 = value1, column2 = value2, ...
WHERE condition;

Required Arguments:

  • table_name: The name of the table to update.
  • SET: Followed by a comma-separated list of column-value pairs to update.
  • WHERE: Specifies the condition(s) to filter the rows to be updated.

Optional Arguments:

  • LIMIT: Restricts the number of rows to be updated.
  • ORDER BY: Sorts the rows to be updated before applying the changes.


  • IGNORE: Skips rows that cause errors during the update.
  • RETURNED_UPDATED_ROWS: Returns the number of rows that were successfully updated.
  • DELIMITER: Customizes the delimiter used in the SET clause.


Example 1: Update a single column:

UPDATE customers SET email = 'new_email@example.com' WHERE id = 1;

Example 2: Update multiple columns:

UPDATE products SET price = 100, stock = 50 WHERE name = 'product1';

Example 3: Update with a subquery:

UPDATE orders SET status = (SELECT status FROM order_statuses WHERE order_type = 'online');

Common Issues

  • No rows updated: Verify that the WHERE condition matches existing rows.
  • Error in update expression: Ensure the data type of the new values matches the column definitions.
  • Concurrency errors: Use transactions to handle data consistency when multiple updates are performed concurrently.


The UPDATE command can be combined with other commands for advanced tasks:

  • SELECT … WHERE EXISTS(… UPDATE …): Check if an update was successful before performing subsequent actions.
  • WITH ROLLUP/CUBE: Summarize data and update aggregate rows.
  • SELECT – Retrieves data from a table.
  • INSERT – Adds new rows to a table.
  • DELETE – Removes rows from a table.