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Troubleshooting MariaDB Problems

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Starsky is compatible with SQLite 3 and MariaDB 10.5.12+. Official support for MySQL 8 is discontinued as Oracle seems to have stopped shipping new features and enhancements. As a result, the testing effort required before each release is no longer feasible.

Our configuration examples are usually based on the current stable version to take advantage of performance improvements. This does not mean that older versions are no longer supported and you must upgrade immediately.

We recommend not using the :latest tag for the MariaDB Docker image and to upgrade manually by changing the tag once we had a chance to test a new major version, e.g.:

image: mariadb:10.9
# ... etc...

Cannot Connect

First, verify that you are using the correct port (default is 3306) and host:

  • in the internal Docker network, the default hostname is mariadb (same as the service)
  • avoid changing the default network configuration, unless you are experienced with this
  • avoid using IP addresses other than (localhost) directly, as they can change
  • only use localhost or if the database port has been exposed as described below and you are on the same computer (host)
  • we recommend configuring a local hostname to access other hosts on your network

To connect to MariaDB from your host or home network, you need to expose port 3306 in your docker-compose.yml and restart the service for changes to take effect:

- "3306:3306"

!!! danger "" Set strong passwords if the database is exposed to an external network. Never expose your database to the public Internet in this way, for example, if it is running on a cloud server.

If this doesn't help, check the Docker Logs for messages like disk full, disk quota exceeded, no space left on device, read-only file system, error creating path, wrong permissions, no route to host, connection failed, exec format error, no matching manifest, and killed:

  • Make sure that the database storage folder is readable and writable: Errors such as "read-only file system", "error creating path", or "wrong permissions" indicate a filesystem permission problem
  • If symbolic links are mounted or used within the storage folder, replace them with the actual paths and verify that they are accessible
  • If the MariaDB service has been "killed" or otherwise automatically terminated, this can point to a memory problem (add swap and/or memory; remove or increase usage limits)
  • In case the logs also show "disk full", "quota exceeded", or "no space left" errors, either the disk containing the storage folder is full (add storage) or a disk usage limit is configured (remove or increase it)
  • Log messages that contain "no route to host" may also indicate a general network configuration problem (follow our examples)
  • You have to resort to alternative Docker images to run MariaDB on ARMv7-based devices and those with a 32-bit operating system

Bad Performance

Many users reporting poor performance and high CPU usage have migrated from SQLite to MariaDB, so their database schema is no longer optimized for performance. For example, MariaDB cannot handle rows with text columns in memory and always uses temporary tables on disk if there are any.

The instructions for these migrations were provided by a contributor and are not part of the original software distribution. As such, they have not been officially released, recommended, or extensively tested by us.

If this is the case, please make sure that your migrated database schema matches that of a fresh, non-migrated installation.

Get Performance Tips ›

Version Upgrade

If MariaDB fails to start after upgrading from an earlier version (or migrating from MySQL), the internal management schema may be outdated. With older versions, it could only be updated manually. However, newer MariaDB Docker images support automatic upgrades on startup, so you don't have to worry about that anymore.

Manual Update

To manually upgrade the internal database schema, run this command in a terminal:

docker compose exec mariadb mariadb-upgrade -uroot -p

Enter the MariaDB "root" password specified in your docker-compose.yml when prompted.

Auto Upgrade

To enable automatic schema updates, set MARIADB_AUTO_UPGRADE to a non-empty value in your docker-compose.yml as shown in our config example:

image: mariadb:10.9

Before starting MariaDB in production mode, the database image entrypoint script now runs mariadb-upgrade to update the internal management schema as needed. For example, when you pull a new major release and restart the service.

!!! tldr "" Since Starsky does not require time zone support, you can also add MARIADB_INITDB_SKIP_TZINFO to your config as shown above. However, this is only a recommendation and optional.

Incompatible Schema

If your database does not seem to be compatible with the currently installed version of Starsky, for example because search results are missing or incorrect, first make sure you are using a supported database and that its internal management schema is up-to-date. How to do that is explained in the previous section.

Complete Rescan

We recommend that you re-index your pictures after a schema migration, especially if problems persist. You can either start a rescan from the user interface by navigating to More > Manual Sync, click "Manual Sync", or by running this command in a terminal:

docker compose exec /app/starskysynchronizecli -s

Be careful not to start multiple indexing processes at the same time, as this will lead to a high server load.

Server Crashes

If the server crashes unexpectedly or your database files get corrupted frequently, it is usually because they are stored on an unreliable device such as a USB flash drive, an SD card, or a shared network folder mounted via NFS or CIFS. These may also have unexpected file size limitations, which is especially problematic for databases that do not split data into smaller files.

  • Never use the same database files with more than one server instance
  • To share a database over a network, run the database server directly on the remote server instead of sharing database files
  • To repair your tables after you have moved the files to a local disk, you can start MariaDB with --innodb-force-recovery=1 (otherwise the same procedure as for recovering a lost password, see above)
  • Make sure you are using the latest Docker version and read the release notes for the database server version you are using

Corrupted Files

Server Crashes

Lost Root Password

In case you forgot the MariaDB "root" password and the one specified in your configuration does not work, you can start the server with the --skip-grant-tables flag added to the mysqld command in your docker-compose.yml. This will temporarily give full access to all users after a restart:

command: mysqld --skip-grant-tables

Restart the mariadb service for changes to take effect:

docker compose stop mariadb
docker compose up -d mariadb

Now open a database console:

docker compose exec mariadb mysql -uroot

Enter the following commands to change the password for "root":

ALTER USER 'root'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password';
ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password';
UPDATE mysql.user SET authentication_string = '' WHERE user = 'root';
UPDATE mysql.user SET plugin = '' WHERE user = 'root';

When you are done, remove the --skip-grant-tables flag again to restore the original command and restart the mariadb service as described above.

Server Relocation

When moving MariaDB to another computer, cloud server, or virtual machine:

  • Move the complete storage folder along with it and preserve the file permissions
  • or restore your index from an SQL dump (backup file)
  • Perform a version upgrade if necessary
  • Make sure that Starsky can access the database on the new host
  • Set strong passwords if the database is exposed to an external network
  • Never expose your database to the public Internet

Unicode Support

If the logs show "incorrect string value" database errors and you are running a custom MariaDB or MySQL server that is not based on our default configuration:

  • Full Unicode support must be enabled, e.g. using the mysqld command parameters --character-set-server=utf8mb4 and --collation-server=utf8mb4_unicode_ci
  • Note that an existing database may use a different character set if you imported it from another server
  • Before submitting a support request, verify the problem still occurs with a newly created database based on our example

Run this command in a terminal to see the current values of the collation and character set variables (change the root password insecure and database name starsky as specified in your docker-compose.yml):

echo "SHOW VARIABLES WHERE Variable_name LIKE 'character\_set\_%' OR Variable_name LIKE 'collation%';" | \
docker compose exec -T mariadb mysql -uroot -pinsecure starsky

MySQL Errors

Official support for MySQL 8 is discontinued as Oracle seems to have stopped shipping new features and enhancements. As a result, the testing effort required before each release is no longer feasible.

*[SQLite]: self-contained, serverless SQL database