Best Practices to Optimize Pagination Queries in MariaDB


Troubleshooting pagination queries in MariaDB involves several steps and considerations. Here are some practical examples, recommendations, and a detailed conclusion.

Practical Examples of MariaDB Pagination Queries

  1. Basic Pagination Query
    • Query: SELECT * FROM your_table LIMIT 10 OFFSET 20;
    • This retrieves 10 records starting from the 21st record.
    • Use case: Displaying page 3 of results when each page has 10 items.
  2. Efficient Pagination with WHERE
    • Query: SELECT * FROM your_table WHERE condition LIMIT 10 OFFSET 30;
    • Use when you need to filter results before paginating.
  3. Using ORDER BY
    • Query: SELECT * FROM your_table ORDER BY column_name LIMIT 10 OFFSET 40;
    • Essential for consistent ordering across pages.

Recommendations for MariaDB Pagination Query Optimization

  1. Optimize Indexes
    • Ensure proper indexing on columns used in WHERE and ORDER BY clauses.
    • Improves performance, especially important for large datasets.
  2. Avoid OFFSET for Large Datasets
    • OFFSET becomes inefficient as it skips a large number of rows.
    • Use keyset pagination (also known as “seek method”) for better performance.
  3. Use Keyset Pagination for Large Datasets
    • Example: SELECT * FROM your_table WHERE id > last_seen_id ORDER BY id LIMIT 10;
    • More efficient than OFFSET for large datasets.
  4. Consider Consistency
    • Paginated results might change if the data is modified between queries.
    • Use transaction with consistent read or other techniques for stable results.
  5. Monitor Performance
    • Use EXPLAIN to analyze query performance.
    • Helps in identifying bottlenecks and optimizing queries.


Pagination in MariaDB, like in other databases, requires careful consideration of performance and consistency. Basic pagination with LIMIT and OFFSET is straightforward but might not be the best approach for large datasets due to performance issues. Using the keyset pagination method is a more efficient alternative in such cases.

Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure that the database is properly indexed based on the columns used in pagination queries. This can significantly reduce the query execution time, especially for large tables.

Consistency in paginated results can be a challenge in environments with frequent data updates. Implementing transactional controls or snapshot views can help in maintaining consistent paginated results.

Lastly, regular monitoring and analyzing queries with EXPLAIN or similar tools should be a routine practice. This helps in identifying performance issues early and allows for timely optimizations.

In summary, efficient pagination in MariaDB requires a blend of appropriate query techniques, database optimizations, and consistent performance monitoring. By applying these practices, developers can ensure responsive and reliable pagination functionality in their applications.

About Shiv Iyer 444 Articles
Open Source Database Systems Engineer with a deep understanding of Optimizer Internals, Performance Engineering, Scalability and Data SRE. Shiv currently is the Founder, Investor, Board Member and CEO of multiple Database Systems Infrastructure Operations companies in the Transaction Processing Computing and ColumnStores ecosystem. He is also a frequent speaker in open source software conferences globally.