A correctly configured index can make the SQL query fast. An index is a data structure in the database that created by CREATE INDEX statement.

The theory is that finding from an ordered dataset is faster than from unordered. SQI index is some ordered rows.


The data structures for an index are Doubly LinkedList plus B-Tree.

Using Doubly LinkedList rather than ArrayList mainly because it's inefficient to make rooms sequential when you INSERT data. In Doubly LinkedList, every node has two links referring to preceding and the following node. Each leaf node is in a database block, which is in the same size.

An index B-Tree data structure can find a leaf node quickly by traversing from the root as less block as possible. A nice feature of B-Tree is that even with huge nodes the tree depth grows slowly.



Run the WHERE clause faster if you do it right.

Queries with unique field detected like WHERE id = 123345 can be faster If you set a PRIMARY KEY for it.

Queries with concatenated unique fields detected like WHERE category_id=1 and sub_category_id=2 can be faster if you set a concatenated Index.

> CREATE UNIQUE INDEX category_pk ON products (category_id, sub_category_id);
> SELECT name FROM product where category_id=1 and sub_category_id=2;

Although we've created an index with two more fields, the index itself is still a B-tree index, only storing multiple field values in one leaf node. More importantly, order matters. Creating an index with (category_id, sub_category_id) can help you run query where category_id=1 and sub_category_id=2 and query where category_id=1 faster, but not query where sub_category_id=2.


After introducing the index, the speed of INSERT, DELETE, and UPDATE gets slower.

The more indexes you created, the slower the INSERT statement takes, for the simple reason that it needs to write more index data to disk, not to mention it also needs to keep index order and tree balance.

The DELETE statement is the happy one, for it shares the benefit of the boosted where clause querying unless you are querying without where clause. Think of it as a SELECT plus deletions. The actual deletion is a reverse operation of INSERT: remove references in the index and keep tree balance.

Modification of values of indexed fields impacts the performance of The UPDATE statement. Usually, the database removes old entry and adds a new one into the index, which is similar to DELETE + INSERT.

The performance of all three statements is somewhat related to the number of indexes.


We might have created multiple indexes on a table but have no clue which index to use. Apply with a wrong index might get the query slower than expected, as database will possibly scan much more rows. In MySQL, we can prefix a query with EXPLAIN to check if the engine chooses the index we want. Redesign the indexes or optimize the query if it doesn't match.

EXPLAIN SELECT name FROM product where category_id=1 and sub_category_id=2;