MySQL – why not index every field


Recently I've learned the wonder of indexes, and performance has improved dramatically. However, with all I've learned, I can't seem to find the answer to this question.

Indexes are great, but why couldn't someone just index all fields to make the table incredibly fast? I'm sure there's a good reason to not do this, but how about three fields in a thirty-field table? 10 in a 30 field? Where should one draw the line, and why?

Best Solution

Indexes take up space in memory (RAM); Too many or too large of indexes and the DB is going to have to be swapping them to and from the disk. They also increase insert and delete time (each index must be updated for every piece of data inserted/deleted/updated).

You don't have infinite memory. Making it so all indexes fit in RAM = good.

You don't have infinite time. Indexing only the columns you need indexed minimizes the insert/delete/update performance hit.