While most web hosts have phpMyAdmin installed for their customers to use, there are plenty out there that do not. The phpMyAdmin interface is what most developers have become accustomed to when developing MySQL based websites. If phpMyAdmin is not installed on your web host, there are several options that will allow you to access and modify MySQL. Several of these options are listed below in no particular order. This list certainly doesn’t include every option but there are enough listed that there should be a solution for your specific situation.

Option 1: Install phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin is just a simple PHP based program. You can download a copy from the phpMyAdmin website. (http://www.phpmyadmin.net/home_page/downloads.php) Then you can install it by following the simple instructions similar to how you would WordPress, Drupal, or any other PHP based application. This is a good solution, although phpMyAdmin is a large interface and may take awhile to load and setup.

Option 2: Use phpMyAdmin Alternative such as Adminer

There are many alternatives to phpMyAdmin. I think phpMyAdmin is a great piece of software and if it is enabled on the web host I will always use it. If you run into a situation where it is not enabled then I suggest a phpMyAdmin alternative called Adminer. This handy script offers many of the features of phpMyAdmin in a single file. It is incredibly easy to install and the interface will already be familiar to anyone who works with phpMyAdmin on a regular basis.
You can read more about Adminer here: http://www.adminer.org/en/ or download this great script here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/adminer/files/Adminer/Adminer%202.1.0/adminer-2.1.0.php/download.

Option 3: Use a MySQL Software such as SQLyog

There are many software packages out there. My favorite is a program called SQLyog. It works similar to Microsoft’s SQL Enterprise Manager. This system allows you to manage your MySQL tables and structure from your remote computer. To utilize this software your web hosting company needs to allow remote connections. This software offers all the features of phpMyAdmin and also has support for other database types such as PostgreSQL. You can download a copy at: http://www.webyog.com/en/downloads.php#sqlyog.

Option 4: Use Command Line or PHP to Manage through Queries

The final option I am going to present is to manage your MySQL tables and structure by executing queries through PHP or using server’s command line if you have access. This tends to be the most advanced option as many developers are not familiar with the query syntax to modify structure etc using SQL statements. I would suggest trying some of the other options before using this one. My guess is if you didn’t already know the answer to this question this option may be more difficult for you than some of the others.

I hope these solutions help. I remember the first time I came across this situation I had no idea what to do. I was new to development and was accustomed to working with MySQL through phpMyAdmin and at the time didn’t even truly understand that phpMyAdmin wasn’t part of MySQL. Up until that point I thought phpMyAdmin came bundled with MySQL and was the official GUI for MySQL because I had never had to use anything else.