I'm running a Debian 10 based distro. As an experiment, I downloaded one of these Wikipedia-like sites which gives you a download size of several gigabytes. I was hoping to run it offline. I don't know if I ever had any experience with .sql, maybe 15+ years ago in high school. When unzipped, it has a bunch of folders, images is the largest folder, anyway I think the main one is the database.sql which is 3GB.

How easy is it to navigate this database offline? Obviously when it runs online, there is a search function, etc. If running something like this is feasible on an offline desktop, what .sql programs need to be installed in order to do it?

  • That depends on the database dump you have there. Take a look at the head of the file. Running on a desktop should be feasible.
    – Panki
    Nov 28, 2021 at 22:08
  • Thanks for the reply Panki. I opened it with klogg because when I double clicked it, it froze my laptop. Then klogg crashed, however the top line was: |"MySQL dump 10.19 Distrib 10.3.32-MariaDB, for Linux (x86_64)" What am I looking for? Also, what software should I be using to open it? cheers
    – 1toneboy
    Nov 28, 2021 at 22:47
  • It appears to be a mysql database dump (actually, MariaDB, which is a fork of mysql). That means you need to import it into mysql/mariadb, then you can run SQL queries against it. Exactly how you do that depends on what kind of dump it is - e.g. whether it's a binary dump or plain text. Try searching on the wiki you got the dump from to see if they have any instructions for using that. Failing that, search on Wikipedia itself - if they're using the mediawiki software, same as Wikipedia, then the instructions will be very similar.
    – cas
    Nov 29, 2021 at 6:01
  • Could you give a link/example of those "Wikipedia-like" files you're referring to? Oct 21, 2023 at 9:29

2 Answers 2


Sounds like it is a MySQL/MariaDB dump file, which contains lots of plain SQL to recreate the databases from scratch.

This will most likely be unusable to you except for looking inside to search for things. The normal way to continue from here would be to load the files into your own instance of MariaDB/MySQL, and then use that like any other database.

Note that these are large files so the database will be large as well. This means that your personal computer might not be powerful enough.


Running complex queries on very large files (CSV, TSV, JSON, cloud...) with huge tables (multiple columns several gigabytes) can be easily done with DuckDB, especially the latest versions than can run SQL commands on lightweight desktop computer (1GB of RAM)


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