Database Trigger: Definition, Examples


A database trigger is a set of instructions or a program that is automatically executed in response to specific events occurring within a database. Events may include updates, insertions, or deletions of data. Often used for maintaining data integrity, triggers provide a method of automating specific functions within the database management system.


The phonetics of the keyword “Database Trigger” are: Database: /ˈdeɪ.təˌbeɪs/Trigger: /ˈtrɪɡ.ər/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Database Trigger is a programmatic entity that automatically reacts or responds to specific events or changes like modification of data in a table. It is essentially a set of SQL statements that a database system executes automatically as a side effect of a modification to the database.
  2. There are two types of database triggers, mainly, “Row triggers” and “Statement triggers”. Row triggers are executed for each row that is affected by an update, insert or delete command. Statement triggers, on the other hand, will be executed once for each SQL statement.
  3. Triggers can be utilized to enforce constraints, to log changes or events and to implement complex business rules. However, triggers can potentially lead to complex situations and unwanted side effects, if not managed properly. Hence, their usage needs to be carefully evaluated considering performance and maintenance aspects.



A database trigger is essential in the realm of technology because it automates specific operations, enhancing efficiency and accuracy. This component of a database executes a set of actions when certain conditions or events, such as insertions, updates or deletions, occur in a specified table. It aids in maintaining data integrity by enforcing business rules, ensuring that unauthorized, erroneous, or inconsistent data doesn’t get stored in the database. Triggers can also be used to log historical data, monitor database activities, or push notifications to users. It offers advantages in database management by ensuring data validity, consistency, and security through automatic sequence of operations, hence playing an invaluable role in maintaining robustness of a database system.


A Database Trigger is a crucial programmatic entity that is used to automatically carry out certain actions in response to specific changes or events in a database. Essentially, it acts like an automated sentinel that springs into action when there’s a change in data entries or when certain conditions are met in a database operation. The underlying purpose of a Database Trigger is to maintain the integrity of a database, and hence, it is extensively used in monitoring, auditing, performing validations, enforcing business rules and implementing complex business logic. Typically, triggers can respond to different kinds of event such as data manipulation (insertion, deletion, and alteration), data definition (creation, alteration, and dropping of tables), or even changes in the database schema. For example, a trigger could automatically update a record in one table when a related record in a different table is modified. This ensures consistency and coherence of data and automates the execution of policies and rules. Triggers, therefore, play a pivotal role in managing complex relationships between tables and maintaining the stability, reliability, and performance of a database system.


1. Customer Order Management: In an e-commerce business, when a customer places an order, it is entered into the order management database. A trigger can be set up to automatically deduct the ordered items from the inventory database, ensuring that the business keeps accurate track of its stock levels. 2. Banking Transactions: A database trigger can be used in a banking system. When a customer transfers money from one account to another, a trigger would automatically deduct the money from one account and add it to the other. The trigger ensures that both actions occur together, maintaining the integrity of the data.3. Automatic Email Responses: For example, a customer relationship management (CRM) may have a trigger set up so that whenever a new lead is entered into the database, an automatic email is sent out to that lead. This ensures immediate contact and response to potential clients, without requiring manual input from sales representatives.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Sure, here you go:Q: What is a Database Trigger?A: A database trigger is a procedural code that is automatically executed in response to certain events on a database table. Triggers can manipulate the data in the table and are often used for maintaining the integrity of the information in the table.Q: When are database triggers used?A: Database triggers are used when specific actions of Insert, Update, or Delete are performed on a particular table in the database.Q: Are database triggers the same as stored procedures?A: No, database triggers and stored procedures are not the same. While both are database objects and contain procedural code, triggers are activated by certain events whereas stored procedures must be explicitly called. Q: In which programming languages can I write Database Triggers?A: Most Common languages used to write database triggers are SQL, PL/SQL (for Oracle DB) and T-SQL (for SQL Server). The language could vary depending on your DBMS.Q: Can I have multiple triggers for the same event in a database?A: Yes, you can have multiple triggers for the same event; however, the order in which they execute might differ based on the specific database system.Q: What is the difference between a before trigger and an after trigger?A: A “before” trigger executes before the event (Insert, Update, Delete) is carried out, while an “after” trigger executes after the respective event has occurred.Q: What are the benefits of using a database trigger?A: Database triggers can automate certain tasks, enforce business rules, and maintain data consistency. They can also log changes, enforce security protocols, and replicate or synchronize data.Q: What are the drawbacks of using database triggers?A: One of the major drawbacks is that triggers can slow down the system as they are executed implicitly for every event occurrence. Debugging can also be tricky as triggers are not manually controlled.Q: Can triggers be disabled in a database?A: Yes, triggers can be temporarily disabled or permanently dropped if they are no longer needed.Q: What are nested triggers?A: Nested triggers are those that are invoked by other triggers. It’s a situation where a trigger performs an action that initiates another trigger. Not all database systems support nested triggers.

Related Finance Terms

  • Database Management System (DBMS)
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Data Manipulation Language (DML)
  • Transactional Consistency
  • Relational Database

Sources for More Information

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