What are TCL Commands in SQL?

What are TCL Commands in SQL?

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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Mar 4, 2024 15:07 IST

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a database language that allows you to create a database and perform various operations. This is done using various types of SQL commands, such as DDL, DQL, DML, TCL, and DCL. But, this article will mainly focus on TCL commands in SQL.


Before we dive deeper into the article (TCL commands in SQL), let’s quickly go over the list of topics listed under the table of contents (TOC) that we will cover in this article. Here’s the table of contents:

Table of Contents

What are TCL Commands in SQL?

TCL Command Definition: The TCL (Transaction Control Language) commands in SQL help users manage and control a database’s transactions (changes) to maintain consistency.

In layman’s terms, we use TCL commands in order to manage transactions within a database. The transaction is a set of SQL statements executed on the data stored in the Database Management System. In simple terms, transactions are a set of one or more operations that are executed as a single unit of work. Either all or none of the operations should be completed.

Whenever any transaction happens, it is not permanent but rather temporary. TCL commands allow you to make those transactions (changes) permanent. TCL commands ensure that either all the changes are completed or none of them are.

You can also explore: All About DML Commands in SQL

Types of TCL Commands in SQL 

There are mainly four types of TCL commands in SQL that help users to manage transactions. These four types of Transaction Control Language commands are:

  • COMMIT Command
  • ROLLBACK Command
  • SAVEPOINT Command

In the next section, let’s explore these three commands in detail.

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Must Explore: Understanding the Differences Between DDL and DML


BEGIN TRANSACTION Command Definition: The BEGIN TRANSACTION command allows users to start a new transaction.

In order to understand it, let’s go through an example. Suppose you want to transfer money from one bank account to another. Hence, to accomplish this, both the debit and credit operations should happen together or not at all. To ensure this, you can wrap both operations in a transaction by starting it with the BEGIN TRANSACTION command.

You can also explore: 100+ SQL Interview Questions and Answers

Here’s the code:

UPDATE customers SET balance = balance + 100 WHERE customer_id = 1001;
Copy code

COMMIT Command 

COMMIT Command Definition: The COMMIT command allows users to save the changes made in the current transaction.

In order to understand it, let’s go through an example. Suppose you successfully transfer money from one bank account to another as part of a transaction. Once done, you can issue a COMMIT command to make the changes permanent.

Here’s the code:

UPDATE customers SET balance = balance + 100 WHERE customer_id = 1001;
Copy code


ROLLBACK Command Definition: The ROLLBACK command allows users to undo the changes made in the current transaction.

In order to understand it, let’s go through an example. Suppose, for certain reasons, the debit operation in the bank transfer failed. Hence, you can use the ROLLBACK command to undo the changes and return the system to its previous state.

Here’s the code: 

UPDATE customers SET balance = balance + 100 WHERE customer_id = 1001;
Copy code

Must Check: Free Database and SQL Online Course and Certificates 


SAVEPOINT Command Definition: The SAVEPOINT command allows a user to create a point within a transaction to which you can later roll back.

In order to understand it, let’s go through an example. Suppose you are transferring money from one bank account to another. And you also want to be able to undo the debit operation separately from the credit operation. Hence, in order to accomplish this, you can use a savepoint to mark the point after the debit operation and later roll back to that point if needed.

Here’s the code: 

SAVEPOINT savepoint_1;
UPDATE customers SET balance = balance + 100 WHERE customer_id = 1001;
ROLLBACK TO savepoint_1;
Copy code

Advantages of TCL Commands 

There are various advantages to using transaction control language commands. Let’s explore some of the most common and popular advantages of TCL commands, such as:

  • The TCL commands are easy to remember and handy.
  • Database users can very easily access, edit, and save changes to the database.
  • The coding required is not very complex. Hence, even new users can use these commands feasibly.
  • TCL commands ensure the consistency of the data in a database. Hence, if any operation within a transaction fails, the transaction is rolled back. 
  • TCL commands ensure the durability of the data in a database. Hence, when a transaction is committed, its changes are made permanent, even if the system fails or restarts.
  • In TCL commands, transactions provide atomicity, i.e., all the operations within a transaction are executed as a single, indivisible unit. Hence, either all the operations are completed or none of them are.

You can also explore: ACID Properties in SQL

Disadvantages of TCL commands 

The disadvantages of using transaction control language commands in SQL include the following:

  • For new users, identifying savepoints can be a lot confusing.
  • The ROLLBACK command is of no use when a user commits using the COMMIT command.
  • Transactions add overhead to the database system, requiring additional processing and storage resources. Thus, resulting in slower performance and increased resource consumption.
  • Transactions can add complexity to database systems if the database is large or complex. Hence, it will require careful management and monitoring to ensure the system remains stable and functional. 


In this article, we have explored what transaction control language commands are. We have also explored its types with examples, advantages, and disadvantages in detail. If you have any queries related to the topic, please feel free to send your queries to us in the form of a comment. We will be happy to help.

Happy Learning!!


What are TCL commands in SQL?

Transaction Control Language (TCL) commands in SQL are used to manage transactions within databases. They control the execution, confirmation, and reversal of changes within transactions to ensure the integrity of data.

What are the key TCL commands in SQL?

The key TCL commands in SQL include COMMIT, ROLLBACK, and SAVEPOINT.

What is a transaction in SQL?

A transaction is a logical unit of work that contains one or more SQL statements. A transaction is considered successful if all the commands within it are executed without any errors. If an error occurs, the transaction is rolled back, meaning any changes are undone.

What is the use of the COMMIT command in SQL?

The COMMIT command in SQL is used to permanently save all changes made by the current transaction to the database. After a COMMIT statement is executed, the changes are permanent and cannot be rolled back.

Can you explain the role of the ROLLBACK command in SQL?

The ROLLBACK command in SQL is used to undo changes that have been made within a transaction before it has been committed. It allows you to revert to the last committed state in case an error occurs during a transaction.

How do TCL commands interact with different isolation levels in SQL databases?

TCL commands are integral to managing transactions at different isolation levels. At higher isolation levels, such as Serializable, TCL commands like COMMIT and ROLLBACK become crucial for resolving conflicts like dirty reads, non-repeatable reads, and phantom reads. They ensure transactions are executed with the required isolation level, maintaining data integrity and consistency.

What are the implications of TCL commands on database performance, and how can they be mitigated?

While TCL commands ensure transactional integrity, they can impact performance by increasing lock times and reducing concurrency. To mitigate this, it's recommended to keep transactions as short as possible and apply indexing appropriately. Apart from this, use isolation levels judiciously to balance the need for consistency with performance.

Can TCL commands be used in distributed database systems, and if so, how?

In distributed databases, TCL commands must be coordinated across all nodes involved in a transaction. A two-phase commit protocol typically handles this and ensures that all nodes either commit or rollback a transaction in a coordinated manner. This way, the ACID properties are maintained across the entire distributed system.

How do TCL commands relate to database recovery processes?

TCL commands are vital for database recovery processes. The COMMIT command ensures that all transaction changes are logged and can be redone in case of a crash. Meanwhile, the ROLLBACK cmd uses logs to undo any changes made by incomplete transactions. All these commands work together to restore the database to a consistent state.

What are some advanced techniques for troubleshooting transaction issues using TCL commands?

Advanced troubleshooting with TCL commands involves analyzing transaction logs, using SAVEPOINT for partial rollbacks, and monitoring for deadlocks. Proficient use of these commands helps pinpoint issues such as long-running transactions and lock contention.

About the Author
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio