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My question is, my hosting allows me to create and manage MySQL databases through my control panel and phpMyAdmin so is it still necessary for me to install MySQL locally on my computer for such a simple database?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated since this is my first MySQL project.
But its not necessary mysql on local machine, What you can, you can created two database using phpmyadmin with your hosting company.
One for testing and other for your production.
It includes phpmyadmin which I've been using to create and populate databases and test SQL queries.
Its easy to install, just unzip and run the setup file, and away you go.