Here are the recommended maximum data-length limits for common database and programming fields

// October 31st, 2016 // Technology

Software system data schematic

When creating a database, programmers typically stop and scratch their heads when deciding on a maximum data length for the field.  Similarly, hackers fuzzing a field may wonder how many characters should be allocated to the target.  Although there are no definitive standards, we can come close using governmental standards, ISO recommendations, and database best practices based on maximum known values.  Below are common database fields along with their maximum recommended allowable length and data type.

Field Max length Notes
First name 35 chars (US), 50 (other)
Last name 35 chars (US), 50 (other)
Display name 70 chars (US) 100 (other)
Street address 35 chars (US) 100 (other) The longest street name in the United States is 34 characters long.  The longest in the world (in New Zealand) is 92 letters long.
Town 25 chars (US) 60 (other)
State 15 chars (US) 50 (other)
Country name 55 chars  Currently the longest country name in the world is 53 characters long
Postal code 9 chars
Monetary amounts 16 chars Use common sense here, a smaller field size would likely work
Dates 10 chars CCYY-MM-DD
Email address 254 chars  According to spec with clarification from IETF RFC Errata in 2010
Phone number 15 chars According to ITU-T
Phone number extension 11 chars
Credit card number 19 digits Most are 16 digits
CVV field 4 digits Some are only 3 digits
IP address 12 digits
Company name 100 chars Highly variable but the longest name in the US is believed to be a law firm with a 92 character name.
Longitude 9 (with 6 decimal places) 6 decimal positions for .1m resolution or 5 decimal positions for 1m resolution
Latitude 8 (with 6 decimal places) 6 decimal positions for .1m resolution or 5 decimal positions for 1m resolution

 

Remember that in most databases, there may be no overhead distance between a smaller sized field and a larger sized field.  You can err on the side of caution and allow more characters but the practice is not considered secure.

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