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MySQL and PostgreSQL


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PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Everything You Need to Know in 2022

Posted in MySQL, PostgreSQL
PostgreSQL and MySQL

For nearly 40 years, Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) have been the go-to option for the storage of information in databases, mainly for personal data, financial information, and manufacturing records, among other things.

The relational model for database management uses the table format for storing data, which makes it different from the standard data management model. The popularity of RDBMS can be attributed to the increase in mission-critical applications over time which requires a robust management system.

Today, all major relational databases use SQL as their query language. Although there is a standard SQL, most database platforms utilize different dialects that may include specific additional functions or a part of standard SQL abilities. In this article, we will introduce you to two major relational database management systems that are well received in the world of application development. 

This guide is a PostgreSQL vs MySQL comparison. We will examine the features of these systems and help you choose the right RDBMS for your project. These are MySQL — the most popular and commonly used RDBMS; and PostgreSQL — the most advanced SQL compliant and open-source objective-RDBMS.

PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Head-to-Head Comparison

For a quick overview of the difference between MySQL and PostgreSQL, here’s a table detailing their features. We go over the two technologies in detail after.

RDBMS

PostgreSQL

MySQL

Governance

It is free and open-source and has been released under the PostgreSQL license, similar to MIT license

Even though the source code of MySQL is available, Oracle Corporation offers certain paid versions for commercial use

SQL Compliance

PostgreSQL is largely SQL compliant and meets nearly all core features of the SQL standard

MySQL is partially SQL compliant and does not implement the full SQL standard

Supported Platforms

Solaris, Windows OS, Linux, OS X, Unix-OS and Hp-UX OS

Solaris, Windows OS, Linux, OS X, and FreeBSD OS

Programming Language Support

C/C++, Java, .Net, R, Perl, Python, JavaScript, and others

C/C++, Erlang, PHP, Lisp, Go, Perl and others

Security

PostgreSQL offers native SSL support for connections for encryptions

A lot of security features are built in MySQL and it is highly secure

Access Methods

Support all standards

Support all standards

Replication

PostgreSQL can perform master-slave replication and other types of implementation can be put into practice using third-party extensions

MySQL uses master-master replication and can perform master-slave replication

Performance

Widely used in large systems where read and write speeds are crucial and require execution of complex queries

Widely chosen for web-based projects that require a database simply for data transactions

Community Support

A very strong and active community that works to improve existing features and cement its place as the most advanced database

A large community which focuses on maintaining the existing features while new features are released seldom

Data Types

Supports advanced data types, including array, hstore and user-defined types

Supports standard SQL data types

Table Inheritance

Yes

No

Triggers

Supports triggers on a wide variety of commands, except for those that have a global effect

Limited support for triggers on commands

Storage Engine

Single storage engine

Multiple storage engines

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is considered the most advanced and powerful SQL-compliant and open-source objective-RDBMS. 

It has become the first choice for corporations that perform complex and high-volume data operations due to its powerful underlying technology. It uses multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) which allows several writers and readers to work on the system at once. 

PostgreSQL is extremely capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously and efficiently. Consequently, it is trusted by business giants such as Apple, Yahoo!, Facebook and Instagram, as well as telecom firms, and financial and government institutions.

PostgreSQL was framed with the goal of being standards-compliant, highly programmable, and extensible. Despite the compelling nature of this DBMS, many third-party tools and libraries make working with PostgreSQL simple. 

Other features include high concurrency, ACID compliance (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability), object-relation, SQL compliance (for the most part), and support from an active developer community.

What is MySQL?

The Oracle-backed RDBMS MySQL is the most famous large-scale database server. It is an open-source system that powers a large number of applications and websites online. It is easy to set up and requires minimal fine-tuning to achieve excellent performance levels. 

Third-party GUI tools such as Adminer, HeidiSQL, MySQL Workbench, and dbForge Studio make MySQL even more straightforward to get started with the database. 

There’s also a large pool of MySQL tutorials and resources, which is a boon for beginners just starting with the database.

MySQL is a feature-rich system and supports the majority of the SQL functionality either directly or indirectly, which is expected from an RDBMS. It is highly flexible and reasonably flexible, making it a popular choice for web applications. Some other features include the availability of specific security features, platform independence, ACID compliance, and ease of access to support.

Is PostgreSQL Better than MySQL?

PostgreSQL and MySQL are two of the most commonly used RDBMS, and the decision to choose the correct relational database management system for your project may have a heavy influence on final outcomes. 

In a nutshell, however, PostgreSQL is the better choice going into the future. It has more choices and everything MySQL can do, it can too. However, MySQL cannot do everything that PostgreSQL can. 

PostgreSQL has features like table partitioning and function overloading, and handles concurrency better. 

Is PostgreSQL More Secure than MySQL?

PostgreSQL is more compliant with SQL standards than MySQL. It also has such features as authentication methods, roles for permissions, and no inter-base queries, among other things. 

Bear in mind that security faults with database technologies usually lie with the programmer, not the database itself. They are both secure enough for the necessary purposes (MySQL wouldn’t be such a popular choice otherwise). 

Is PostgreSQL Easier than MySQL?

On the whole, PostgreSQL is not easier than MySQL in terms of practical application. It has more advanced features, and when it comes to learning PostgreSQL, you’ll have just a bit more than what you would with MySQL.

That said, it is not so much harder that you should find it too difficult to learn. The learning curve difference isn’t particularly substantial.

PostgreSQL vs. MySQL: Key Differences

As we said, even though they have a large pool of overlapping features, it all comes down to your requirements and how you wish to approach the problem ahead of you. The following sections discuss the most salient features of both systems to help you choose between MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Governance

The governance model of technology has unique benefits and in the case of MySQL and PostgreSQL showcases a significant difference. 

PostgreSQL is developed by the PostgreSQL Global Development group and is available under an open-source license, similar to the MIT license. 

The MySQL project has its source code open-sourced to the public under the GNU license, along with multiple proprietary agreements. It is now owned by Oracle Corp. and has to offer various paid versions for commercial use.

SQL Compliance

The SQL compliance standard is a set of regulations that a database must adhere to while implementing all SQL guidelines and standards. SQL compliance is a significant constraint for companies who wish to work with heterogeneous databases for their project (application). 

PostgreSQL is most SQL-compliant as it meets 160 of the 179 core features of the SQL standard, along with a number of optional features. 

On the other hand, MySQL is partially SQL-compliant as it does not implement the full SQL standard. However, it does provide many useful non-SQL features, such as the CHECK constraints.

Supported Platforms

Both PostgreSQL and MySQL systems can run on Solaris, Windows Operating Systems, Linux, and Mac OS X. 

PostgreSQL also supports the HP-UX OS, developed by tech giant Hewlett-Packard, along with the open-source Unix OS. 

In contrast, MySQL extends support to the open-source FreeBSD OS.

Programming Languages Support

If a system supports a variety of programming languages, it helps developers from different backgrounds perform tasks in the language they are comfortable in, thus increasing efficiency. As the server supports many programming languages for database functions, developers can easily decide whether to execute a task in the client or the server. Support for additional programming languages gives added power to the developers.

PostgreSQL is written in C and supports a number of programming languages, most prominently C/C++, Delphi, JavaScript, Java, Python, R, Tcl, Go, Lisp, Erlang, and .Net, among others. 

MySQL is written in C and C++ and extends support to C/C++, Erlang, PHP, Lisp, Go, Perl, Java, Delphi, R, and Node.js.

Security

The security of a DBMS profoundly impacts its reliability and emerges as one of the top characteristics to look for in a system. Database security points towards the collective use of processes and tools to secure the DBMS or database from threats and attacks from illegitimate sources. 

MySQL includes multiple security features, some rather advanced in its quiver. It executes security protocols based on the Access Control Lists (ACL) for user operations such as connections and queries. 

PostgreSQL offers native SSL support for connections for the encryption of client/server communications. Moreover, a built-in enhancement named SE-PostgreSQL which provides additional access controls based on SELinux policy.

Access methods

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL support all standards and have multiple common access methods, which include JDBC, ODBC and ADO.NET. 

JDBC is a database accessing API for Java programming, whereas ODBC is a standard API used to access databases. ADO.NET is a set of APIs that developers use to gain access to data based on XML. The platform’s native C library and streaming APIs can also be used to access PostgreSQL.

Replication

Database replication refers to the process of electronic copying of data from one computer or server to another, which allows all users to have access to the same information. A database may utilize numerous techniques to store surplus data across several nodes. 

MySQL uses master-master replication, in which each node is a master and has access to update the data. 

However, both PostgreSQL and MySQL can perform master-slave replication, in which one node is the master and controls data storage by the other nodes. Other types of implementation can be put into practice in PostgreSQL using third-party extensions.

Performance and Speed

PostgreSQL is appropriate for use in large systems where data needs to be authenticated and read/write speeds are critical for success. Moreover, it also supports a number of performance enhancers that are only available in proprietary solutions, including concurrency without read locks, SQL server, and Geospatial data support, among many others. In general, PostgreSQL is best suited for systems that require execution of complex queries, or data warehousing and data analysis.

MySQL is the first choice for those web-based projects which require a database merely for data transactions and not anything intricate. It works exceptionally well in Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems where only high read speeds are necessary. However, MySQL will start underperforming once it is stressed with heavy loads or complex queries.

While we discuss where these systems can be employed, the actual performance and speed of an RDBMS can be measured only by evaluating the metrics of possible scenarios as it majorly depends on the requirements and the nature of the project it is being used for.

Community support

Community support is significant for the improvement of any database system. 

PostgreSQL has a very active community that continuously helps in the improvement of existing features white its inventive committers make every effort to make sure the database remains the most advanced database with the latest features and maximum security. 

MySQL also features a large community of followers and contributors, who focus on maintaining existing features, while also adding some new features occasionally.

PostgreSQL or MySQL: Which is Better?

We discussed the most prominent features of the two most extensively used RDBMS, PostgreSQL, and MySQL. Both these systems have some unique features, along with some similarities. Given that there is a sizable list of pros and cons for each, the PostgreSQL vs MySQL decision is one that comes down to what your project demands from an RDBMS. 

MySQL is ideal for your project if you require an RDBMS for web applications or custom solutions, but not if you need a fully SQL-compliant RDBMS capable of performing complex tasks swiftly. Conversely, PostgreSQL is ideal for your project if your requirements revolve around complex procedures, integration, intricate designs, and data integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is better, PostgreSQL or MySQL?

Many developers today prefer PostgreSQL because of its rapid development. PostgreSQL can do everything that MySQL can, but not the other way around. 

2. Is PostgreSQL easier than MySQL?

MySQL is easier to setup and manage than PostgreSQL. The latter is a little more challenging, but not substantially so.

3. Should I learn PostgreSQL or MySQL?

PostgreSQL is likely the best choice in the long run. However, MySQL may be a good place to start if you want something simpler.

4. Which database is best for large data?

PostgreSQL is generally better for large amounts of data.

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Sagar Bhatia

Sagar Bhatia

Sagar is an engineering graduate and a technology lover and has been writing across various disciplines for over 5 years now. An avid gamer himself, he wishes to create a venture revolving around the e-sports domain in India. View all posts by the Author

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Denis Shilov
Denis Shilov

PostgreSQL slow and complicated by your conclusion, so one question: What???
For small projects it's no matter what of them you choose.

Art Trifonov
Art Trifonov

Not useful. Mostly copy/paste from elsewhere. Implies (correctly or not?) that MySQL is a better choice for simple apps but does not explain what makes it a better choice, or why Postgres is a poor choice for simple apps.

Victor
Victor

Hi,

On what versions of MySQL & PostGress did you checked ?

Thank you.

Victor S.

VINEET K. ARYA
VINEET K. ARYA

After reading this informative article I got confused at several places to choose best RDBMS database for our website project. As a learner and programmer I want my RDBMS database to flexible (many programming language support), efficient (should perform well during concurrent and multiple thread execution), secure and free (open-source with all the functionality and community support). So, please suggest me the best way to choose one of them. As both the databases are new for me but yes I am aware of SQL so i can work on both. I personally want to work with PostgreSQL as it is a opensource and free but most the web developers suggested me MySQL database to start with. Please help! Thanking you in advance.

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