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PostgreSQL vs. MySQL:  Everything You Need to Know
Table of Contents
For nearly 40 years, Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) have been known as the go-to option for the storage of information in databases, mainly for personal data, financial information, manufacturing records and more. The relational model for database management uses table format for storing data, which makes it different than 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. We will draw a comparison between the features of these systems and help you choose the right RDBMS for your project. These RDBMSs are MySQL—the most popular and commonly used RDBMS, and PostgreSQL—the most advanced SQL compliant and open-source objective-RDBMS.
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, due to which it is trusted by business giants such as Apple, Yahoo!, Instagram, Facebook and Instagram along with numerous other telecoms, 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, mostly SQL compliance and support from an active developer community.
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. Moreover, 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.
PostgreSQL vs. MySQL: Key Differences
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 make or break it. 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. Below we discuss the most outstanding features of both systems and help you choose the best RDBMS.
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. 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 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 ‘lack of CHECK constraints’.
Both PostgreSQL and MySQL systems can run on the Solaris, Windows Operating Systems, Linux and OS X. The OS X is developed by Apple Inc., Solaris an Oracle product, Windows OS is a Microsoft product and Linux is an open-source operating system. 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 to 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.
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 is highly secure and 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 SLL 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.
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 used to gain access to data based on XML. The platform’s native C library and streaming APIs can also be used to access PostgreSQL.
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.
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 which 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 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 is significant for the improvement of any database system. PostgreSQL has a very active community which 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 latest features and maximum security. MySQL also features a large community of followers and contributors, who focus on maintaining existing features while some new features emerge occasionally.
|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|
|Security||PostgreSQL offers native SLL 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|
PostgreSQL or MySQL: Which is better for your Project?
In this article, we discussed the most prominent features of the two of the most extensively used RDBMS PostgreSQL and MySQL. Both these systems show some sparkling differences along with some similarities as well. Both the systems have a long list of pros and cons, and it all comes down to what your project demands from an RDBMS.
MySQL will be ideal for your project if you require a high-security RDBMS for web applications or custom solutions, but not if you need a fully SQL compliant RDBMS capable of performing complex tasks swiftly. Meanwhile, PostgreSQL will be ideal for your project if your requirements revolve around complex procedures, integration, intricate designs and data integrity, and not around high-speed and ease of setting up.
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Whichever RDBMS you choose, Hackr.io has community-curated tutorials and courses for both PostgreSQL and MySQL: