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MariaDB vs MySQL: A Detailed Comparison

Updated on November 4, 2022

6 Min Read

In modern-day website development, a database plays an essential role in managing and storing data. Today, we have the freedom to choose from several databases to deal with dynamic data and opt for the one that suits our requirements. It is important to not just understand the databases but also to learn the key differences between them.

This article highlights the significant differences and similarities between MySQL and MariaDB. We’ll look into primary features, performance, and security and list all features that must be considered before choosing the right database for your requirements.

What is MariaDB?

What is Maria DB?

MariaDB is an open-source fork of MySQL created in 2009. MariaDB is a backward-compatible improved version of MySQL. It comes with various inbuilt capable features and many security and execution improvements missing in MySQL. MariaDB supports the same features that MySQL does but offers additional ones too.

Replacing MySQL, MariaDB has become a seamless process for most applications and CMS, especially WordPress. The existing software, from popular CMS tools to apps like phpMyAdmin, works out of the box, and actual data can be exported/imported without any changes.

What is MySQL?


MySQL is a relational database (RDBMS) that first came out in 1995. At that time, Microsoft and Oracle’s proprietary solutions dominated the market.

MySQL is an open-source relational database management system with its roots in SQL or Structured Query Language MySQL stands among the most used databases worldwide, but it is by no means the only one. Developed in C/C++, MySQL is free and open-source and has made significant headway.

However, during Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, some of the senior engineers working on developing MySQL felt that there was a conflict of interest between MySQL and Oracle’s commercial database – Oracle Database Server.

The Differences Between MySQL and MariaDB

There were numerous reasons behind the MariaDB release. The fear that Oracle would take over MySQL as a developing competitor to ensure its more lucrative main product was surely one of the greatest ones.

Other reasons were related to ensuring that MySQL would have remained free and open source. Today, MariaDB is completely GPL-authorized, with its whole set of features, whereas MySQL keeps a dual-license approach.

Differences Between MySQL and MariaDB

MariaDB vs MySQL; A Detailed Comparison

Despite having a similar structure and functionality, there are several key differences between MySQL and MariaDB.

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MariaDB and MySQL both support the JSON format and execute many of the same functions. However, MySQL stores JSON reports as binary objects, whereas MariaDB stores them in the form of strings.


Oracle Database Compatibility

MySQL has some basic Oracle features compatibility. However, MariaDB is the only open-source database compatible with Oracle Database stored procedures, sequences, data types, and more.

Speed Performance

The most significant advantage of MariaDB over MySQL is its speed and performance. When it comes to replication and performing queries, MariaDB is faster than MySQL. In addition, MariaDB also easily supports a high concurrent number of connections without much performance degradation.


MySQL comes with the validate_password component, which is used to verify and increase password security . MariaDB, in its turn, offers three password validation plugins giving users more security in their database management.


MySQL gives the authentication to configure and encrypts redo/undo logs, while it doesn’t encrypt temporary tablespace or binary logs. On the other hand, MariaDB supports binary log encryption and temporary table encryption.

Storage engines

MariaDB supports Blackhole, CSV, XtraDB, Aria, InnoDB, Archive, MariaDB ColumnStore, Connect, Cassandra Storage Engine, and many more.

Supported storage engines on MySQL MyISAM, Merge, Federated, InnoDB, Archive, Memory, CSV, Blackhole, Example

Note: it does not matter which database supports more storage engines but rather which database supports the right storage engine for your requirements.

Community and License

The primary difference between the two MySQL licenses lies in the functionality and support offered. MariaDB provides a complete package, while MySQL comes with certain limitations. The community edition is missing capabilities like Threadpool, which significantly impairs database and query speed.

Thread Pooling

The primary difference between the two MySQL licenses lies in the functionality and support offered. MariaDB provides a complete package, while MySQL comes with certain limitations. The community edition is missing capabilities like Threadpool, which significantly impairs database and query speed.


Who Uses MariaDB

  • Samsung
  • Financial Network, Inc.
  • Virgin Media O2
  • Campus Cloud Services
  • Auto Europe
  • Nokia

Who Uses MySQL

  • BBC
  • Big Fish
  • Spotify
  • Netflix
  • NASA

Why MariaDB over MySQL and Why not?

If you are looking for a more community-driven development process, better performance, and enhanced security, MariaDB might be the better choice. Here are few reasons why one might prefer MariaDB over MySQL:

More community-driven development: MariaDB is developed by the community, and the development process is more open and transparent compared to MySQL, which is owned by Oracle Corporation. This means that users can contribute to the development of the software and that the direction of the development is more in line with the needs of the community.

More features: MariaDB has some features that are not available in MySQL, such as virtual columns, sequence storage engines, and the ability to use multiple storage engines in a single table.

Better performance: In some benchmarks, MariaDB has been shown to perform better than MySQL in terms of speed and scalability.

Enhanced security: MariaDB includes some security enhancements not found in MySQL, such as encryption at rest and in transit.

Why use WordPress with MariaDB?

Using WordPress with MariaDB can lead to faster website loading times, which can significantly improve the user experience for visitors to your website. This is due to its more optimized query optimizer and its ability to handle more concurrent connections.

Using WordPress with MariaDB is that it provides greater scalability. MariaDB can handle more simultaneous connections and transactions than MySQL, making it a better choice for high-traffic websites.

WordPress with MariaDB provides enhanced security features, some of the features that MariaDB offers include data-at-rest encryption, improved authentication methods, and enhanced auditing capabilities.

How Cloudways Gives You Ease To Manage MariaDB Database

Cloudways provides the latest MariaDB versions on all its newly launched servers. To select your desired MariaDB version, just navigate to the Settings & Packages tab and choose your desired MariaDB version with a single click drop-down.


There are multiple MariaDB versions available on the platform, including MariaDB 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6.

You can select the MariaDB version based on your project requirements.

Keep in mind that once upgraded to the higher version, you cannot downgrade it again to the lower one.

Here is the image below which describes the upgrade and downgrade criteria.


However, if you want to know some handy tips on how to optimize your database systems to enhance application performance, head over to this MySQL optimization guide to learn some useful performance tips.

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In this MariaDB vs MySQL, we have discussed the extent of attributes of a database and used the same to compare MySQL against MariaDB. There’s no undeniable reason to select one or the other. If you are starting new, you have multiple data sources, or you need a high-performance relational database solution there could be a few of many reason to prefer MariaDB over MySQL.

Q. Is MariaDB better than MySQL?

The choice between MariaDB and MySQL depends on your specific needs and preferences. MariaDB offers some additional features and performance improvements over MySQL.

Q. Is MariaDB syntax the same as MySQL?

Yes, MariaDB syntax is mostly compatible with MySQL, making migration between the two relatively seamless.

Q. Does MySQL work with MariaDB?

Yes, MySQL and MariaDB are compatible, with MySQL clients and connectors generally working with MariaDB.

Q. Can I run MariaDB and MySQL together?

Yes, you can run MariaDB and MySQL together on the same system without conflicts, as they use different default ports and directories.

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Shahzeb Ahmed

Shahzeb is a Digital Marketer with a Software Engineering background, works as a Community Manager — PHP Community at Cloudways. He is growth ambitious and aims to learn & share information about PHP & Laravel Development through practice and experimentation. He loves to travel and explore new ideas whenever he finds time. Get in touch with him at [email protected]


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