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PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Which To Choose?

Updated on June 15, 2023

12 Min Read
postgre vs mysql

When it comes to relational database management systems, MySQL and PostgreSQL are the best choices. Both rank among the top database management systems in the world. While the ranking of MySQL is 1,195.45, that of PostgreSQL is 616.5.

MySQL and PostgreSQL are mainly leveraged for the completion of enterprise solutions like SQL servers and Oracle. While the former ensures optimum speed and ease of use, the latter comes with several advanced features. However, selecting one between the two can often be confusing.

In this post, you will get to know everything about MySQL and PostgreSQL and be able to make the right choice. Let’s dive into our PostgreSQL vs MySQL comparison!

What Is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a popular object-relational database management system with over 30 years of active development. Developed back in July 1996 at the University of California, Berkeley, it has now become the top choice among developers. It is well-known for its scalability, robustness, and reliability.

PostgreSQL is leveraged by organizations of all sizes for the effective management of complex and large databases. It is suitable for applications like analytics, data warehousing, web services, and geospatial applications.

It supports various data types like strings, integers, timestamps, binary objects, and dates. Moreover, it also offers support for stored functions and user-defined functions.

PostgreSQL comes with powerful features for searching, data indexing, and retrieval. It also supports asynchronous and synchronous replication. The top companies that use PostgreSQL are Red Hat, Apple, Sun Microsystem, Etsy, Instagram, IMDB, Skype, Spotify, and Yahoo.

Some of the top features of PostgreSQL are listed below.

  • ACID Compliant: It is ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) compliant. Therefore, it is ideal for different applications that require reliability and high data integrity.
  • Scalability: It is suitable for vertical scaling. That means scaling high-traffic websites and large databases is simple and easy with PostgreSQL.
  • Advanced-Data Types: PostgreSQL comes with built-in data types such as hstore, arrays, and JSONB. You will also find text, numeric, geometric, and date/ time data types.
  • Open-source: It is an open-source database management system. Therefore, anyone can easily download, modify, and use it without the need for any licensing fees.
  • SQL Compliant: PostgreSQL is fully compliant with the vital SQL standards. It completely supports advanced SQL features like window functions and Common Table Expressions (CTEs).
  • Security: PostgreSQL provides external authentication support, row-level security, and SSL encryption.
  • Customizable: You can easily customize PostgreSQL to suit your purpose. All you need to do is develop specific plugins for that. It also allows you to incorporate different custom functions made with programming languages like Java, C, C++, and more.
  • Community Support:  MySQL flaunts an active community. It offers strong community support and provides several online resources and extensive documentation.

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What Is MySQL?

mysql

MySQL is a relational database management system that was developed in May 1995 by MySQL AB. The open-source RDBMS is ideal for web applications and software development projects. It is popular for its ease of use, scalability, wide adoption, and flexibility.

The scalability feature of MySQL makes it suitable for handling more workloads. Moreover, it supports both horizontal and vertical scaling to accommodate the increasing demands of applications.

The best thing about SQL is that it is easy to configure and install. Therefore, it is used by individuals with different levels of expertise. Also, the simplicity of the database management system makes it a popular choice among developers.

Owing to the extensive adoption of MySQL, there is a thriving community. So, you can easily find a lot of tutorials, resources, and MySQL cheat sheets and get a quick reference for your projects. The RDBMS is highly compatible with top programming languages like Python, Java, PHP, and many more.

The popular companies that use MySQL are NASA, Google, Facebook, US Navy, Netflix, Tesla, Spotify, WeChat, Zendesk, YouTube, Uber, and Twitter. We have a blog on MySQL performance tuning tips to optimize database. Maybe you might find it helpful.

Some of the significant features of MySQL are mentioned below.

  • Ease of Use: This is one of the prominent features of MySQL. It comes with a user-friendly interface that allows users to easily manage data and databases. Moreover, it is also convenient to install and configure.
  • Reliability: MySQL is highly reliable and has features like backup and restore abilities and automatic crash recovery.
  • Open-Source: It is completely free to use. In other words, you do not have to pay any licensing fees. Moreover, a large community of developers keep contributing to its improvement and development.
  • Security: MySQL comes with several security features, like user authentication, access control, and encryption.
  • Compatibility: It is readily compatible with various operating systems like programming languages, operating systems, and frameworks.
  • Flexibility: It supports a variety of storage engines and data types, thereby providing users with the flexibility to decide how to manage and store their data.
  • Wide Platform Support: MySQL can run smoothly on MacOS, Linux, Windows, and more. It is compatible with various environments and operating systems.

What are the Similarities between PostgreSQL and MySQL?

Now that you have a basic idea about the two database management systems, it is time to explore the similarities between the two. Well, there are a lot of similarities between MySQL and PostgreSQL. The most prominent ones are listed below.

  • ACID Compliance: Both PostgreSQL and MySQL are ACID compliant. So, you can rest assured about transactional reliability and integrity.
  • SQL Support: Both database management systems provide complete support for SQL, including data manipulation, data definition, and querying capabilities.
  • Cross-platform Compatibility: MySQL and PostgreSQL can operate smoothly on different operating systems. So, they are adaptable across MacOS, Windows, Linux, and more.
  • Open-Source: Both database systems are open-source. That means they are available for free. So, you can easily use, modify, and distribute them without any costs.
  • Community Support: Both PostgreSQL and MySQL have a vibrant and active community of developers and users. So, they keep contributing towards ongoing improvement and development.
  • Indexing: Both database management systems come with indexing mechanisms. It helps in improving query performance and offers query optimizers that allow efficient execution of queries.

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Critical Difference Between PostgreSQL and MySQL

Are you wondering which is suitable for your project – MySQL or PostgreSQL? In that case, getting a comprehensive idea about the two is vital. The most prominent differences between the two database management systems are listed below.

But before we check that out, here’s a brief comparison table:

Category PostgreSQL MySQL
Architecture Object-relational Purely relational
Data Types Extensive Limited
Security IP-based client authentication Native Windows services, LDAP
Performance Suitable for large systems Ideal for web-based projects
Indexes GiST, B-tree, BRIN, GIN, etc. Hash, R-tree, B-tree, inverted
Technical Support Community support forums Community and paid support
Programming Language C C or C++
User Interface PostgreSQL interface MySQL Shell and interactive interface
Encryption SSL connection TLS protocol
MVCC Used for concurrency control Maintains data consistency
GUI Tool Navicat, OmniDB, DBeaver, etc. MySQL Workbench
DROP TABLE Supports CASCADE option Does not support
TRUNCATE TABLE Transaction-safe, CASCADE, etc. Does not support
Connection Scalability OS process OS thread
Replication & Clustering Cascade, synchronous, etc. Synchronous, asynchronous, etc.

1. Architecture

Architecture refers to the structure of the database system and how users get connected to the system. It can have an impact on the performance of the database.

MySQL

MySQL is a purely relational database. It supports 16 different storage engines that are ideal for various use cases. InnoDB is the default storage engine. Moreover, MySQL has a single process and only one path of execution.

PostgreSQL

On the other hand, PostgreSQL is an object-relational database. Therefore, PostgreSQL provides more complex data types. It also enables objects to easily inherit properties.

PostgreSQL supports only one storage engine. However, PostgreSQL generates a new system process for every client connection.

2. Supported Data Types

Data types indicate the type of data that can be stored in a database. Today, developers look for database systems that come with an extensive set of data types.

MySQL

MySQL supports limited data types in comparison to PostgreSQL. The data types supported by this database management system include date/ time, numeric, JSON, spatial, and character.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL provides more data types. It includes numeric, arrays, ranges, characters, JSON, network address, date/ time, XML, Boolean, and more. For applications dealing with unique data types, this database management system proves to be a better choice.

However, if you use only the numeric data types and basic characters, you can leverage both the database management systems.

3. Security

Security is another important factor that differentiates the two. In the present era, the incidents of cybersecurity attacks are on the rise. That is why the security of database management systems matters a lot.

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL support groups and user management. They grant different SQL privileges to different roles.

MySQL

MySQL supports native Windows services, LDAP, and PAM for user authentication.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL offers support for IP-based client authentication and filtering with the use of Kerberos and PAM.

4. Performance

Performance refers to the ability of database management systems to supply information to users. The higher the performance, the more benefit for your organization.

MySQL

MySQL is an ideal choice for web-based projects requiring a database to facilitate straightforward data transactions.

PostgreSQL

However, PostgreSQL is suitable for large systems where writing and reading speed matters a lot.

5. Supported Indexes

In order to speed up queries, databases require indexes. It allows you to easily locate the required data with minimal effort.

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL offer multiple indexing options. Therefore, fine-tuning database performance becomes simple and easy. You can get faster query responses and enhance the experiences of the application users.

MySQL

The supported indexes of MySQL are Hash, R-tree, B-tree, and inverted indexes.

PostgreSQL

The supported indexes of PostgreSQL are GiST, B-tree, BRIN, GIN, Hash, and SP-Gist.

6. Technical Support

Technical support is vital when any kind of issue arises. Therefore, while choosing a database management system, it is essential to evaluate whether it offers adequate support or not.

MySQL

MySQL also has similar forums that allow you to get the required support and assistance. Moreover, you can also get paid support plans from Oracle.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL lacks support engineers. However, the community support forums of the database management system can provide you with the necessary support.

7. Programming language

The programming language supported by the database management system matters a lot. Evaluate the programming language and check whether it is easy to use or not.

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL rely on Structured Query Language (SQL). It is known as the standard language for interacting with different management systems.

MySQL

MySQL is written in C or C++.

PostgreSQL

Meanwhile, PostgreSQL can only be written in C.

8. User interface

A simple and user-friendly interface is always desired by the developers. So, look for database management systems that aren’t complex to work with.

MySQL

MySQL supports MySQL Shell and an interactive interface. It is ideal for executing queries, prototyping applications, and updating data.

PostgreSQL

The PostgreSQL interface offers support for common PostgreSQL SQL syntax. It includes functions, queries, and operations. It also supports various data types, information schema views, and DDL syntax.

9. Encryption between client and server

Encryption between client and server helps both parties to communicate securely over a network. Most of the databases come with built-in encryption facilities to let users send messages securely.

MySQL

In the case of MySQL, encrypted connections between the client and server take place using the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol.

PostgreSQL

There are several layers of encryption in PostgreSQL, which protects data from various server theft issues and insecure networks. Basically, Postgre offers an SSL connection that ensures secure and encrypted communication between client and server.

10. Support for multi-version concurrency control (MVCC)

Multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) is a popular database optimization technique that allows the creation of duplicate copies of records. It ensures that data can be easily read and updated simultaneously.

MySQL

Both PostgreSQL and MySQL support MVCC. The MVCC mechanism helps maintain data consistency in the case of MySQL.

PostgreSQL

In PostgreSQL, it is used for concurrency control and implementation of transaction partitioning.

11. GUI tool

The GUI tools allow the users to interact with data visually. It helps in analyzing and manipulating data effectively.

MySQL

MySQL Workbench is an important GUI tool of MySQL.

PostgreSQL

The popular GUI tools of PostgreSQL are Navicat, OmniDB, DBeaver, and HeidiSQL.

12. DROP TABLE

A drop table refers to a statement used for dropping an existing table in the database. While some database management systems support this, others do not.

MySQL

MySQL does not support this option.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL, meanwhile, supports the CASCADE option to drop the dependent objects of the table.

13. TRUNCATE TABLE

TRUNCATE TABLE is a command that allows the removal of all rows from a table. It empties the tables completely.

MySQL

MYSQL does not support transaction safety and CASCADE.

PostgreSQL

The TRUNCATE TABLE of PostgreSQL supports features like CONTINUE IDENTITY, transaction-safe, RESTART IDENTITY, CASCADE, and more.

14. Connection Scalability

Connection scalability is yet another factor that differentiates MySQL from PostgreSQL.

MySQL

Each connection, in the case of MySQL, is an OS thread.

PostgreSQL

On the other hand, each connection of PostgreSQL is an OS process.

15. Replication & Clustering

Replication refers to the process of storing data in several nodes or sites. It makes data easily available to the users.

MySQL

MySQL offers synchronous, semi-synchronous, and asynchronous replication.

PostgreSQL

However, PostgreSQL supports replication with cascade, synchronous, and asynchronous options.

Why Do Developers Choose PostgreSQL?

Developers make use of PostgreSQL owing to its excellent ability to handle queries. It is ideal for managing extra-large databases. Moreover, it supports data types like hstore, XML, JSON, and more.

Developers mainly use this database management system for financial applications, geographic information systems, public sector and government applications, and ERP systems.

Why Do Developers Choose MySQL?

Developers choose MySQL owing to its popularity, ease of use, and high scalability and flexibility. Also, it offers options for server optimization. Moreover, its reliability and speed make it a popular choice among developers.

MySQL finds wide applications for eCommerce websites, content management systems, social media applications, APIs, and business intelligence and analytics.

Why Choose MariaDB Over PostgreSQL & MySQL?

If you are considering MariaDB as an alternative to PostgreSQL or MySQL, there are several reasons why you might choose MariaDB. However, it’s important to note that the choice between MariaDB and other databases depends on your specific requirements.

Here are some reasons why MariaDB could be a preferred option over PostgreSQL or MySQL:

More community-driven development: MariaDB, similar to PostgreSQL, is developed by a vibrant and active community. This community-driven approach allows for a more open and collaborative development process, where users can actively contribute to the software’s evolution.

Compatibility with MySQL: MariaDB was forked from MySQL, which means it retains a high degree of compatibility with MySQL syntax and features. If you have an existing MySQL-based application, transitioning to MariaDB can be relatively seamless.

Performance optimizations: MariaDB has made significant performance optimizations, often surpassing MySQL in various benchmarks. These optimizations can result in better speed, scalability, and overall performance for your database-driven applications.

Additional features: MariaDB introduces some features not present in PostgreSQL or MySQL, such as virtual columns, sequence storage engines, and the ability to use multiple storage engines within a single table. These features can enhance the functionality and flexibility of your database.

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How Cloudways Simplifies Management of MariaDB Database?

Cloudways simplifies the management of MariaDB databases, providing you with a hassle-free experience. Here’s how Cloudways makes it easy to handle your MariaDB database:

Latest MariaDB versions: Cloudways ensures that you have access to the latest MariaDB versions. When setting up your server, you can easily select your desired MariaDB version from the drop-down menu in the Settings & Packages tab. This allows you to use the version that best suits your project requirements.

Multiple version availability: Cloudways offers various MariaDB versions, including 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6. You have the flexibility to choose the version that aligns with your application’s compatibility needs and performance optimizations.

mariadb versions

Upgrade and downgrade options: While you can upgrade to a higher MariaDB version, it’s important to note that downgrading to a lower version is not possible. Cloudways provides guidelines and criteria for upgrading and downgrading MariaDB versions to help you make informed decisions about your database management.

If you want to optimize your database systems to enhance application performance, Cloudways provides a MySQL optimization guide that offers valuable tips and best practices. This resource can help you make the most of your MariaDB database and ensure optimal performance for your WordPress website.

With Cloudways, managing your MariaDB database becomes effortless, with access to the latest versions, flexibility in version selection, and optimization guidance.

Conclusion

By now, you must have a comprehensive idea about the difference between PostgreSQL vs MySQL and how to make the right choice. Both database management systems offer several robust features.

Well, the choice completely depends on your specific purpose. Now it is time to hire development experts and get started with your development projects in a hassle-free manner.

Q1. What is the main difference between Postgres and MySQL?

The main difference is that MySQL is a completely relational database. However, PostgreSQL is a well-known object-relational database.

Q2. Is MySQL easier to learn than PostgreSQL?

Yes, MySQL is simple and easy to learn as compared to PostgreSQL. You can easily find a lot of help, resources, and documentation online.

Q3. When is PostgreSQL better than MySQL?

PostgreSQL proves to be a better option than MySQL when it comes to handling complicated queries, massive data sets, and read-write operations.

Q4. What are the main use cases of PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is one of the most popular databases used today. The common use cases include web technology, government GIS data, scientific data, and more.

Disclaimer: This content was submitted by our valued guest contributor through our Write for Us page

 

author bio Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, IoT, ChatBot & Blockchain savvy, designer, co-founder, and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies @Software Development Company. His 12+ years of experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT.
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Abdul Rehman

Abdul is a tech-savvy, coffee-fueled, and creatively driven marketer who loves keeping up with the latest software updates and tech gadgets. He's also a skilled technical writer who can explain complex concepts simply for a broad audience. Abdul enjoys sharing his knowledge of the Cloud industry through user manuals, documentation, and blog posts.

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