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Best Database Services — MySQL vs PostgreSQL

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Table of contents:
  1. What is DMS?
Featured image for Best Database Services — MySQL vs PostgreSQL

The developers mostly should choose between two DMS (database management systems) — MySQL and PostgreSQL. The first one is considered to be the most popular, while the second one is the most advanced and multi functional. In fact, a special database fits a certain case. In this article, you can see the comparison of MySQL vs PostgreSQL, as the best services for data storage. The reader can find out more about the question and make the best choice to simplify the work process.

What is DMS?

Before we start comparing the applications, I would like to emphasize what DMS is. A database management system is designed to store various data and structure it for quick access. The information can be stored in tables too. If the task is to combine logic data, then DMS will solve the task in an easy and fast way. All you need to do is just combine the rows from the tables. Before storing the data, it is better to indicate the type in each column. The information is placed in rows.

Basic functionality 

If you ask the developers which database they would recommend to use, they will answer that for massive projects related to high levels of difficulty analysis, PostgreSQL will come to help, for online transaction processes it is better to use MySQL. You can often hear that MySQL is more secure and fast working, since it is not overwhelmed with too many functions. It is hard to argue with that, but the functional of both DMSs became quite similar recently. However, some major differences still appear. You can get more details about the functionality of these systems in the table below.

Table 1. Comparing certain functions each system has.

Best Database Services — MySQL vs PostgreSQL

More about MySQL

The history of MySQL traces back to the 90th. The DMS was released in 1995. Many companies worked on the development. The first one was a Swedish organization MySQL AB, and then the project was sold to Sun Microsystems corporation, with time everything was owned by Oracle. Since 2010 Oracle Corporations have supported the development of MySQL.

MySQL is a very common application. This system is available on any hosting. Moreover, it is very easy to install, which attracts a lot of new users. If you want this DMS to function, you do not need to write dozens of lines of difficult code. If the developer puts enough effort, it can be customized for certain settings. However, there are some difficulties. The project sometimes freezes, in spite of all the efforts of the programmers, who want to make MySQL a sophisticated application.

From my own experience, I can say that this DMS will be good for those who do not want to do too much research on the topic, installing and running it is the aim. It is a perfect solution for conservative people. For those who think in tables, MySQL is a perfect solution.

This DMS can work on any programming language, which is already an advantage. The same goes for the frameworks, CMF, CMS. It can be easily integrated within any system.

If you are a beginner, or just want to manage the structural data type, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that MySQL works well when the files are not bigger than 2 gigabytes.

In case you work on a SSD disk with 20 Mb processing speed, MySQL will be at its peak. It will freeze and lag. This service can be easily set up, but the workload matters for this DMS.

Changing the data structure is a complicated task. Especially, when the data in the table varies, or it needs new columns and rows to be inserted.

MySQL is very sensible to unstable server behavior. If you finish the work wrong, then it is possible that the tables will be broken, it can be restored if the backup function was set. It is clear that the developer should back up the date. However, this issue might happen in the most unexpected moment, this is very sad about MySQL. There are some instruments that could help with back upping, but even they do not always help.


  1. Simple installation.
  2. Easy to use.
  3. Additional applications for data storage can be installed.
  4. Good functionality.
  5. Great security.
  6. Not complicated data processing.
  7. Open source code.
  8. High productivity.
  1. Limited set of solutions that makes working with heavy products impossible.
  2. It is not as reliable as other data management systems.
  3. The development process is longer compared to other open source software.
It is recommended to use for:
  • The upcoming distributed operations;
  • High data security level;
  • Easy setting and scaling of the system;
  • Web application and resources development;
  • Individual solutions, specific projects.
It is not recommended using for:
  • a project fully compatible with SQL;
  • Multithreading projects and parallel operations;
  • Multi-functional system development.

More about PostgreSQL

The history of PostgreSQL traces back to 1986. The development of the project started in Berkeley college, California. The specialists worked on it till 1994, and then it was separated into 2 parts. This is how the PostgreSQL project appeared. The enthusiasts started developing and improving it up till today. The other part, DMS Illustra, became a commercial one.

After studying PostgreSQL, I would like to note that it is a lifesaver for those who are willing to work with reliable storage. The development was done responsibly and properly. It has a lot in common with MySQL, but some additional features for users are present. The developer will need to learn how to set it and customize it for certain tasks.

According to the feedback, the PostgreSQL is very stable, and it is hardly possible to break the tables, which was mentioned above in the MySQL review. This is a solution most choose to stop on.

People who need a perfectly structured storage and the flexible schemes of JSON/BJSON choose this DMS. Additional libraries for clustering can be integrated too. There should not be any difficulties, because the developers of PostgreSQL have created a well-thought software. You can also use sharding if needed.

However, some background experience of using similar software is required, since some misunderstandings in settings might occur. It is not a good solution for beginners, at least if they do not have some support from an experienced teacher.

The authorization system installed in PostgreSQL is oftentimes confusing. Even some experienced developers do not understand how it actually works. The same goes for the authorization setting.


  • An open source software that meets all the actual standards.
  • Free application;
  • Extreme power;
  • Open source code;
  • Active community, always ready to support;
  • It is gradually getting upgrades;
  • Multiple functions;
  • The functions can be improved by saving the done processes;
  • Object orientated DMS.
  • Might slow the server down;
  • Slow productivity even for simple reading processes;
  • Slower than MySQL;
  • Not popular, despite the big community;
  • It is hard to find a fitting hosting.
It is recommended using:
  1. If the developers main needs are the reliability and the safety of data.
  2. For complicated processes.
  3. If in future you plan to use a fee-based system of data management, for example, it is easier to use Oracle after PostgreSQL than after MySQL.
  4. For difficult data structure work.
It is not recommended using:
  1. If you need high speeds.
  2. If you want to set your system easy and fast.
  3. If you need replication, then MySQL is a better solution.

DMS architecture

It is also worth mentioning the way data is stored in those applications.

MySQL is based on different engines. They function well and are hidden in the apps’ system. The procedure is done according to the syntax that is not controlled by us. The main differences are the ways the information is recorded and read. All information is stored on the disk.

What concerns PostgreSQL there is the only Storage Engine. The tables have the ability of succession, applying functions, and are objective orientated. Data is stored on the disk. Each file is sorted. But the structure is very different from MySQL.

SQL supports both systems viewed in this article. But it keeps permanently upgrading, and MySQL is not compatible with all those functions. Some people believe that the developers do it, so that MySQL remains the most simple and easy to use data management system. In fact, this makes the system a leader. The developer avoids the standards to make the product comfortable and gives new abilities by working on add-ons.

The PostgreSQL developers are a team of enthusiasts that wants the project to keep up with the new standards of SQL. This has a negative impact on the comfort. Now, PostgreSQL is more complicated than MySQL, that is why more programmers choose MySQL.

The method of data processing is one more significant difference. If the product keeps with the SQL standards, it has more abilities. This means that PostgreSQL is more competitive.

When the user sends a request to MySQL, and it gets processed, the system sends it right back to the client. If the task is to process a massive amount of data, then you should be patient enough and accept this disadvantage of the software.

In these terms, PostgreSQL is more convenient. The application supports the cursor usage, and it allows moving within the received data. Only the cursor is used, the data remains in the database server memory. The system supports the construction of indices, which is simultaneously possible for different columns in the table. They can have different types: SP-GiST, Hash, GiST, BRIN, B-tree, GIN, Bloom - each has its own features, doing work with PostgreSQL is more comfortable.

The productivity characteristics allow to set the DMS in accordance with the environment it is going to work in. While MySQL is orientated on this parameter, PostgreSQL is focusing on standards, but it still is getting optimization and new solutions are integrated to increase productivity.

Oftentimes, while using MySQL the user works with a B-like table InnoDB, which has its indices. This allows us to get data from the disk at the maximum speed with fewer operations. While scanning a table tree, the system searches for 2 indices, which is more time effective.

PostgreSQL the headline data of the tables are in RAM. The user can not develop a table that requires more RAM than available. All data is sorted relying on the index. Finding it and extracting it is easy. To simplify the task, you can use a few indices in the table. Thus, PostgreSQL is working faster, the only exception are primary keys. Here the opponent is better.

The data types supported by these DMSs that can be used by the users. The details on the image below.

Best database services — MySQL vs PostgreSQL
Supported field types by MySQL

Best Database Services — MySQL vs PostgreSQL

Supported field types by PostgreSQL

Both DMS try to meet the present SQL syntax requirements. This is why the supported field types are relatively similar. By analyzing the images above, we can make a conclusion that PostgreSQL went further in this direction than the opponent.


In conclusion, I would like to say that in this article you saw the main characteristics of two most popular Data Management Systems — PostgreSQL and MySQL. Making the choice of the best one is impossible. PostgreSQL has a wider range of abilities than MySQL has. MySQL is more simple and easy to use, it does not have a range of functions the opponent has, and it is sometimes crucial for the programmer. Both Data Management Systems in this article are free and secure.

However, I would still recommend MySQL, since this system provides comfortable work in custom development. This allows them to add the standard function, integrate other applications and fulfil the requirements of the clients. Take difficult tasks and satisfy the customers. All custom projects will get the project out of the box of standard functionality. If the aims are clear, an individual solution can be applied, but funds and time are necessary for it. All these features are the components of a stable instrument.

It can be interesting for you, if your needs are beyond the basic functionality. So the choice of DMS is a personal responsibility of the developers. Look for a compromise, count the pros and cons, and then you will definitely find the best solution for your project.

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