PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Difference You Need To Know

PostgreSQL Vs MySQL

Data is extremely important for the modern world, so much so that saying “data is the new oil” would not be an understatement. Managing and efficient handling of data, therefore, becomes necessary.

A database is an organized collection of data so this may be effortlessly managed and accessed. You can organize this data into rows, columns, and cells in databases. For example, you can arrange Employee information of an organization into columns- Employee_no, Employee_name, Gender, Department, Salary, etc. You can fill in the details of every employee in each row. Arranging its Employees’ information in this way would be very useful for the organization to manage its employees.

There are many databases available. PostgreSQL and MySQL are two of the most popular databases on which we are going to discuss in this post. When it comes to databases PostgreSQL vs MySQL is a fairly debated and perplexing topic. Users are often confused about what to use and what will suit their purpose, which is understandable as a good developer always makes informed decisions. So, let’s first understand the key features of PostgreSQL and MySQL then we shall see the differences between them.

What is PostgreSQL?

What is PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) first introduced in the department of Computer Science, University of California. It is an open-source database management system and its functions are written in C language. It is rich in features, highly extensible, and super easy to learn.

PostgreSQL can run on all operating systems. It is ACID compliant (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and, Durability), is SQL compliant, and supports JSON and some other NoSQL features like native XML support. It additionally offers Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), which means that several users can concurrently work on a database. You will face no difficulties in using PostgreSQL as it has a great and nice community that is willing to help you whenever you need it.

PostgreSQL supports advanced data types such as arrays, hstore, and user-defined data types. It is highly customizable since you can customize it by developing plugins to make the DBMS fit your requirements. Overall, it provides great performance, functionalities, and security and at the same time, it is also user-friendly.

Why use PostgreSQL?

  • PostgreSQL is an open-source and free object-relational database management system.
  • Users can create custom functions made with programming languages like C/C++ or Java.
  • MVCC allows a large number of concurrent users to work on one system.
  • It is feature-rich, scalable, and supports modern applications like XML, JSON, etc.
  • Supports foreign keys for efficient storage of data.
  • Stored procedures/functions for complex operations.
  • PostgreSQL has synchronous replication where data is simultaneously replicated from source storage (master) to target storage (slave). It makes the replication process easy.

What is MySQL?

MySQL
MySQL

MySQL is the world’s most popular cloud base database management system. MySQL is a fast and reliable DBMS created by a Swedish company called MySQL AB in 1995. MySQL is based on a relational model, which means the representation of the database as a collection of relations. (ORDBMS has capabilities of both RDBMS and ORDBMS). A relational model can be represented as a table with columns and rows.

It works as client-server architecture where a client sends the request to a server and the server sends back the desired output. MySQL is written in C and C++ and its source code is available under GNU GPL. MySQL is faster, lighter, and more reliable because of its unique storage engine architecture. It is highly scalable and is compatible with many Operating Systems like Windows, Linux, and many varieties of Unix. Moreover, it is easy to use, almost anyone can get basic knowledge of MySQL over the internet.

Why use MySQL?

  • MySQL is a fast, reliable, and simple database management system.
  • It provides scalability as it supports multi-threading, making it support large amounts of data.
  • Multiple storage engines like MyISAM and InnoDB.
  • It is maintained by Oracle and benefits from frequent updates with new features and security.
  • Users believe that the Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is more reliable and stable.
  • Learning and troubleshooting are easy as it is supported by a large and devoted community of developers.
  • It is very popular and many content management systems on the internet (such as WordPress, Joomla) rely on MySQL.

Key differences

  • MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) and PostgreSQL is an object-relational Database Management System (ORDBMS). In Relational Database Models, the database is represented as a collection of relations. An ORDBMS has qualities of an RDBMS and in addition to that, it has several features of object-oriented management systems like objects, classes, and inheritance.
  • PostgreSQL is ACID (Atomicity Consistency Isolation Durability) compliant while MySQL is not ACID-compliant. MySQL is ACID-compliant only with InnoDB (an ACID-compliant storage engine for MySQL) and NDB (Network Database) cluster engines.
  • PostgreSQL has Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) which enables multiple users to work on a PostgreSQL database simultaneously. MySQL provides MVCC support only after using InnoDB.
  • MySQL provides MySQL Workbench as a GUI tool, PostgreSQL provides PgAdmin.
  • MySQL only supports standard data types (string, numeric, date, and time) while PostgreSQL supports advanced data types such as arrays, hstore, and user-defined data types.
  • PostgreSQL vs MySQL
  • Now that we know the basic features and characteristics of PostgreSQL and MySQL, we are in a position to explore the topic MySQL vs PostgreSQL.

PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Head-To-Head Comparison

Difference Between PostgreSQL and MySQL
MySQLPostgreSQL
It is a Relational Database Management System.It is an Object-Relational Database Management System.
MySQL was developed by a Swedish company called MySQL AB in 1995.PostgreSQL was developed by the Department of Computer Science, University of California.
MySQL is not completely ACID compliant. It supports ACID only when used in InnoDB and NDB.PostgreSQL is completely ACID compliant.
MySQL is simple, reliable, and faster.PostgreSQL is complex and slower.
MySQL is easy to troubleshoot as it has a nice and devoted community ready to help.PostgreSQL is not easy to troubleshoot.
Users cannot be assigned object-level privileges.Users can be assigned object-level privileges.
Only partially SQL compliant.PostgreSQL is fully SQL compliant.
It is licensed under GNU GPUIt is licensed under MIT style.
It is written in C/C++.It is written in C.
MySQL is best suited for simple operations like read and write.PostgreSQL is generally used for large and complex operations.
MySQL supports standard data types like string, numeric, and date and time, etc.PostgreSQL supports standard data types and in addition to these data types, PostgreSQL also supports advanced data types such as arrays, hstore, and user-defined data types.
It does not provide materialized views. A materialized view is a pre-computed query result that can be used later.It provides materialized views.
It does not provide table inheritance.It provides table inheritance.
Join capabilities in MySQL are limited.PostgreSQL has a number of join capabilities like inner join, right join, left join, cross join, full outer join, natural join, and self join.
MySQL does not provide support for MVCC.MVCC is one of the most important reasons companies choose PostgreSQL. It handles concurrency better than MySQL.
MySQL has a multilayer structure having a set of storage engines.PostgreSQL is a unified database storage server and has a single storage engine.
MySQL provides a workbench as a user interface.PostgreSQL provides PgAdmin as a user interface.
Every connection created in MySQL is an Operating System (OS) thread.Every connection created in PostgreSQL is an Operating System (OS) process.
It has native Server Sockets Layer (SSL) support. SSL is a security protocol that creates a secure encrypted link between a web server and a web browser.It has native Transport Layer Security (TLS) support. TLS is an improved version of SSL.
It does not support partial, bitmap, or expression indexes.PostgreSQL supports all of these.
Replication in MySQL is one-way asynchronous replication where one server is used as primary and others as replicas.Replication in PostgreSQL is synchronous replication where the master database is synchronized with the slave database. It utilizes two database instances running simultaneously.
Companies that use MySQL:
Facebook, Tesla, YouTube, Airbnb, NASA
Companies that use PostgreSQL:
Apple, Cisco, Netflix, Reddit, Spotify, Fujitsu

Pros and cons of MySQL

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • MySQL lets you select from a wide range of storage engines. This gives you the flexibility to choose from various options and to integrate data from various table types.
  • It is easy to use and troubleshoot.
  • MySQL focuses on speed and reliability by making it lightweight and simple.
  • It can be used for both large and small applications.

Cons

  • It is just RDBMS and not ORDBMS.
  • It is not ACID compliant.
  • It does not support MVCC.
  • Limited functionalities and security features.

Pros and Cons of PostgreSQL

Pros

  • PostgreSQL is ORDBMS. This means besides having all the features of an RDBMS, it has several other features like table inheritance and function overloading.
  • It implements Multi-version Concurrency Control (MVCC).
  • It is ACID compliant.
  • It is highly extensible, if you need new features in MySQL, you can actually add them yourself.
  • It has advanced data types including user-defined data types.
  • PostgreSQL is an advanced DBMS, hence is suitable for complex queries.
  • Supports materialized view (a materialized view is a pre-computed query result that can be used later) and temporary tables (temporary tables are used to store temporary data, these tables are deleted automatically after use).
  • It has advanced security features like database file protection, user authentication, etc.

Cons

  • In comparison to MySQL, it is not good in speed and performance.
  • Replication is not well implemented in PostgreSQL.
  • Getting community support and answers is much easier in MySQL than in PostgreSQL.
  • Requires a high learning curve.

MySQL or PostgreSQL

The moment of the final verdict is here. Which is better, MySQL or PostgreSQL? It really boils down to your needs and your project, because no one knows your project better than you. If you need a feature-rich database laden with advanced functionalities and that can handle complex queries and massive databases, you might want to select PostgreSQL. If you are looking for a safe, easy to learn, fast, scalable, and reliable option, MySQL is the way to go.


Conclusion

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL have their pros and cons. While MySQL has the popular support of a wide community, PostgreSQL is considered more advanced and feature-rich. Nevertheless, both database management systems serve their purpose well. The decision to select one of them depends on the needs of the project of the organization or the person. I hope this post has helped you to decide what among these database management systems you should use.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is easier: MySQL or PostgreSQL?
MySQL is easier than PostgreSQL. There are a lot of materials and help available for MySQL so if you ever encounter any problem in MySQL, troubleshooting it will be easy.

When should you use PostgreSQL?
If your project needs a lot of complex operations and is large, or you need a feature-rich database management system with advanced security features, you should use PostgreSQL.

When should you use MySQL?
If your project is not large, does not require complex operations and you want a fast and reliable option, you should go with MySQL.

Why is PostgreSQL so popular?
PostgreSQL is a feature-rich database management system that offers users a lot of advanced functions and security features. Also, it is an open-source, free-to-use community-driven database management system. These things make PostgreSQL a popular choice amongst users.

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