PostgreSQL or MySQL: which one to choose?

PostgreSQL or MySQL
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Choosing PostgreSQL or MySQL is not easy at all and depends on the specific characteristics of the project you want to develop. At first glance, their functionalities are similar, but if you take a closer look, you will see that there are important differences. We will try to help you define: PostgreSQL or MySQL.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an open source relational database management system. It is fully compatible with SQL and was built to be feature rich. It is object oriented, which allows you to extend data types to create your custom types, and it supports almost any database.

PostgreSQL has earned its reputation for feature robustness, high reliability, performance, flexibility, and ease of replication, among other things. It was specifically designed for efficiency and can be integrated into almost any software.

PostgreSQL: features

  • It has scalability and the ability to adjust to the characteristics of the system and to support different levels of load.
  • It is fully compliant with ACID principles, ensuring data integrity protection at the transaction level.
  • It has a focus towards the developer and the availability of complete documentation.
  • It is optimized for complex queries that include read and write operations on data that need validation.
  • It has extensive compliance with the ISO standard.

PostgreSQL use cases

PostgreSQL is among the five most widely used databases today. Here are some examples where PostgreSQL can be used:

  • Government GIS Data: PostgreSQL contains a powerful extension called “PostGIS”. This extension provides many functions that help process different geometric shapes, such as points and line strings, and is optimized to reduce disk and memory footprint, thereby improving query performance. Electricity, emergency and water infrastructure services rely heavily on GIS to locate staff members and direct them to precise destinations.
  • Manufacturing: Many manufacturing industries demand a large number of data storage facilities, with high levels of efficiency. PostgreSQL is a suitable choice when it comes to optimizing supply chain storage and performance.
  • Web technology: PostgreSQL is not just a relational database, it can also serve as a NoSQL-style data store. In short, it allows you to have both the relational and document-oriented worlds in a single product. It works on modern frameworks, such as Django (Python), Hibernate (Java), Ruby on Rails, PHP, and many others. Thanks to its replication capabilities, websites can easily scale to incorporate as many database servers as you need.
  • Scientific data: Scientific and research projects can generate terabytes of data that must be managed in the most practical way possible. PostgreSQL has great analytical capabilities and offers a powerful SQL engine, so processing large amounts of data is not a problem.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is a relational database system, very efficient and easy to use. It is freely available and open source, although it is also usable under various proprietary licenses.

The MySQL server is multi-threaded and multi-tasking, and designed to work on high-load production systems. It has transactional and non-transactional engines, and is one of the easiest database systems to install.

MySQL: features

  • It has speed and low resource consumption, which makes it one of the managers with the highest performance.
  • It allows for extremely easy installation.
  • It is very flexible and highly scalable.
  • It is part of the LAMP open source stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python), the most widely used for web pages and web applications, including popular CMS like WordPress.

MySQL use cases

Here we mention some use cases of MySQL, which show that it is a reliable and efficient database system:

  • OLTP Transactions: Transactions require speed and precision. MySQL can be scaled to 1000s of queries per second with efficiency and ease. The transaction must guarantee Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability (in short, ACID). MySQL, too, adheres to ACID principles, making it safe for critical transactions. If a system fails during a transaction, it rolls back to a checkpoint.
  • LAMP open source stack: MySQL is essential for many applications that work with the LAMP open source software stack (LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl). LAMP is a universal solution stack for web services and is considered the medium of choice for both dynamic websites and high-performance web applications.
  • E-commerce applications: MySQL is one of the most common transactional machines for e-commerce platforms. It is useful for managing customer data, transactions, and product catalogs. In e-commerce solutions, MySQL is often used concurrently with other non-relational databases, such as key-value and document stores, to synchronize order data and store non-product related data.

PostgreSQL or MySQL: which one should you choose?

Choosing between the two databases is not always easy. And since there are no wrong answers, it all comes down to context.

If you are looking for a feature-rich database that can easily handle large databases and complex queries, while allowing you to scale any application to the enterprise level, then you should go for PostgreSQL.

If, instead, you’re a beginner looking for a database that’s easier to manage and configure, while still being reliable, fast, and well-understood, you might want to give MySQL a try.

Before closing this article, we confirm that both technologies have merits, challenges, and benefits that make them a good option to develop projects. PostgreSQL or MySQL: The «right» choice will ultimately depend on you and how you plan to run your products or services.


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