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In Database Last updated: October 29, 2022
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Learn how PostgreSQL and MySQL fair in the database creation, utilization, and maintenance spectrum by reading this ultimate PostgreSQL vs. MySQL guide. 

PostgreSQL and MySQL are the leading databases (DBMS) that many commercial and non-profit organizations use. That’s not all! These are also the most acclaimed open source relational databases. Hence, IT companies, governments, NGOs, and independent database developers freely use these databases with their own modifications. 

Continue reading to discover a clear picture of PostgreSQL and MySQL comparisons that will help you choose the suitable database for your upcoming project.

Overview of PostgreSQL

If looking for robust features like object-relational model, free-to-use, and SQL compliance, you need to consider PostgreSQL as the first choice for database construction. Data analytics agencies, enterprise-grade IT companies, and IT startups creating complex automated systems rely on PostgreSQL as it offers powerful database technology.

The database system uses multi-version concurrency control (MVCC). MVCC makes a database suitable for concurrent data entry and data queries done by writers and readers. Tech giants like Yahoo, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, IMDB, Spotify, Twitch, etc., rely on PostgreSQL due to MVCC and other functionalities like materialized views, updatable views, foreign keys, triggers, etc.    

Speaking of its history, the date goes back to 8 July 1996, when the first version became public. The POSTGRES project of the University of California, Berkeley released the first edition of this DBMS. Though the project has since gone through many acquisitions, its usage license has remained open source.

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Overview of MySQL

MySQL, supported, developed, and distributed by Oracle, is one of the leading databases that utilize an open source license and Structured Query Language (SQL) programming for database creation. Oracle makes the database system available for individuals, organizations, and governmental use by distributing a downloadable package.

Several mobile, computer, and website app-building companies use this DBMS for free when they need to execute data inquiries up to mid-level workloads. The initial setup is easy and requires minimal maintenance after setup.

There are many third-party GUIs for MySQL, so non-coding professionals can easily create a MySQL database using tools like HeidiSQL, dbForge Studio, Adminer, MySQL Workbench, etc.         

MySQL AB released the first usable version of MySQL on 23 May 1995. Then, in 2008, the company merged with Sun Microsystems through an acquisition. Further, Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems in January 2010, thereby gaining ownership of the MySQL database system.

Key Features of PostgreSQL

Key Features of PostgreSQL
  • A strong community of developers from EDB, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Redpill Linpro, and Crunchy Data oversees the PostgreSQL development project.
  • Compatible with major operating systems like Windows (XP and later), Linux (all latest distributions), macOS, NetBSD, FreeBSD, etc.
  • Compatible with the multi-user environment through the MVCC functionality.
  • Works with Extensible Markup Language or XML.
  • Supports modern database applications like JSON for data interchange and open standard file format.
  • Flexible data retrieval feature via table views and joins.
  • Compatible with transportable code/skills via ANSI/SQL.
  • For read scalability and data backup, the DBMS provides a Replication feature.

Key Features of MySQL

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  • It is available under the GNU General Public License or open source license for payment-less use, modification, and source code studies.
  • It stores data in the memory of the OS, making databases consistent. Therefore, the user can modify or access data instantly.
  • MySQL is highly scalable and easily works with machine clusters, large datasets, and small data tables.
  • It has multiple data types like FLOAT, CHAR, DOUBLE, variable character, DateTime, timestamp, etc.
  • Use an encrypted password and username authentication system for maximum database security.
  • MySQL DBMS is compatible with OSs like Windows 11, macOS 12, Microsoft Windows 2022 Server, Debian GNU/Linux 11, Oracle Linux 9, and many more.    

PostgreSQL and MySQL: Similarities

#1. SQL is the common database language used in both of the DBMS. These systems use SQL to interact with the database and its management system.

#2. Non-technical employees can quickly and effortlessly learn MySQL and PostgreSQL because both come with a simple structure. Also, using a few lines of codes, users can join tables, manipulate data, add data, and many more.

#3. The DBMSs themselves find the correct data path and data points and compile all the data queries. The operator does not need to know the database drive path or the look-up order. 

#4. Whether you use PostgreSQL or MySQL, you can use the popular JSON, a human-readable text, for transporting and storing data, objects, and arrays.   

#5. MySQL and PostgreSQL support many authorization protocols. One such protocol is PAM, or pluggable authentication module available in both the DBMSs.

#6. Both the database systems offer account management features like roles, groups, and individual users.   

PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Differences

Governance Model

The PostgreSQL global development group or community watches over the maintenance and development of the project. Users can simply download the distribution package under the MIT license.

MySQL is also free and available as a server version on GitHub. But, Oracle controls the development and maintenance of the DBMS.   

SQL Compatibility

PostgreSQL is highly compatible with SQL since the DBMS meets 160 out of 179 core features of SQL.

On the contrary, MySQL does not implement the complete SQL standard. Hence it is a partial SQL compliant DBMS. 

Database Coding Languages

Database Coding Languages

MySQL used C and C++ for coding. For database development purposes, users can use Node.Js., Java, R, Delphi, Lisp, Perl, Go, C/C++, and Erlang.

On the contrary, PostgreSQL has been written in C. However, it supports C++, C, JavaScript, Java, R, Delphi, Tcl, Lisp, Go, .Net, Python, and Erlang for development purposes.  

Speed and Performance

MySQL suits high read speed requirements in online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) systems. When you burden the DBMS with complex queries, it may underperform.

On the other hand, PostgreSQL is suitable for both small and large workloads where users execute complex data fetching or modification queries.    

You can catch a concise comparison between PostgreSQL vs. MySQL in the table below:

GUI ApplicationpgAdminMySQL Workbench
StorageOne storage engine9 storage engines but MyISAM and InnoDB are popular
Remove or Drop TableRemove dependent objects like views and tables using CASCADE optionNo CASCADE-based drop table feature
Implementation languageCC/C++
Indexes supportedBitmap, Expression, PartialDoesn’t support these indexes
PartitioningLIST, RANGE, HASHLIST, KEY, HASH, etc.
Table inheritanceYesNo
Covering indexesSupportedSupported with conditions
Supported data typesStandard, hstore, arrays, user-defined, etc.Only standard data types
MVCC supportFull-service MVCCLimited MVCC on InnoDB
TroubleshootingFault finding and fixing are complex tasksEasy
Connection typeConnections are operating system processesConnections are OS threads
JSONBSupports JSONBDoes not support JSONB
Materialized viewsSupports both temporary tables and materialized viewsNo materialized views are supported. Temporary tables are supported
Modification of default valuesModifications can be done only at the system levelAllows overwriting of default values at the statement and session level
Brands usingTwitch, International Space Station, Skype, Instagram, Apple, etc.NASA, US Navy, BBC, Netflix, Spotify, Verizon Wireless, etc.
A comparison table of PostgresSQL vs. MySQL

PostgreSQL Use Cases

Geospatial Database

PostgreSQL extends its support for geographic objects when used with the PostGIS extension.

Thus, geographic information systems (GIS) and location-based services use it as a geospatial database.

General OLTP Database

General OLTP Database: PostgreSQL vs MySQL

Startups and large enterprises that deal with Online Transaction Processing or OLTP will find PostgreSQL particularly helpful. When they use it as the primary data store, all their internet-scale solutions and products can get the necessary support.

LAPP Open-Source Stack

LAPP is the acronym for Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, and (PHP, Python, and Perl.) PostgreSQL is capable of running dynamic applications and websites. Hence, you can use it as a LAPP alternative.

Federated Hub Database

PostgreSQL comes with compatibility with Foreign Data Wrappers and JSON. As a result, you can link it with other data stores, such as NoSQL. Its usage as a federated hub for polyglot databases is also popular.

Financial Services Sector

PostgreSQL is often a highly preferred choice for the financial industry. Being a fully ACID compliant database, it is perfect for OLTP workloads. PostgreSQL’s integration support for Matlab, R, and other mathematical applications, along with a highly competent analytical database, is also why finance companies prefer using it.

Web and NoSQL Workloads

Since websites nowadays need to process hundreds of thousands of requests every second to serve the traffic, scalability can turn out to be a significant issue. One can resolve this problem using PostgreSQL, which is compatible with all contemporary web frameworks, including Django, node.js, Hibernate, Ruby on rails, and PHP.

Websites using PostgreSQL can easily scale up, keeping pace with the needs, thanks to the replication capabilities of this database. Besides, PostgreSQL can also function as a NoSQL-style database. So, in this single product, you can get relational and object-oriented database features. 

Scientific Data

Scientific Data: PostgreSQL vs MySQL

Various scientific and research projects generate terabytes of sensitive and mission-critical data that needs efficient and careful management. PostgreSQL is often the most suitable database for such cases, thanks to its analytical capabilities. Its robust SQL engine makes even an enormous amount of data processing a breeze.

MySQL Use Cases

LAMP Open-Source Stack

Thousands of applications running on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl) open-source software stack use MySQL. LAMP is a common web services solution stack that enjoys popularity among dynamic websites and high-performance web apps. 

General OLTP Database

Mission-critical apps and high-traffic websites that need a transactional SQL engine find MySQL highly suitable. For example, highly popular platforms, including WordPress, phpBB, MyBB, Joomla, Drupal, TYPO3, and MODx, use MySQL database.

Apart from following ACID principles, it supports XML and JSON while offering extensions for ANSI/ISO Standard SQL. Its ability to manage terabyte-sized databases and support high-availability clusters are the reason for its popularity in this sector.

Online Shopping

Online Shopping: PostgreSQL vs MySQL

eCommerce platforms that deal with thousands of transactions daily prefer using MySQL over other DBMSes. It empowers eCommerce companies by carefully managing product catalogs, customer data, and transactions. Usually, eCommerce solutions use MySQL with other non-relational databases for non-product data storage and order data synchronization.

Social Platforms

Many top social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter use MySQL. This could be a great option if you are looking for a DBMS for your social media.

Content Management

MySQL is not a single-purpose document database. Hence, you can perform both SQL and NoSQL with its help. This database can search for data from JSON docs for analytics and reporting purposes. Also, users can perform CRUD operations using the MySQL Document Store.

Find below some popular resources to learn MySQL and PostgresSQL

Learning Resources

Learning MySQL

If you want to learn how to design and set up a functional database, you can get theoretical and practical help from Learning MySQL. You can own it as a Kindle eBook or paperback physical book. 

Key highlights are:

  • How to utilize MySQL in production.
  • Database infrastructure design.
  • Restore and backup DBMS.
  • Coding queries.

And not just technical aspects, the book also covers cost minimization theories, especially when you need to scale up your database.   

PostgreSQL Bootcamp: Udemy

Looking for a one-stop resource for all things database management using MySQL and PostgreSQL? Check out this comprehensive and elaborate course on Udemy

PostgreSQL Bootcamp Udemy

The notable course features:

  • More than 60 hours of hands-on practice.
  • Using or creating many data types.
  • Query analysis with date and time.
  • SQL language.
  • JSON, PL/pgSQL, PL/SQL, etc.

This massive self-paced learning course is suitable for beginners who want to create functional databases for personal or professional projects.

Introduction to SQL: DataCamp

This introductory course on SQL from DataCamp is appropriate if you are an SQL beginner. Also, it helps you to learn the SQL syntaxes for SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle in an easy-to-understand language.

Introduction to SQL DataCamp

Notable course highlights are:

  • SQL Fundamentals.
  • IMDb film data.
  • Filtering rows.
  • Column selection.
  • Aggregate functions.

It is a self-paced online course of 4 hours with 41 exercises and one video lecture.    


To conclude this PostgreSQL vs. MySQL discussion, both are valuable in distinct scenarios. MySQL is the best choice for web apps, mobile apps, or custom solutions that require light to medium database queries or workloads.

But, you should pick PostgreSQL if your project needs integrations, data integrity, complex query processes, large queries, and intricate designs.

You may also be interested in database threats and prevention tools.

  • Bipasha Nath
    I am a technical and creative content writer with 10+ years of experience in the relevant industry. My degrees in English and Sociology, coupled with working experience in software development companies, help me understand how technology… read more
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