MySQL, MariaDB And PostgreSQL: Which One Do We Choose?
MySQL, MariaDB And PostgreSQL: In this article we are going to offer a clear and concise explanation of the reasons why we could opt for one or another engine of the most popular open source databases, such as MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL. So that anyone can understand which could be the most suitable for each type of project.
To begin, it is important that we see a brief description of each of these open source DBMS (Database Management System).
MySQL: It is a very popular database system, owned by Oracle, the most used globally. It started with a rather reduced set of functionalities, but today we can consider it enterprise grade.
MariaDB: It is a DBMS completely compatible with MySQL created by the community, so it does not belong to any company. It is actually a “fork” of MySQL, although since its creation it has been separated from the initial project, publishing different improvements.
PostgreSQL: It is the most powerful DBMS on the market, not only because of its functionality, but also because of the load it can support. It is not as widespread as MySQL, but it is also very popular in those projects of a certain size.
Criteria For Choosing Between Database Engine Alternatives
We could consider various criteria when choosing one of the various database engine alternatives on the open source market, such as the size of the project, availability, the community behind it or the license under which they are offered.
Although it is true that in many cases the choice is not even our responsibility, since it is possible that it is given by certain requirements of a project such as the preferences of the company or the experience of its developers or administrators, we are going to offer some of the keys by which to opt for one or another system.
When To Choose MySQL?
The first reason why MySQL is the most common choice is that it is practically a standard in most server configurations. We must bear in mind that, in shared hosting, MySQL is usually the database that they offer us, so there is not much maneuver to choose from.
Note: However, the truth is that currently having a VPS or Cloud server is very cheap and in this type of hosting it is perfectly possible to choose any system that we need.
Still, enforced or not, MySQL is a good choice in terms of power and features. It offers all the capabilities that the most common projects may need, although it is especially suitable for small and medium projects.
When To Choose MariaDB?
MariaDB is a fully MySQL-compatible engine, so we can use one or the other, or swap between them, and the applications will still work the same way. Therefore, in practical terms, we can choose between these two DBMS in a transparent manner for the development of projects.
The fundamental problem with MySQL is its license. MySQL is offered with a dual license, so the owner (Oracle) has two versions of the product, the “Enterprise” and the “Community”. If you don’t want to pay for a license, you have to use the Community version, which, to tell the truth, is a bit hidden on the download page.
This duality causes confusion and that is where MariaDB wins integers. Those convinced by free software have no doubts and install MariaDB on their servers. Additionally, MariaDB has continued to incorporate novelties into its software, presenting new engines and possibilities that make it a somewhat superior project today than MySQL itself. If you are interested in delving into this point, we recommend the post When and why to use MariaDB .
When To Choose PostgreSQL?
PostgreSQL is one of the best DBMS alternatives today, not only open source, but also commercial. It has nothing to envy other highly regarded managers like Oracle. Therefore, at a business level or for really demanding projects, it is a highly recommended database management system.
PostgreSQL has always been ahead of the possibilities compared to other open source engines, offering mechanisms for working with a much larger number of data types and operations. It is also an object-relational database system, so it is possible to extend it to carry out a powerful and efficient treatment of any type of information that may be needed.
Being a less used database, we can find fewer tutorials or courses than those we found for MySQL, but the truth is that its community is still large and it will not be difficult to find answers to the doubts that arise in its use. . But if we are really concerned about support, PostgreSQL has a policy very focused on the demands of the company, since its versions are long-term (5 years) and even if we keep an old version in a project, there are external companies that are capable of expanding support.
PostgreSQL is therefore the most professional project that we can find in the free software market. And yet, at the developer level, we will not find many differences, since it uses standards such as SQL to access all kinds of operations. Mind you, it’s a heavier database, requiring more server effort and database administration knowledge to optimize it for high performance.
Database Abstraction Systems
We end with a recommendation for developers, which is to use database abstraction systems. These systems allow us to access any database through a standard interface, so that if we later need to exchange one database engine for another, it does not affect the code that we have been developing for the project.
In this sense, PHP offers us PDO, which would be one of the recommended practices that we already saw in the Good practices for PHP article .
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