MySQL vs. PostgreSQL Compared

Most of us understand that the job of a database management system (DBMS) is to manage the creation and operation of the databases efficiently and effectively. However, if we talk about these database management systems (DBMSs) in-depth, we will realize that based upon their capabilities and strengths, they can further be divided into different types. These days, there are so many of these DBMSs available in the market. However, two of the most frequently used ones are MySQL and PostgreSQL. If we know that both of them are considered very efficient DBMSs, how do we figure out which of these should be perfect for us? Well, to explore the answer to this question, we must draw a comparison between MySQL and PostgreSQL. If you are interested in this comparison, then you must allocate time to go through this article.

MySQL vs. PostgreSQL Compared:

As we have stated in this article’s introduction, we will draw a comparison between MySQL and PostgreSQL. Therefore, without any further exaggeration, we should head on straight to this comparison which is as follows:

A Brief History of MySQL and PostgreSQL:

MySQL was launched in the year 1995, and this DBMS was developed by Oracle. On the other hand, PostgreSQL was launched in 1996, and this DBMS was developed by PostgreSQL Global Development Group. Since the launch of these two DBMSs, these have been used frequently, and even today, both are extremely popular among the programmers’ community. Both of these DBMSs are written in the C programming language, and both DBMSs support the Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems.

Main Features of MySQL and PostgreSQL:

If we talk about the main features of MySQL and PostgreSQL, then we will get to know that there are some very prominent differences between these two DBMSs. The very first one is that MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS). A relational database management system is one in which we have such tables that are linked or related to each other. This kind of DBMS always deals with relational databases. PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS). Even if these terms sound quite fancy and unfamiliar to you, you still do not need to worry since we are just going to explain to you what exactly do we mean by this.

On the other hand, an ORDBMS goes a step further because, along with supporting the relational databases, an ORDBMS also supports the object-oriented programming concepts, such as inheritance, classes, etc. It means when using an ORDBMS, you can even create such tables that comply with the principles of object-oriented programming.

Now, MySQL is a licensed product, whereas PostgreSQL is an open-source DBMS. However, the community support for both of these database management systems is outstanding. If we talk about the performance of these DBMSs, then MySQL is suitable for web-based projects in which you have to carry out simple and straightforward transactions, whereas PostgreSQL is best for dealing with very complex and large datasets. As far as the support for JSON is concerned, MySQL supports JSON but no other NoSQL features, whereas PostgreSQL also supports other NoSQL features along with supporting JSON.

MySQL supports most traditional data types such as strings, characters, dates, etc., whereas PostgreSQL also supports enumerated and unstructured data types along with the traditional data types. If we further discuss the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) of these DBMSs, then MySQL has MySQL Workbench for this purpose, whereas PostgreSQL has pgAdmin for this purpose. Moreover, whenever we try to initiate a new connection in MySQL, we are essentially creating a new thread. Whereas initiation of a new connection in PostgreSQL is dealt with as a new process.

Compliance of MySQL and PostgreSQL:

As far as the compliance of MySQL and PostgreSQL is concerned, then MySQL complies with some of the features of SQL, whereas PostgreSQL is fully SQL compliant, i.e., PostgreSQL supports all the features of SQL. Regarding the ACID properties, i.e., atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability, MySQL provides compliance only when InnoDB and NDB are used, whereas PostgreSQL is ACID compliant.

Some Popular Clients of MySQL and PostgreSQL:

Both of these DBMSs, i.e., MySQL and PostgreSQL, are really popular. Therefore, they are used by some of the most well-known businesses out there. MySQL is used by high-end web-based platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Netflix, GitHub, Spotify, and Wikipedia. Whereas the prominent users of PostgreSQL are firms that deal with bulks of complex data, such as Apple, Cisco, Sun Microsystem, Debian, and BioPharm. These clients have opted for either of these DBMSs based on their database management capabilities and the clients’ particular needs.

By now, we have understood that Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are very well-known web-based social networking platforms. It means that these platforms require such a DBMS that can support rapid and efficient web-based transactions. Therefore, the choice of these platforms is MySQL. On the other hand, the organizations, such as like Apple, Cisco, and Debian, produce and deal with large bulks of data. Therefore, these firms require a DBMS that can deal with such a large amount of data, so their choice is PostgreSQL.

Advantages of MySQL and PostgreSQL:

As far as the advantage of using MySQL is concerned, it gets very frequent updates regarding its features and security. Because of this reason, MySQL is considered highly reliable. On the other hand, PostgreSQL is highly customizable and also supports the multi-version concurrency control feature.

Disadvantages of MySQL and PostgreSQL:

Finally, we would also like to highlight some of the disadvantages of using MySQL and PostgreSQL. Some of the transactions of MySQL are not ACID compliant. Also, there is not a mechanism to ensure locking during the transactions in the case of MySQL. Talking about the disadvantages of PostgreSQL, it does not provide a reliable way to upgrade to its major releases. If you are thinking of using some external components with PostgreSQL, then your learning curve would be very high, such as you will need quite a significant amount of time to learn it.


Now, we should come towards the concluding remarks of our discussion. First of all, if you are stuck in choosing the right DBMS for yourself between MySQL and PostgreSQL, then the very first thing that you should identify is your particular needs. Consider whether you need a DBMS that supports both the relational databases and the concepts of object-oriented programming or only a DBMS that supports relational databases. In the former case, your choice is definitely going to be PostgreSQL, whereas in the latter case, MySQL will suffice your needs. Moreover, you should also carefully consider the other features of these two DBMSs so that you can make a perfect choice that best suits your needs.

About the author

Aqsa Yasin

I am a self-motivated information technology professional with a passion for writing. I am a technical writer and love to write for all Linux flavors and Windows.