MySQL vs PostgreSQL Database Management Systems

In the digitalized world we live in, information & data flow around us as chains of numbers, symbols & letters. As our life has turned into major databases that connect everything around us. These databases, by their turn, are also linked to different either larger or smaller ones. But if we have a look around us, we shall see how massive their numbers are! How to manage all of this? Even why to manage them? What is MySQL & PostgreSQL Database Management Systems? Which one is better to choose?

In this article, we are going to answer all those questions, plus covering the following comparison sides:

Now, before we dive into SQL & compression in-depth, let us first summarize some important definitions:

Database (DB)

Any collection of related information is a Database. They are every were around us; your phone contacts list is a database storing numbers, names, Emails. This kit of a (Name/Number/Email) is a component “data” of your contacts DB. Another example could say to be Facebook storing, treating & representing their users’ data, like activities, friend lists, messages, advertisements, & lot more. Each user’s (Name/Profile/Activities/ Messages/ Etc..) is a component of Facebook users’ database.

Database Management Systems (DBMS)

Database Management Systems

The need for big data management revealed very clearly, in programming. In this arena, to treat all that information “data,” we, fortunately, have the invention of Mr. Charles Bachman, 1960, the Database Management Systems. These computer programs enable their users to access databases, process data inside them, as well as, help in the representation of the data making it accessible by various users at one time (e.g., online phone directory). In more technical words, computer DBMS can Create, Read, Update, Delete (C.R.U.D) data stored in DBs.

However, Computer Database Management Systems can process data in four major ways, according to its type:

  1. Hierarchical DBMS/ HDBMS: Storing & organizing data in a tree-like structure, where each component is being stored separately in one field, then these fields are linked to each other, forming a record. This process forms a tree/ a database-tree containing records, each having one other parent record & many children fields. However, this type doesn’t have that much fandom nowadays.

Hierarchical DBMS

  1. Network DBMS/ NDBMS: Storing & organizing data in a tree-like structure, but unlike Hierarchical DBMS, this model allows each record to have multiple parent & child records, adding more flexibility to the process by allowing integration between them. In other words, it supports many to many/M-TO-M relationship.

Network DBMS

  1. Object Oriented DBMS/ OODBMS: unlike HDBMS & NDBMS, this model of data storing, doesn’t deal with data only as a “data”! How so? Okay, it’s so simple, this DBMS performs the modeling & creation of data as objects like (e.g., images, charts or data with attributes & methods) to define the process needed for that data “limited at some point, with certainty” While, other mentioned models, store data only, & separate them into classes then combine them according to similarity or relativeness. (e.g. PostgreSQL)
  2. Relational DBMS/RDBMS: the most popular one worldwide & it stores data in the form of tables related to each other according to their relations. It’s worthy of mentioning, that with the usage of RDBMS, the data needs to be previously predefined because these types of DBMS doesn’t support M-TO-M relationship like (e.g., NDBMS). (e.g. MySQL/ MS SQL/Oracle)

Relational DBMS

Structured Query Language/SQL

From here, we can define Structured Query Language/SQL as the standard language used working with RDBMS. That means it is the language used by programmers with multiple functions & queries in DBs, like, insert, search, update, delete, the components of them.

So, both MySQL & PostgreSQL are an Open Source Relational Database Management System, uses SQL as their standard query language. & MySQL is the product of Oracle Corporation. & PostgreSQL is the product of the Global Development Group. PostgreSQL

Note that Some, DBMS, can be both – Relational – relating data inside the DB & – Object Oriented – dealing with data as Objects, like PostgreSQL.

Now let us start our comparison;

DB Performance

Well, let us here agree that there isn’t that much performance remoteness between MySQL & PostgreSQL Database Management Systems, especially with the newest versions. But a point for PostgreSQL is that it’s, as we mentioned, an object-oriented relational (OO-R-DBMS), while MySQL is a purely Relational (R-DBMS). That means, more functions like; table inheritance as it treats tables as objects. It’s also, worthy to state that PostgreSQL runs Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC); a concurrency control method which if not there, If a person is reading from a database at the same time, another one is writing to it, it’s possible for the reader to see a piece of a half-written or inconsistent data. This method gives PostgreSQL some advantages over MySQL, in terms of handling concurrency. Moreover, PostgreSQL is more relevant to SQL official standards, while MySQL has now diverted way far from SQL standards.

For instance, both had the reputation of being good BDMS at reading heavy workloads DBs. But with MySQL, this speed in some cases, like when mixed with write operations, sacrifice concurrency.

The following table shows some of the major features that minimized the gap between them, considering DB performance.

So, as you can see, when choosing between MySQL & PostgreSQL, performance should not be a choosing or not factor for one of them.

features of MySQL & PostgreSQL

Data Types

PostgreSQL, Database Management System, extensibility is higher than MySQL’s; it supports several advanced data types, that MySQL doesn’t support, or haven’t stabilized yet, like (Hstore data & UUID data). Add to all that, your ability to add your data types, operators, & index types. MySQL works well only with the standard types of SQL languages plus other helpful non-SQL features.

data types supports MySQL or PostgreSQL

Programing Languages Support

The choice of one Database Management System over another must be relevant to the P-language of your DB. Some DBMS have built from the beginning to operate its highest proficiency only with certain languages. Mainly, This depends on the P-language used to develop them. But not all the time. Even thou MySQL was written in C & C++ & PostgreSQL in C, still there, some differences in the P-languages they support. The following table shall provide you with the full guide about languages each of them extends support to.

programming languages supports MySQL vs PostgreSQL

Platforms Support

The platform or Operating System you use may also be an important factor in your choice. One Database Management System might not work at all in certain Operating Systems. The table below shows most of the popular Operating Systems & their DBMS support.

Usage Cases

As a developer, mostly your clients going to suggests their preference, considering the choice of their projects Database Management System. However, if, in some cases, you need to choose, then consider the following pieces of advice.

  1. If you were about to start a new project & planning to upgrade to Oracle, then PostgreSQL is the best because, although, MySQL is the product of Oracle, still, PostgreSQL offers better implementation for many of the characteristics offered by Oracle, especially in an open-source environment.; as a result, any code you write for PostgreSQL well port effortlessly to Oracle. While MySQL has now diverted from SQL standards, & by the time there is much difference in the way some queries operate, so you may face some issues when you decide to upgrade.
  2. If you were trying to run/ modify somebody else’s already written for MySQL software, so choosing PostgreSQL isn’t an option at all.


    Security is very important as it directly impacts databases’ reliability & it’s considered one of the top characteristics you should look for in a system. The more secure your DBMS is, the safer your database is, from threats & attacks from illegitimate sources. This matter is a high focus of attention in MySQL, including multiple advanced security features. It performs security protocols based on the Access Control Lists (ACL) of the user’s operations, such as connections & queries. The case of PostgreSQL is different a little bit.  It offers native SLL support for connections for the encryption of client (server) communications. As well as a built-in enhancement called SE-PostgreSQL that provides additional access controls based on SE-Linux policy.

SQL Compliance Standard Meeting

The SQL Compliance is a regulations list, in which database must keep-to while fulfilling all SQL guidelines & standards. It’s very significant when developers need to work with heterogeneous databases for the same project. Now, PostgreSQL is more SQL compliant, meeting 160 of its 179 important features of the SQL standard, supported with other optional features. MySQL, on the other hand, doesn’t meet those Compliance standards but does provide some helpful non-SQL features. However, if you wish to know the detailed SQL Compliance each of them meets, you can read this WikiArticle “SQL compliance.”

Global Corps. Use

To evaluate Database Management Systems’ performance, nowhere can be better than a mass DB! But where to find one? In big corporations, of course. Here we collect to you some of the largest international companies, in which having the biggest DBs in the field of tech, till the moment. Addressing their usage for MySQL & others for PostgreSQL.

In 2016, Uber, the large transportation enterprise, announced their switch from PostgreSQL – being their default since Their launch, early 2010 – to MySQL for the cause “as their engineers describe” of Postgres Architecture limitations.

Community & Support

Now, this is an important choosing consideration. Because, even though both MySQL & PostgreSQL have had initially released around the same period – MySQL in 1995 & PostgreSQL in 1996 – the first, remains the most used database on the planet, for several reasons.

Let us take a small historical outline.

MySQL was initially developed by Michael “Monty” Widenius, David Axmark & Allan Larsson “for personal use” at that time. It was very successful & their company grew rapidly. Till 2008, Sun Microsystems acquired the company for a billion USD. Two years after, Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. From here, the process of publicity has accelerated. Oracle managed to make sure each & every developer on the planet – if not uses – knows MySQL, & they succeeded.

On the other hand, Global Development Groups’ PostgreSQL didn’t gain that much of users till late years. As a result, they couldn’t gather as much of 3rd party tools or developers/ database administrators available.

So, by any mean, MySQL stays the best when it comes for Community Support (e.g., MySQL Developer Zone) which provide you with a large variety of free resources, including; Documentation, Server Manuals, Tutorials & Articles related to nearly everything you need. Also, as an advance, Oracle Corporation offers a great set of MySQL certified pieces of training & courses, including Database Administration & Database Development. Moreover, you can find online, lots of active non-official MySQL supporting communities, providing more help & knowledge in detail.

On the other hand, PostgreSQL has many local PostgreSQL User Groups, & other resources of information & tools. But, not yet that reliable.

  • Outline

  1. Database (DB); Any collection of related information.
  2. Database Management Systems (DBMS); A computer programs enable their users to access databases, process data inside them. & these Computer DBMS can process data in four major ways, according to DBMSs’ type: (Hierarchical DBMS/ HDBMS, Network DBMS/ NDBMS, Object Oriented DBMS/ OODBMS, Relational DBMS/RDBMS).
  3. Structured Query Language/SQL; the standard language used to work with RDBMS.
  4. There isn’t that much performance remoteness between MySQL & PostgreSQL, especially with the newest versions & when choosing between MySQL & PostgreSQL, performance should not be a choosing or not factor for one of them.
  5. PostgreSQL extensibility is higher than MySQL; it supports several advanced data types MySQL doesn’t.
  6. Even thou MySQL was written in C & C++ & PostgreSQL in C; still, there are some differences in their P-languages support (Have a look at table 3).
  7. The Operating System you use may also be an important factor for your choice. One DBMS might not work at all ta certain OS (Have a look at table 4).
  8. Mostly your clients are going to suggest their preference, but if you must choose, then PostgreSQL is the best if you were planning to upgrade to Oracle later. But not when you are trying to run/ modify somebody else’s already written for MySQL software.
  9. Security is a high focus of attention in MySQL, including multiple advanced security features. PostgreSQL is different a little bit. It offers native SLL support for connections for the encryption of client (server) communications.
  10. PostgreSQL is more SQL compliant than MySQL, meeting 160 of its 179 important features of the SQL standard. (Have a look at thisWikiWiki).
  11. Have a look at table 5 to know which Global Corps use each of them as their default DBMS.
  12. MySQL is the best when it comes to Community Support.



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