PostgreSQL vs MySQL: A Detailed And In-depth Comparison


December 29, 2020


August 18th, 2023

” In the 21st century, the database is the marketplace” – Stan Rapp

Two trending names in the world of Relational database management systems – MySQL and PostgreSQL have been rising high in the popularity charts across the globe. Both are open-source in nature and continue to rank amongst the highest and most widely used database management systems. They are considered perfect for managing relational data and use cases containing transactional data.

As always, there has been a heavy comparison of PostgreSQL vs MySQL Performance and other parameters, because of their reputation quotient and great results in database management. Here is a view of the popularity that they carry:

Image Source: Stackoverflow.com

Before we begin to compare the two, let us have a look at them individually:

What Is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open-source object-relational database system with over 30 years of active development that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, feature robustness, and performance.

Source: postgresql.org

PostgreSQL has been considered an apt solution mainly for complex and high-volume data transactions. It is considered ideal while managing tough database conditions. It is extendable and allows users to define index and data types, and functional languages. It gives NoSQL support and supports concurrency.

  • Developed by PostgreSQL Global Development Group
  • Released in 1996
  • Written in C

PostgreSQL Key Features:

  • Cost-based optimizer
  • Replication – Synchronous and asynchronous
  • Function indexing, multiple index counting
  • Multi-version concurrency control
  • Complex SQL queries and sub-selects
  • Customizable with frequent updates
  • Good for larger databases
  • ACID-compliant

Companies That Use PostgreSQL:

Here is a list of companies using PostgreSQL or that have leveraged the potential of  PostgreSQL

  • Netflix
  • Uber
  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • Twitch
  • Spotify
  • Apple
  • Tesla
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

What Is MySQL?

MySQL is the world’s most popular open-source database. Whether you are a fast-growing web property, technology ISV, or large enterprise, MySQL can cost-effectively help you deliver high performance, scalable database applications.

Source: Mysql.com

MySQL has been a trustworthy and fast RDBMS and has proven its worth for many applications, especially scalable web applications. Many CMS like Drupal, Joomla, etc. depend upon MySQL and it is available almost everywhere on the web. Since it is maintained by Oracle, the quality of service is premium. It has a devoted community of members that contribute to its success.

  • Developed by MySQL AB now owned by Oracle Corporation
  • Released in 1995
  • Written in C, C++

MySQL Key Features:

  • Cross-platform support
  • Stored procedures and SSL support
  • Updateable views
  • Full-text indexing, Query caching
  • Information schema
  • Flexible and scalable
  • Cloud-ready DBMS
  • Speedy and reliable

Companies Using MySQL:

There are many organizations, across the world, using MySQL. Here are some of them:

  • Amazon
  • Udemy
  • Pinterest
  • Airbnb
  • Twitter
  • Slack
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Accenture
  • Adobe


PostgreSQL vs MySQL: A Detailed Comparison

Parameters PostgreSQL MySQL
Security Offers a highly secure environment with native SSL support. Better connections for encryption of client-server communications. Highly secure with great security features and good TLS support. Security protocols are based on access control lists for connections and queries.
Popularity Quotient Developers love and prefer PostgreSQL more over MySQL MySQL has a higher market share, questions on stack overflow and search trends than PostgreSQL
Language Support C, C++, JavaScript, Java, Go, .NET, TCL, Python, R, Erlang, Delphi C, C++, Delphi, Java, Go, Lisp, NodeJS, Erlang, R, PHP, Perl
OS Compatibility Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, Solaris, Red Hat Linux family, OpenBSD Windows, Fedora, macOS, Linux, Oracle Solaris, FreeBSD, Open-source Build
RDBMS PostgreSQL is an object-relational database (ORDBMS) MySQL is a pure relational database (RDBMS)
Performance Showcases good performance in conditions where there is high read and write speed Showcases good performance in web-based apps and where there is the high read speed
Handling Timestamps and Date Converts the timestamp to local time on the server and saves timestamps with time zone as a native data type Converts the timestamp to local time on the server in UTC prior to storing the value
Complexity It can manage complex queries and huge databases It is relatively simple to manage OLAP and OLTP systems
Indexing Types and Scalability Hash indexes, partial indexes, B-tree indexes, expression indexes B-trees/R-trees indexes, hash indexes, and inverted lists
Coding Styles PostgreSQL is case sensitive. It is required to convert strings and character sets to UTF-8. IF and IFNULL statements do not work fine. A CASE statement must be used. MySQL is not case sensitive. It is not required to convert strings and character sets to UTF-8. IF and IFNULL statements work fine and can be used.
Modern Features It supports features like JSON, XML, transactional DDL, table partitioning, point in time recovery, etc. It supports features such as JSON, master-slave replication, scale-out, etc.
Licensing MIT-style licensing GNU General Public Licensing
Data Types Supports advanced types – user-defined, hstore, array, etc. SQL standardized types
Architecture A multi-process, extendable ORDBMS A single process RDBMS system
Community Support Huge, open-source, and active community support with multiple resources Vendor-supplied community support with limited free resources
ACID Compliance PostgreSQL is ACID-compliant by design MySQL supports ACID compatibility in a limited manner
Clustering It has synchronous replication – 2-safe replication that uses 2 databases instances simultaneously It has one-way asynchronous replication where a server acts as a master and other servers as slaves
Default values Default values can be altered only at a system level Default values can be overwritten at the session/statement level
Ease of Use It is quite easy to use with its umpteen features that can utilize all detailed information with ease It is easy to install and use but does have some limitations in terms of SQL and database features
Replication Popular for replication, which is based on WAL files, hence much quicker and trustworthy. Supports a variety of replication Supports replication and clustering feature, but is asynchronous and hence less reliable at time
Table Partitioning Supports two types of table partitioning – by inheritance and declarative partitioning Supports declarative table partitioning and sub partitioning
Supported Data Models A popular NoSQL choice for developers with JSON competencies Limited NoSQL competencies with JSON data types
GUI Administration Can be remotely accessible with pgAdmin, Oracle’s SQL Developer, OmniDB, DBeaver Can be remotely accessible with MySQL Workbench, OmniDB, Oracle’s SQL Developer, DBeaver
Support for Different Stacks Popular with LAPP stack. LAPP is Linux, Apache, Postgres, and Php/Python Popular with LAMP stack. LAMP is Linux Apache MySQL/MongoDB and Php/Python
When To Use What?

As such, which one to choose is a choice to be made depending upon requirements and infrastructure availability.

When To Use PostgreSQL?

Choose PostgreSQL whenever

  • There is a need to include huge and complex procedures
  • Portability and reliability are essential requirements
  • Data integrity is a vital ingredient
  • Compatibility with a wide range of languages is a must
  • You need a feature enriched database
When To Use MySQL

Choose MySQL whenever

  • There is a need to build websites and online transactions
  • You must handle a simple and easily manageable database
  • Code from other open-source projects needs to be used
  • There is a need to utilize multiple plug-ins
  • There are distributed operations and a need for replication support
Wrapping It Up

In the end, both PostgreSQL and MySQL are great contenders for the race. It completely depends upon many factors such as budget, infrastructure, skillset, project size and type, community support, etc. when it comes to choosing between the two.

It is like choosing the better out of the best! Choose either, the project is sure to benefit.

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