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PostgreSQL vs. MySQL

by Abraham
postgresql vs mysql

PostgreSQL and MySQL are the two top database management systems. Besides, the two are open-source relational databases meaning they can be used for free, and their code is also freely available. Multiple commercials and in-house applications use PostgreSQL and MySQL.

PostgreSQL, commonly known as Postgres and MySQL, has been around for a long time. Both RDBMSes are secure, and they support network fault tolerance and clustering. However, despite all the similarities, some elements help differentiate the two database management systems.

Let’s look at what is PostgreSQL and MySQL?

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an ORDBMS (Object Relational Database Management System) developed at the University of California at the Computer Science Department. Postgres is a pioneer of many concepts. It is an enterprise-class ORDBMS that is easy to install and set up. Postgres offers support for both SQL and NoSQL. It helps you quickly solve the problems you face due to its significant community with thousands of developers.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is a widely used and popular Relational Database Management System that derived its name from two acronyms, “My and SQL.” “My” is the co-founder’s daughter’s name, while SQL is a programming language. MySQL’s source code is available under the GNU GPL. MySQL project is owned and maintained by Oracle Corporation.

MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that primarily works on the relational database model, making database administration much flexible and easier.

This article guide will review the similarities and differences between Postgres and MySQL. Hence to learn more, read this article to the end.

Fundamental differences between PostgreSQL and MySQL

  • MySQL is only compliant with ACID when used with NDB and InnoDB, while PostgreSQL is utterly compliant with ACID.
  • MySQL is a community based/driven RDBMS, whereas PostgreSQL is an Object-Relational Database Management system (ORDBMS)
  • MySQL does not support materialized views, while PostgreSQL supports it.
  • In terms of performance, MySQL is excellent in OLTP and OLAP systems, whereas PostgreSQL performs best when executing complex queries.
  • PostgreSQL supports modern application features such as XML and JSON, while MySQL only supports JSON.

PostgreSQL history

  1. INGRES was developed in 1977
  2. PostgreSQL after that was developed by Stonebraker Michael and his colleagues in 1986
  3. In 1990 Postgres supported real pgSQL/PL and ACID
  4. In 1995, it was released as Postgres95
  5. Postgres95 was re-released as PostgreSQL 6.0 in 1996
  6. Between 1998 to 2001, GUC, MVCC, procedural language loader, and join syntax controls were incorporated into Postgres
  7. Between 2002 to 2006, versions 7.2 to 8.2 of PostgreSQL included features such as Roles and dblink, Nonblocking VACUUM, and schema support
  8. PostgreSQL8.4 was released in 2009, followed by PostgreSQL9.0 that was released in 2010
  9. The New York City PostgreSQL User Group (NYCPUG) joined the United States PostgreSQL (PgUS) in 2013.
  10. The PGconf was organized in 2014

MySQL history

  1. MySQL was created by MySQL AB, a Swedish company, in 1995
  2. In 2008 MySQL AB was acquired by Sun for 1 billion dollars
  3. In 2010, Sun was bought by Oracle, which later acquired MySQL.
  4. MySQL was forked in 2012 to create MariaDB under the Monty Program Ab by its founder Widenius Michael.
  5. In 2013, most MySQL distributions were replaced by MariaDB
  6. In 2013 SkySQL merged with Monty Program Ab
  7. In 2014, SkySQL Ab was renamed to MariaDB corporation

PostgreSQL features

  • PostgreSQL contains an active community that accelerates its development
  • It is the most common alternation to SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2
  • PostgreSQL runs on major operating system platforms such as Linux, macOS, Unix, and Windows
  • MVCC that supports many concurrent users
  • PostgreSQL allows data backup and reads scalability replication.
  • Supports foreign keys that provides efficient data storage
  • Contains triggers that are stored for complex transactions and programs
  • PostgreSQL tables and views can be joined, thus allowing flexible retrieval of data
  • Supports modern applications such as XML and JSON
  • Provides extensive indexing for high-performance reporting
  • PostgreSQL provides ANSI SQL support which is effective for transportable code and skills.

MySQL features

  • This is a community-driven Relational Database Management System.
  • MySQL is compliant with the ANSI SQL standard
  • Compatible with ANSI-SQL2008 and Object-oriented
  • MySQL is supported by various platforms such as Unix, Linux, macOS, and Windows.
  • Multithreaded using kernel threads
  • Contains independent modules articulating the multi-layered design
  • MySQL permits trigger and log-based SSL replication
  • Offers support for multi-version concurrency control
  • MySQL is compatible with a variety of platforms using middleware and major languages
  • MySQL handles any amount of data, regardless of the volume you have
  • Offers built-in space and query analysis tools
  • MySQL server is available as a client-server model or an embedded DB

Disadvantages of using PostgreSQL

  1. Major releases lack upgrades
  2. Indexes are not used to return query results directly
  3. Bulk loading operations tend to become CPU bound
  4. Current external solutions need a high learning curve
  5. Data has to be replicated or exported to newer versions
  6. Offers sparse Independent Software Vendor support
  7. During the upgrade process, you are required to have double storage capacity.
  8. Query execution plans are not cacheable

Disadvantages of using MySQL

  1. All the stored procedures are not cacheable
  2. System catalog related transactions are not compliant with ACID
  3. It does not provide support for roles since it is challenging to maintain privileges for many users
  4. The system catalog can be easily crashed whenever the server crashes
  5. Tables used for triggers and procedures are pre-locked
  6. The centrally managed account is prevented due to the lack of a pluggable authentication

Differences between PostgreSQL and MySQL

Below is a table comprising of the significant differences between Postgres and MySQL

ACID compliancePostgreSQL fully complies with ACIDMySQL is partially compliant with ACID. For instance, it is only compliant with ACID while using NDB and InnoDB cluster storage engines
SQL compliantPostgreSQL fully complies with SQLMySQL is partially compliant with SQL. For example, it does not support check constraints.
Community SupportThe innovative community aims at ensuring it remains the most advanced database while the active community regularly improves the existing features. Besides, security enhancements and new cutting-edge features are periodically released.It has significant community contributors whose sole purpose is to maintain the existing features by occasionally releasing new features.
PerformanceUsed in large systems where the read and write speeds matter mostIt is used chiefly for web-based projects that require a database for easy data transactions.
Best suitedPostgreSQL performs excellently when executing complex queries.MySQL performs well in OLAP & OLTP systems when working with only read speeds
Join capabilitiesHas good join capabilitiesLimits join capabilities
Support for materialized views and temporary tablesSupports temporary tables and materialized views.Supports temporary tables only. MySQL does not support materialized views.
EcosystemPostgres has limited high-end options. However, it is taking an entirely new shape with the introduction of new features on the latest versions. MySQL has a dynamic ecosystem with variants such as Galera, MariaDB, and Percona.
Default valuesOnly the system level can change the default valuesThe default values can both be overwritten at the Statement and session levels.
B-tree IndexesB-tree indexes are merged at runtime to evaluate the dynamically converted predicates.Allows use of two or more B-tree indexes
Object statisticsOutstanding object statisticsFairly good object statistics
Stack Overflow questions89.3K532K
GitHub Rating5.6k3.34k
Famous companies using the productInstagram, Groupon, and NetflixUber, Twitter, and Airbnb

Below are some key reasons why you should either use MySQL or PostgreSQL

Why use PostgreSQL?

  1. PostgreSQL supports 3DES, AES data encryption algorithms
  2. Roles and users can be assigned Object-level privileges
  3. Being open-source, developers are permitted to redistribute the independent software
  4. Venders without fear of copyright strikes.
  5. It offers essential features such as Point in Time Recovery, Table partitioning, and Transactional DDL.
  6. Has the ability to utilize third-party key stores in the form of complete PKI infrastructure.
  7. Developers have the permission to modify the source code according to their preference since PostgreSQL is licensed under BSD without necessarily requiring the dev-ops to contribute back enhancements.

Why use MySQL?

  1. MySQL supports features such as Scale-Out and Master-Slave Replication
  2. For frequently used tables, MySQL supports memory storage engine
  3. MySQL is easy to learn and troubleshoot
  4. For repeatedly used statements, the query is cacheable
  5. MySQL supports Geographic Data Distribution and Offload Reporting
  6. For mostly read applications, MySQL offers very low overhead plus MyISAM storage engine

Which is better between PostgreSQL and MySQL?

You might be a developer who is stuck not knowing which one to use. Don’t worry since we shall explain in detail which to choose under which circumstances.

If you are a newbie to the world of databases and you don’t plan on scaling up anytime soon, then you should consider MySQL. This also works if you look for a quick prototyping tool. However, if you know you will be working with frequent write operations and complex queries, you should consider PostgreSQL.

That is just but one rule that you should consider, but there are others that we shall look at in this article.

Cloud platform provider is another thing to take into account. There are benefits offered by a cloud platform that would benefit one database over the other. This is something you need to consider while choosing which is better between PostgreSQL and MySQL. Application frameworks also matter since some are suited for particular database management systems, giving you a clue of which to choose.

Generally, MySQL is widely used than PostgreSQL, meaning most DBAs and developers are more familiar with it. In addition, there are more third-party tools available for MySQL.

Also, it is essential to note that MySQL and Postgres are not the only databases. You can try out other alternatives if the two do not meet your needs.

Object-Oriented Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS) vs. Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

PostgreSQL is an Object-Oriented Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS), while MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). An Object-Oriented Relational Database Management System contains qualities of both a Relational Database Management System and an Object-Oriented Relational Database Management System. This, therefore, implies that despite the tables being linked and related, other elements of the Object-Oriented Management System are also available. Hence an ORDBMS supports additional features such as inheritance, classes, and objects. In a Relational Database Management System, databases are based on a relational model meaning all tables are related. No table exists without a relation.


MySQL vs. PostgreSQL is a vital decision when it trickles down to selecting an open-source database management system. Both MySQL and PostgreSQL have proven worthy and efficient solutions that compete with enterprise DBMSes such as SQL Server and Oracle. However, while there are lots of similarities between the two databases, there are also distinct differences.

In this article, we have tried as much as possible to provide you with an accurate and fair comparison between the two databases. However, in the end, you are the boss and determiner of which database to use. Therefore, evaluate the scenario surrounding the best-suited database to use before choosing which one suits you.

We hope this article helped you distinguish between these two open-source database management systems. Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed the article, please leave a remark in the comments section.

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