PostgreSQL vs MySQL. How to Choose Database for Your Project?

Let’s dive today into the world of that magical storage places for all kinds of existing information called databases (DB), shall we? Every modern database, except schema-less ones, have the relational model for structuring the data that being processed. Those models are handled by Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) – apps (libraries) that deal with the databases of various types, sizes, shapes etc.

And one way or another any developer faces the need to choose what DB management system he/she is going to use to create an application. As there is a couple of the most popular and worldwide recognizable relational DB, that whole “choosing” can be a bit confusing process.

An additional complication is that there are no defined benchmarks that could help you instantly see what technology is best for the future app. But the hope isn’t lost! Prepare yourself for the…

PostgreSQL vs MySQL 2017 Epic Battle

Database Battle

In this review, we’ll try to introduce you to the two major open-source RDBMSs that have tremendous value in the world of application development. What should you know about their significant differences, core functionality, and when to use each of them? Here is a quick introduction of each DB for your consideration.

  1.  MySQL (JSON) – worldwide popular and most commonly chosen open-source relational database system developed by the Oracle Corporation. Has a lot of features and a standalone server, and is being used in the numerous websites and the apps. Can be implemented with C and C++ languages. It’s really easy-to-use because of the full access to the huge clusters of information about the DB that is provided for the developers via the Internet. There are many third-party tools, libraries, and apps that could help with working aspects of this RDBMS.
  2.  PostgreSQL (JSONB) – most advanced, also SQL-compliant and extensible open-source object-relational DBMS developed by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group (implementation language is C). It’s ANSI/ISO SQL and SQL/MED standards compliant. Among other DB management systems, Postgres stands out because of its support for highly required object-oriented database functionality, such as reliable transactions (ACID). Thanks to the powerful technology and the implementation of Multiversion Concurrency Control behind this DB, it’s perfectly good with processing various tasks at once pretty successfully and has an impressive extensibility level.

MySQL vs PostgreSQL Comparison Chart]

As you can see, there are a lot of similarities as much as differences between the two RDBMS, some are really significant. So, the choice is all up to you, to the complexity of your project and the needed functional of the product you want to build. Let’s explore the subject some more, to help your cause, shall we?

Pros and Cons of the PostgreSQL and MySQL

PostgreSQL vs MySQL confrontation can also be presented by the comparative analysis of the pluses and minuses of each DBMS. So, I guess, it won’t hurt if we take a minute and discuss the known fact regarding this section. But this just an approximate estimation, just so you know. For any developer, there will be his own preferences regarding these relational database management systems.

Pros of PostgreSQL:

  • SQL standard compliant system – free, yet very powerful RDBMS.
  • Free comprehensive documentation and constant Q&A support 24/7 – therefore, no significant spendings on staffing and technical maintenance.
  • Third-party support of the extremely cool tools for design, management and system usage.
  • High extensibility – PostgreSQL is super programmable and has stored procedures.
  • Advanced and full set of features for business and location analytics
  • Immunity to over-deployment – there is no chance one can sue you for breaking licensing agreements because there is no associated licensing cost for the software.
  • Reliability and trustworthiness – it’s been reported by various companies that Postgres has never ever crashed in years.
  • Flexible full-text search
  • Multiple replication options for environmental requirements
  • Powerful access control framework
  • Replication methods are represented by Master-slave replication.

Cons of PostgreSQL:

  • Less mature and popular replication software
  • Much slower than MySQL system
  • Unfortunately, there's no single method that is de-facto recommended or widely-appropriate by developers
  • Postgres doesn’t support the entire ANSI SQL 92' and ANSI SQL 99' standards.
  • Hosting – it’s hard to find hosts or providers that can manage this system’s instances.
  • Usability – installation and configuration are pretty difficult for newbies.

Pros & Cons

Pros of MySQL:

  • Easy-to-handle – installation is very easy, many third-party tools that support the system.
  • Security – there are various advanced security features in MySQL.
  • Scalable and strong – this RDBMS can process huge amount of information and can be used "at scale" when needed.
  • Speed – while the creators gave up a couple of standards it allowed them to make a fast working system keeping up with the efficiently.
  • Worldwide appreciation and popularity along with commercial support (Redhat Enterprise Linux).
  • Replication methods has two levels: Master-master replication and Master-slave replication.

Cons of MySQL:

  • Wasn’t designed to do everything and there are functional limitations.
  • Less reliable than PostgreSQL when it comes to transactions, references, auditing etc.
  • Stagnated development – there were some complaints regarding the development process since its acquisition.
  • MyISAM doesn't support transactions and handle the ACID properties poorly, so concurrency is really bad. However, you can use the InnoDB engine which is completely transactional and ACID compliant.
  • Subquery performance in this DBMS is pretty much disappointing.
  • There are also some problems with the perverse triggers.

PostgreSQL vs MySQL performance

If we are to compare the performance of these two RDBMSs, we’ll have to state the following facts.   

  • For simple operations, like read-heavy, it’s better to choose MySQL, ‘cuz Postgres is going to be less effective.
  • Postgres supports multicore queries in 9.6 version
  • PostgreSQL has more rich set of data types and flexible indexing.
  • In case of MySQL, their replication methods are tested worldwide and easy to understand.
  • Pluggable storage engines, tunability, and ability to deal with a huge number of connections, allows MySQL a flexibility in adapting to load.
  • PostgreSQL’s performance enhancer sometimes is giving the best result comparing to MySQL’s enhancer. Especially in case of tables fusion without appropriate keys or when the fusion happens using different keys and logical statement OR.

Database Performance

As for the speed tests, you better check a set of results for MySQL, and, in addition, there are a lot of PostgreSQL vs MySQL benchmark comparisons, that could help you make up your mind. Articles like ‘Comparing PostgreSQL 9.1 vs. MySQL 5.6 using Drupal 7.x’ or ‘MySQL vs PostgreSQL Benchmarks’. Those benchmarks always show which constructs you should avoid while working with different databases. What’s more out there? Well, when you face the need to switch from one RDBMS to another, there is a nice post about why Uber Switched from Postgres to MySQL, for example.

When to Use and Not to Use Each Database System

Choose the MySQL in case of:

  • Websites and online apps
  • Distributed operations
  • High security
  • Custom solutions

When you need some other RDBMS rather than MySQL:

  • SQL compliance (MySQL isn’t exactly completely SQL-compliant)
  • Concurrency (MySQL has problems with concurrent read-writes operations)
  • Lack of features (full-text search, for example)

Choose the PostgreSQL in case of:

  • Data integrity
  • Difficult custom procedures:
  • Possible need  for switch or integration with other solutions in the future
  • Complex and often repeated DB operations

When you need some other RDBMS rather than PostgreSQL:

  • Speed when it comes to read operations
  • Simple set ups without the requirement of data integrity, ACID compliance etc.
  • File corruption recoveries and replications

What to choose

So, long story short, as a large-scale database system, MySQL manages simple stuff like websites and apps that don’t need administration. And the PostgreSQL was designed for geospatial tasks implementation and providing secure data storages and information recoveries, like business apps with the data mining and reporting.

If we are talking about real examples, here they are:

  1. PostgreSQL – Amazon’s Redshift; 1C.
  2. MySQL Replication – Yahoo Finance, Slashdot.

Summing it up

What can we say for sure, is that PostgreSQL is, indeed, slower than fast and furious MySQL. The same implies regarding popularity for both systems accordingly. And when you are facing the need to compare MySQL vs PostgreSQL, only your platform requirements (iOS or Android), the data for future processing, and the inner infrastructure of the would-be product, along with its desirable cost, can define what RDBMS do you need.

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