PostgreSQL vs MySQL

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By Vijay Singh Khatri

This article will walk you through the various features, benefits, and drawbacks of MySQL and PostgreSQL, as well as provide a detailed comparison of both.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an Object-Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS) that was created with the help of the University of California. It is an enterprise-level database management system that is also compatible with programming languages other than SQL. It supports both materialised views and modern applications.

Advantages of PostgreSQL

  • It offers good security, so you can redistribute the DBMS as much as you wish without any fear of malware.
  • It provides numerous useful features like Point in Time Recovery, Table Partitioning, Transactional DDL, etc.
  • It offers more advanced and diverse options to work from.
  • It supports many programming languages like C/C++, Python and different forms of SQL.
  • It shows Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability (ACID Compliance).

Disadvantages of PostgreSQL

  • The query execution plans aren’t cacheable.
  • There is a need for the export and replication of data into newer versions.
  • You need to ensure double storage for upgrading because there is a major risk of losing all your data.
  • The major releases do not come up with upgrade facilities.
  • The software is advanced and complex, so it is not easy to comprehend for beginners.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open-source application that uses SQL to create, manipulate and withdraw data from relational databases, making it a popular Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). It has been named ‘My’ after the daughter of Micheal Widenius, who is its co-founder. As much as it is open-source software, it is owned by Oracle Corporation and sponsored by MySQL AB, a Swedish company. It is definitely the best software for data administration.

Advantages of MySQL

  • It provides various features like Geographic Data Distribution, Master-Slave Replication, Offload Reporting, Scale-Out, etc.
  • It has a very efficient memory engine that automatically saves your frequently used features.
  • The Storage engine has a pretty poor overhead.
  • Recent versions of MySQL offer proper data security and support.
  • It lets you have significant cost savings and is easy to manage.

Disadvantages of MySQL

  • It is not always ACID Complaint, so all transactions may not be safe.
  • All stored procedures cannot be cached.
  • Accounts are always centrally managed.
  • One account cannot be used by many users as there aren’t enough roles.
  • Server crashes are able to distort the whole system catalog.

Features of PostgreSQL and MySQL

Now that we have gotten to know the fundamentals of these two Database Management Systems, let’s go deeper into the features of MySQL and PostgreSQL.

1. Concurrency

Concurrency is the feature of an application that lets multiple users have access to the same data simultaneously. Having multiple users accessing the data makes managing and modifying a database easier and convenient.


PostgreSQL shows full MVCC support, and hence, it has high and efficient levels of concurrency.


Only the InnoDB version of MySQL has MVCC support that offers high Concurrency.

2. Database Performance

Though both Database Management Systems have efficient performance, the choice is dependent on the user’s purpose because PostgreSQL and MySQL are designed for different types of usage.


It claims credit for being the most advanced Open Source Object-Relational Database of our time. It supports many commercial and new features, like concurrency without read locks, geospatial data support, etc. It has been developed for executing complex queries. It requires extensive data analysis and works best with OLTP and OLAP systems. It is best suited for read/write applications with fast speeds. It is well compatible with Business Intelligence Applications, Data Analysis, and Data Warehousing.


This application is made for straightforward transactions and, hence, is more popular among database managers. Therefore, this software can glitch if you are doing something with heavy loads and complex transactions. If you need good read/write speeds on OLTP systems, use MySQL with InnoDB; otherwise, MySQL can work when only read speeds are needed. It works well with only read-heavy applications.

3. Geospatial Data support

A new feature called Geospatial Data support helps you to store and analyze all Geographical data points. It basically works using the Geographical form of the Coordinate System.


Geospatial Data Support is not an in-built function of PostgreSQL; it rather works as an extension via PostGIS extension. However, you can use different forms of Geospatial Data support through this extension based on their functions.


One of the most dynamic qualities of MySQL is that Geospatial Data Support is an in-built feature of this DBMS.

4. Extensibility

An extensible type system through this extension enables the user to extend the database in various ways to add new data types, languages, indexes, etc.


PostgreSQL offers a good amount of extensibility. This object-relational database management system is flexible enough for new operators, index types, data types, procedural languages and functions.


It does not support extensibility, so you will be limited to the available functions and operators.

5. Installation

Though both these softwares are Open Source in nature, there are minute differences in the availability options.


It is completely open source software, and therefore, all versions of it are free despite being individually owned and distributed by multiple companies.


Though Open Source software is intended to be free, some GNU General licensed versions, as well as paid versions, are available for commercial use. Commercial versions are available because, due to its popularity, this application was purchased by Oracle Corporation after years of development.

6. Programming Languages

SQL in itself is a programming language, but the programming world is filled with so many others.


Alongside SQL, PostgreSQL supports a lot of NoSQL languages like C, C++, JavaScript, Perl, Python, TCL, etc. You can even execute them in the background while using this application.


MySQL strictly does not support any other programming languages other than SQL.

7. Replication

The electronic copying of data from one database on one server or device to another database on another device or server is called replication. Data Replication makes it easier for several users to access the same data and work on it without interference.


It supports both Master Standby replication and fast WAL processing, resulting in real-time replication with standby capabilities. Cascading replication, Streaming/Hot Standby replication, Logical log streaming replication, Single master to one standby, Single master to multiple standbys, and Bi-Directional replication are all available.


It only supports Master Standby Replication. MySQL supports single master-to-one standby replication, single master-to-one standby replication, and single master-to-multiple standby replication. Master to master replication and circular replication are also supported.

8. Security

A Database Management System (DBMS) can be prone to malicious threats and illegitimate usage. Thus, it is mandatory to use an environment that guards data security.


It assigns inherited roles to all database users, which can be managed. It supports SSL natively. The built-in SE-PostgreSQL provides SELinux Security Policy-based access controls.


This DBMS has Access Control Lists (ACLs) that secure all the operations performed and keep a check on the users. Some MySQL clients and servers may implement SSL-encrypted connections.

Detailed Comparison: PostgreSQL vs MySQL

Now let’s overview the detailed comparison of the Database Management Systems (DBMS).

Open SourceFully Open sourceOpen source, yet owned by Oracle and has paid versions
ACID ComplianceCompletely ACID ComplianceOnly some versions are compliant
SQL ComplianceAlmost complete SQL complianceOnly some versions are compliant
PerformancesFunctions best with OLAP/OLTP if read/write speeds are needed. It is meant for executing complex transactions.Works best with OLAP/OLTP if only read speeds are required. Can only execute simple transactions.
AccessAll standards supportedAll standards supported
SecuritySecured by SSL supportSSL support only in some versions
JSON SupportSupports JSON data type and other NoSQL features. It permits indexing JSON data for faster access.Supports only the JSON data type but does not support other NoSQL features.
ConcurrencyMVCC implementation supports multiple requests without read locksMVCC support in some versions
ReplicationMultiple replication technologies are available such as Bi-Directional replication, Logical log streaming replication, Streaming/ Hot standby replication, Single master to one standby, Single master to multiple standby.Only standard master-standby replication technologies are available such as Master to master replication, Single master to one standby, Single master to multiple standbys, Single master to one standby to one or more standbys, Circular replication.
Geospatial Data SupportSupportedSupported
ExtensibilitySupportedNot Supported
Programming LanguagesSupportedNot Supported
Materialized ViewsSupportedNot Supported
Temporary TablesSupportedSupported
B-tree IndexesIndexes fused at runtime to assess are dynamically converted predicates.Minimum two B-tree indexes can be applied, but not always.
Join CapabilitiesFair join capabilitiesLimited join capabilities
Default ValuesValues can be altered only at the system levelValues can only be altered at the the statement level and session level
EcosystemMinimal high-end choicesA progressive ecosystem with many variants
Stack Overflow89.3k532k
Object StatisticsBetter object statisticsGood object statistics
GitHub Stars5.6k3.34k

Take Away

In essence, PostgreSQL is an Object-Relational Database Management System (ORDMS) while MySQL is just a Relational Database Management System (RDMS) and hence the variance. PostgreSQL is made for more executive and read/write speed functions, and MySQL is for simpler transactions and read-only speed functions. The advantages of PostgreSQL over MySQL include its complete Open Source feature set, extensibility, JSON support, SQL and ACID compliance, Materialised Views support, and compatibility with a wide range of programming languages. MySQL over its popularity and dynamic capabilities. Thereby, you should choose your DBMS based on what you are working on.

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