Top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons)

Top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons). MySQL is a common and widely used database management system that can be easily installed and integrated with a large variety of applications. Not only MySQL but also many other alternative database management systems can be used in most of these use cases. In this article, we will be discussing the top 20 MySQL alternatives in terms of their pros and cons.

Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases

1. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an object relational database management system used for advanced tasks. It has an Open Source Initiative Approved License. This database is written in C language and supports operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac, and BSD.

Pros of PostgreSQL

  • ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) compliant and having a great approach to robustness and data integrity compliance.
  • Increased performance with each release.
  • Supports asynchronous API usage in client applications.
  • Community support in tutorials and troubleshooting.
  • Supports JSON data type.
  • Continuous rapid development.
  • Supports geographic objects (do not have native data types, spatial database extenders such as PostGIS can support geographic objects).

Cons of PostgreSQL

  • Not suitable for small scale applications due to its complexity.
  • Complexities in horizontal scaling.
  • Not recommended for large enterprise applications as the performance can be slow.
  • Lack of options for data migration from other RDBMS to PostgreSQL.
  • Hard to perform clustering 
  • Need double storage for any upgrades
  • Primary nodes such as  PostgreSQL Node and PostgreSQL Replica Node can fail
  • Do not have a built-in task scheduler. You need to use external tools such as Task Scheduler and pgAgent.

2. MongoDB

MongoDB is an open source, NoSQL, and document oriented database which is platform independent. It uses JSON formats for operations.

Pros of MongoDB

  • MongoDB holds rich documentation and support resources.
  • Considered a fast database.
  • Supports JSON.
  • Does not need a unified data structure.
  • Scalable with sharding and other scaling capabilities.

Cons of MongoDB

  • Reported cases of data corruption, losses, and leaking.
  • Document Storing might not be ideal for relational data.
  • Index and search text features are not much powerful.

3. MariaDB

Another one of the list of the top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases is MariaDB. It is an open source, fast growing and MySQL compatible database. It has free and paid versions. Additionally, MariaDB has a variety of plugins to provide more functionalities. It works under GNU General Public License.

Pros of MariaDB

  • MariaDB is an open source development community support in continuous development, proper documentation, tutorials, and troubleshooting.
  • Include cutting edge features such as GIS.
  • Dynamic column support that allows few NoSQL functionalities.

Cons of MariaDB

  • High cost in horizontal scaling.
  • Might not perform well with bulky databases.
  • Poor cluster and load management .
  • Less advanced features.

4. SQLite

SQLite is a relational database management system that is not a client server database. The syntax of SQLite is much similar to PostgreSQL.

Pros of SQLite

  • Has bindings for multiple programming languages including BASIC, Delphi, C, C#, C++, Java, JavaScript, Livecode, Common Lisp, Curl, D, Free Pascal, Haskell, Lua, news, Objective-C (on OS X and iOS), Perl, PHP, PureBasic, Python, R, Ruby, Scheme, Visual Basic.
  • Not a bulky software.
  • Self contained. Requires little support from external libraries or operating systems.
  • Portability throughout multiple applications and cross platform support.
  • Reliability and fewer complications.
  • Ideal for testing and initial development steps.
  • No configuration needed.

Cons of SQLite

  • Does not support multi users.
  • Some of the SQL features such as RIGHT OUTER JOIN and FOR EACH STATEMENT are missing.

5. ArangoDB

ArangoDB is an open source and freely available, multi model database system offered by ArangoDB GmbH. The query language used in ArangoDB is AQL which is a declarative query language.

Pros of ArangoDB

  • Graph oriented and data modelling can be done in the document.
  • Supports join in AQL queries.
  • Can be extended using JavaScript APIs and microservices.
  • ACID Transactions can be used for small scale data retrieval operations.
  • Easy clustering.
  • Includes powerful synchronous and asynchronous Java Drive.
  • Spring Data integration.

Cons of ArangoDB

  • Dashboard features are not much user friendly.
  • Poor scalability.

6. Oracle Database

Oracle Database is a multi model, relational database management system offered by Oracle Corporation. It is frequently used for transaction based operations.

Pros of Oracle Database

  • Since Oracle is a large company, it offers technical support with qualified consultants.
  • Features such as partitioning, active data guard and security are used for daily workflow plans.
  • Stability and Security.
  • Scalability.
  • Updates will be managed without database downs as parallel upgrading is available for higher availability applications.
  • High performance with parallel querying.
  • Concurrent executions of union branches.

Cons of Oracle Database

  • No built in support for database migrations.
  • Higher cost compared to other solutions.
  • Complexities in operating.
  • Lack of support for new programming languages.
  • Difficulty in maintaining clusters.

7. RethinkDB

Next of our top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons) is RethinkDB. It is a freely available, open source, distributed and document oriented database offered by RethinkDB. It is designed to facilitate real time updates and stores data in JSON documents.

Pros of RethinkDB

  • Easy installation.
  • The ability to listen to changes and trigger actions accordingly.
  • Use of a powerful query language, ReQL.
  • Ideal for Javascript developers as queries are much similar to Javascript functions.
  • An auto master assignment is done when the master is down.
  • Offers CLI and web administration tools.
  • Horizontal scalability with sharding, MVCC architecture and parallel querying.
  • Ease of clustering.

Cons of RethinkDB

  • Inability to run queries from CLI.
  • Need to set up own authentication and user accounts.

8. OrientDB

OrientDB is an open source, multi model and NoSQL database management system based on Java. It is licensed under  Apache 2.

Pros of OrientDB

  • Supports documents, graphs and objects and a multi model database.
  • Open source and commercial Apache license.
  • Supports Clustering.
  • Supports SQL and other query languages too.
  • Scalable with Multi master replication.
  • High performance.
  • Provides both community and enterprise versions.

Cons of OrientDB

  • Not a popular and commonly used database.
  • Requires higher learning curve.
  • Out of memory crashes can occur when bulk inserting.

9. Redis

The next choice of our top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons)is Redis server. It is an in memory, multi model database that supports schema less design with high functionalities and simplicity.

Pros of Redis

  • Redis server does not have a Virtual machine as it is written in ANSI C.
  • Detailed documentation and community support.
  • Has a BSD license
  • Has many powerful libraries and frameworks.

Cons of Redis

  • Redis server shows lack of support for some data types.
  • Poor User interface.
  • Increased resource consumption while scaling.
  • The complexity of the database structure.

10. SQL Server

SQL server

Next on the list of top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases is SQL Server. It is an RDBMS (Relational Database management systems) server introduced by Microsoft. Microsoft, search overflow and RBC Intuit are some companies that use this database. SQL Server is written in C and C++ and has a commercial license as it is not open-source software.

Pros of SQL Server

  • High security.
  • Provides functional and graphical user interface.
  • Convenient in creating queries to perform filtering.
  • Convenient backup and recovery. 
  • High performance and better workload balancing.
  • High availability with cross database support and architectural support.
  • Flexibility in managing databases and tables.
  • High availability with sharding.
  • Multiple Data security modes: Windows Authentication Mode, Mixed mode and Windows password policy.
  • Data encryption with TDE (Transparent Data Encryption), Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), column level.
  • Task scheduling with SQL Server Management Studio.
  • Compatibility with the geography data type.

Cons of SQL Server

  • Not a free software.
  • Not customizable .
  • Performance tuning and query optimization can be complex.
  • Does not support other operating systems like Windows, Microsoft Server and Linux.
  • Not hardware friendly as some upgrades require hardware updates.
  • Only supporting PHP, JavaScript, and C#.
  • The installation process is slow and requires additional downloads.
  • Does not have a better concurrency and is based on locking resources.

11. Couchbase

Couchbase is an open source, distributed and multi model NoSQL document oriented database ideal for interactive applications (creating, storing, retrieving, aggregating, manipulating and presenting data).

Pros of Couchbase

  • Couchbase is a free and open source database with Apache license.
  • Capable of running real time ad hoc SQL queries. 
  • Easy to use and sync with mobile devices.
  • Available on operating systems such as Linux, macOS and Windows.
  • Fast pre defined query.

Cons of Couchbase

  • Does not include model mappers for the Android operating system.
  • Not compatible with CouchDB.

12. Cassandra

Apache Cassandra  is an open source NoSQL distributed database, wide column store system designed to handle large amounts of data. It provides high availability with no single point of failure. 

Pros of Cassandra

  • Highly scalable and has a higher throughput.
  • Easy to adapt for developers who are familiar with SQL.
  • Cassandra server uses (CQL) for querying, which is similar to SQL.

Cons of Cassandra

  • Cassandra high latency in read and write operations
  • Does not support joins
  • Not much suitable for new users who use small datasets

13. Cloudant

Cloudant is a distributed database created for handling heavy workloads that are typical of large, fast growing web and mobile apps. Available as an SLA backed, fully managed IBM Cloud service, Cloudant elastically scales throughput and storage independently.

Pros of Cloudant

  • Database replication can be done across multiple hosts with Cloudant.
  • Operates on a bare metal and virtual machine.
  • Does not cause crashes.
  • Cloud agnostic; supports hosting in Amazon, Azure, Rackspace, SoftLayer.

Cons of Cloudant

  • Consistency can only be achieved in terms of verification and replication so it results in eventual consistency.

14. MarkLogic

MarkLogic is a multi model database that supports NoSQL. It is a highly secured database that can be deployed in any environment. As software as a service, it is much suitable for a data hub.

Pros of MarkLogic

  • Compatible with ACID transactions.
  • Provides Integration with Node.js, REST and JSON.
  • Rich Documentation.
  • Fast installation, configuration and deployment.

Cons of MarkLogic

  • High licensing cost.
  • Takes a large amount of space for storage leading to increased cost.
  • Not open source server.
  • The security model needs to be improved to facilitate role based permission.

15. Firebase

Another choice from our list of top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons) is Firebase. It is a real time, Backend as a Service offered by Google. It is a NoSQL database with two options: Firebase Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore. Firebase stores data in JSON format. It has a convenient data management console and browsing tool.

Pros of Firebase

  • Real time updates.
  • Easy to learn, adapt and integrate.
  • Has better managing and sorting options.
  • Rich documentation and guidance.

Cons of Firebase

  • Limited querying capacities; restricted to simple querying.
  • Limited support in data migration due to lack of tools.

16. Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch is a document oriented, NoSQL based database management system. It stores data in JSON format and supports RESTful APIs. Elasticsearch is open source software with both free and paid versions. Moreover, it has an Apache Licence.

Pros of Elasticsearch

  • Has a scalable, robust and distributed architecture.
  • Supports horizontal scaling
  • The fast data processing capability.
  • High performance.

Cons of Elasticsearch

  • Does not offer multi language support.
  • Weak performance in handling request/ response data.
  • Only supports JSON document format.
  • Lack of advanced health check tools, hence hard to identify server issues.

17. ClickHouse

ClickHouse MySql alternatives

ClickHouse is an open source column oriented database management system offered by Yandex.

Pros of ClickHouse

  • Supports SQL.
  • Does parallel processing with multiple cores.
  • Offers distributed processing via different servers.
  • Includes better functionalities.
  • Index support with primary key.
  • Has an attractive CLI (command line interface) with user friendly features (progress bar, etc.).

Cons of ClickHouse

  • Does not support transactions, delete/update features
  • Only supports primary keys and doesn’t support secondary keys 
  • Does not support MySQL protocol
  • Limited SQL support
  • Data migration can be complex due to the lack of joins
  • Lack of window functions

18. CouchDB

This alternative of top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons) is CouchDB. Apache CouchDB is an open source document oriented NoSQL database.

CouchDB uses multiple formats and protocols to store, transfer, and process its data (JSON). 

Pros of CouchDB

  • CouchDB operates in physical network partitions.
  • Availability feature.
  • Ability to use the RESTful API to listen to the database to stay up to date.
  • Data stored in JSON format over HTTP.
  • Suitable for communication with or without middleware.

Cons of CouchDB

  • Eventual consistency through verification and replication of data.
  • Does not have a confident development prediction for the future. Hence not future proof.

19. Apache IBM DB2

IBM DB2 is a NoSQL database engine by IBM. It is designed for the use of iSeries servers of IBM. The workstation version of DB2 also supports Windows, Unix, and Linux.

Pros of Apache IBM DB2

  • Can be hosted in both a physical server and the cloud parallel.
  • Support concurrency with Task Scheduler.
  • Error codes and exit codes can be used to identify the running jobs.
  • Supports JSON and XML.

Cons of Apache IBM DB2

  • Considerably higher in cost.
  • Needs more third party tools or plugins for clustering.
  • Free support for only three years.


SAP HANA is a column oriented database engine designed by SAP SE. It is capable of handling both SAP and non SAP data. This database is specially designed for saving and retrieving data from applications. SAP HANA can be hosted in both physical and cloud servers.

Pros of SAP HANA

  • Requires limited resources as the engine has a compression mechanism.
  • Supports SQL, OLAP, and OLTP.
  • Data can be easily stored in memory.
  • Lesser access time.
  • Real time reporting.
  • Inventory Management.

Cons of SAP HANA

  • Higher in cost.
  • Not much used and famous in the community. 
  • There can be frequent updates and patches as it is still in the development stage.

Top 20 Best MySQL Alternatives for Databases (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

We have discussed the pros and cons of the 20 best MySQL alternative databases in this list. Oracle has more features among the commercial databases, while MongoDB, Cassandra and many more score better among NoSQL databases. The right choice should be made considering the cost, resource capacity, design constraints and requirements of your application.

Avatar for Shanika Wickramasinghe
Shanika Wickramasinghe

Senior Software Engineer at WSO2 which is the 6th largest Open Source Software Company in the World. My main skills are machine learning and software development. I have 5+ years of experience as a Software engineer.

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