MariaDB vs MySQL – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

Nowadays, many businesses run relational databases instead of the hierarchical database for optimal performance. It is crucial to have a database to store and access information for better performance and results. A relational database management system, also referred to as RDBMS, is a type of database that stores data in a tabular form. These tables express relationships between data items.

RDBMS is an upgraded version of DBMS that stores, manages, modifies data, and helps eliminate data redundancy. MySQL and MariaDB are the two most popular databases that belong to the RDBMS category. Both the relational database management systems have a similar structure but hold different features and elements. In this post, we will discuss how both the popular systems run, compare MySQL and MariaDB, provide a head-to-head comparison between both the database on the basis of performance, speed, structure, support, and more. Further, we will pen down the pros and cons of each database. By the end of this post, you should be able to pick one for the optimal performance of web applications.

mariadb vs mysql

What is MariaDB?

In October 2009, MariaDB was created. To preserve MySQL’s structure and features, the developers built another type of RDBMS – MariaDB by means of forking. They feared if Oracle (MySQL’s biggest competitor) will take over MySQL in the coming time, they may jeopardize the database.

MariaDB Corporation AB and MariaDB Foundation are the parent companies that manage MariaDB. It is an improved version of MySQL with various inbuilt features, enhanced security, and performance and is highly compatible. MariaDB Server 10.5 is the latest version of MariaDB. Though, it began with version 5.1 and carried the same code base as MySQL. But, both the DB have different features and elements, hard to find in MySQL.

Key Features of MariaDB

  • It is an open-source RDBMS that supports Structured Query Language commands
  • It is an improved version of MySQL written in C, C++, Bash, and Perl. 
  • It can easily be integrated with other RDBMS
  • It incorporates 12 new storage engines
  • It provides multiple authentication methods per account.
  • Supports PHP
  • Stands no support for Data Masking and Dynamic Columns
  • The RDBMS has only a free single license (GNU General Public License)
  • MariaDB offers backward compatibility
  • MariaDB holds similar database structures and indexes like MySQL
  • Faster than MySQL 

Pros and Cons of MariaDB


  • MariaDB offers better query execution and is great for large data sets
  • Supports a larger open-source code
  • Switching to MariaDB is a simple task.
  • MariaDB supports more storage engines compared to MySQL.
  • Faster Speed, updates, and Performance
  • Offers Great stability with no DDL operations
  • It can offer support to more than 200,000 connections in the Enterprise Edition
  • Galera’s built-in technology reduces client latencies, and its execution is better in comparison to MySQL
  • Backward Compatible: This compatibility feature in MariaDB implies that the latest version of the database is compatible with previous versions
  • Distributed under the GPL license, you have complete access to Its features and free software


  • Switching from MariaDB to MySQL can be a daunting task
  • If you are exercising AWS, Amazon Aurora can be much faster than MariaDB
  • Not fully compatible with MySQL
  • Unstable cluster version of MariaDB
  • Few MySQL Enterprise Edition features are not present in MariaDB. This is why it offers alternative open-source plugins, such as MaxScale, for data masking
  • Expensive Support System
  • For technical support, users have to depend on the knowledge base and forums or have to pay

What is MySQL?

Launched in 1995, the Swedish company MySQL AB introduced the first open-source database, named MySQL. It is a relational database management system designed to store data organized.


Sun Microsystems took over MySQL in 2008, after which Oracle, the biggest competitor of MySQL, took over Sun Microsystems, due to which they got MySQL in 2009. Currently, Oracle manages MySQL.


MySQL stores data in tabular form, use the SQL language to query the database and exercises Primary and Foreign Keys to maintaining data integrity and consistency. It works great with PHP, Apache web servers, and Linux distributions.


Today, many variants of MySQL are available in the market, yet MySQL has managed to maintain its goodwill over the years. Released under the GNU GPL (General Public License) license, many high-profile organizations, such as GitHub, WeChat, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, NASA, YouTube, Spotify, and more use MySQL.

Key Features of MySQL

  • It is the first open-source database that keeps data organized
  • It is a Relational Database Management System written in C and C++
  • Supports Structured Query Language commands
  • Offers Scalability and Flexibility
  • Multiple users can access information from any place and time
  • Easy to embed with Data Warehouses
  • It provides robust transactional support
  • Support from various server operating systems
  • It has proprietary code only available for MySQL users
  • Helps Maintain data integrity and consistency by means of Primary and Foreign Keys
  • Enables host-based verification
  • Supports PHP and Apache web servers
  • Offers specialized cluster servers
  • Provides single authentication method for each user.

Pros and Cons of MySQL


  • It has a secure and fast database system
  • It can run on different platforms. MySQL can adapt to varied cases, such as eCommerce platforms
  • It has multiple storage engines
  • Excellent compatibility features
  • Offers seamless connectivity
  • It has in-built advanced data security features
  • It is easy to use, well-documented and customizable.
  • The design is best for the Web, Cloud, and Big Data
  • Users have to pay no extra charge for this excellent product.


  • Switching from MariaDB to MySQL is not easy
  • MySQL does not support PL/SQL which is why it is not compatible with the Oracle database
  • It is difficult to manage large-sized data in MySQL
  • Users are not allowed to use a few essential features for free
  • This RDBMS is hard to scale
  • Finds it difficult to manage stored procedures
  • Lacks good debugging tools
  • No support for SQL check constraints

MariaDB vs. MySQL: Head-to-Head Comparison

Both the databases are good but can dominate one another depending on the situation. Despite having a similar structure and functionality they are still different and unique. In the following section, we will differentiate MySQL and MariaDB so that you can choose the best one for usage. We will further elaborate on how they perform, compatibility, pricing, and more.

Performance and Speed

Performance in the database is measured by means of Database throughput. It refers to the volume of work done per unit by a database, that is, store data and retrieve records as per the user’s need. However, speed in a database refers to how quickly your system can execute a query and complete transactions more efficiently.


MariaDB offers better performance and speed on comparing with MySQL. MariaDB has 12 new storage engines that can execute 24% faster INSERT statements than a standard MySQL. MariaDB also has another in-built feature – thread pool that enhances the speed and helps support up to 200,000+ connections at a single point in time. Overall, MariaDB gets consistently updated in a safe manner and is two times faster than MySQL.

In terms of performance and speed, MySQL cannot compete with the improved MariaDB version as it has a slow processing speed and fewer storage engines.

Deployment & Clustering

Database deployment practice makes it easier for the client to use a database across multiple applications. Clustering, on the other hand, refers to a parent Database creating and combining multiple data copies for the child Database. Both the features are significant for a company to manage its employees more effectively.

MariaDB is a popular RDBMS written in C, C++, Bash, and Perl. It is easy to deploy MariaDB on numerous server operating systems, including Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Windows. For database clustering, one needs to activate the configuration parameters.


MySQL, another popular RDBMS is written in C and C++, can be deployed on a few additional operating systems, including OS X, Windows, Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD. MySQL Cluster is used in mission-critical applications under which a Master server creates multiple copies for slave servers.

Database Structure & Syntax

For smooth operation, it is crucial to have a proper format to execute code in any Database. Users will fail to access data and records if there is no database structure and syntax.


MariaDB, being a fork of MySQL, follows the same Database Structure, Indexes, and Syntax. In fact, every month, the MariaDB developers merge the codes of MariaDB with the MySQL code. Also, Indexes are maintained in the similar format of B+ Trees in both cases.

Database Connectors & Compatibility

As both the databases are RDBMS, it is essential to maintain the relationships between the tables. The database connectors are required to make it happen. Another essential feature – Compatibility refers to the ability that the applications can run on various platforms.


MariaDB comprises a wide range of Database connectors, including C, C++, Ruby, D, Python, JavaScript, ADO.NET, Java, etc, whereas MySQL comprises Delphi, Perl, C, C++, Node.JS, Python, Java, etc. In terms of compatibility, MySQL has no compatibility versions. However, MariaDB includes 10.2,10.3, and 10.4.


The support system in both the database is a bit different. It refers to a community where users can discuss and find a solution to any issue related to the database or file a complaint. For better understanding of the market and product growth it is vital to have a strong and vibrant developer community.

MariaDB offers 24X7 support engineers with their enterprise solutions to discuss issues related to both MariaDB and MySQL. However, MySQL offers only technical support. For more information or knowledge or support engineers, users need to pay.


Users have the authority to add advanced features to their database by paying an addition for the product. The pricing model of MariaDB is for enterprise development, including MariaDB Server, cloud service, and additional products and services. However, the MySQL pricing model has been divided into three sections – the MySQL Standard Edition, the MySQL Enterprise Edition, and the MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition suitable for any company. Under MySQL’s enterprise edition, users get access to security features and 24/7 support. However, under MariaDB paid enterprise edition users to get support, security features, implementation, and custom branding.

MariaDB vs. MySQL: The Verdict

Both MySQL and MariaDB carry compelling features and capabilities that outstand them from the rest available in the market today. This article would have surely given you the parameters to judge and make a final call. However, the choice must completely depend on the company’s resources and goals. MySQL has the Oracle Corporations back, years of experience, goodwill and is best for companies looking for a database that offers 24/7 enterprise-level support and constant updates. On the other hand, MariaDB is a leading and powerful RDBMS. It is a better alternative with numerous in-built features. If you are new and starting a fresh one, opt for MariaDB. Go through the pros and cons of each one before you invest your time and money.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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