PostgreSQL vs MySQL – Which is Better? (Pros and Cons)

PostgreSQL vs MySQL – Which is Better? (Pros and Cons).  Nowadays, various databases are available in the market. PostgreSQL and MySQL are two of the most commonly used databases among them. Users are often confused about choosing the best database to cater to their requirements and when to use what?  Therefore, let’s first discuss the pros and cons of each database management system to have a clear understanding of what to choose.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is one of the widely used object relational database management systems. It is an open source database management system that offers more advanced and important features. PostgreSQL is written in C language and supports almost all operating systems. It is also known as an Enterprise class relational database system. This DBMS is quite popular among the community due to its easy installation and setup as well as support for both SQL and NoSQL. 

PgAdmin is used as the open-source graphical management tool for PostgreSQL 

Pros of PostgreSQL server

  • High Availability : 
    • PostgreSQL Server has an MVC architectural design that supports a large number of concurrent users to work with multi databases. It also offers load balancing and replication flexibility. PostgreSQL ensures availability and eliminates system stalling by always keeping a server available in case any primary server fails. It also utilizes disk failover and data partitioning for this purpose. 
  • Server Failure recovery : 
    • PostgreSQL uses an automatic failover manager for failure detection of databases. Furthermore, it automatically alerts system administrators in case of a database server failure.
  • Performance :
    • Additional tools support optimizing and monitoring the performance of databases. Higher performance is proven with OLTP (online transaction processing) and OLAP ( online analytical processing). There cannot be any deadlocks as PostgreSQL has MVCC (multi-version concurrency control)  to support simultaneous processing and facilitate a higher number of transactions. It helps for continuous performance without stalling databases.
  • Cross-platform:
    • PostgreSQL supports almost all major and famous operating systems, including Windows Server 2000-2022 and newer versions, Mac OS X, Unix, UnixWare, IRIX, Tru64, Solaris, and FreeBSD Open-source software.
  • Data Security : 
    • PostgreSQL encrypts data in different levels and allows using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates when data is transferred via the web or public networks. Thus, it ensures the safety of data and protects it from disclosing to unauthorized parties. PostgreSQL also comes with server level authentication methods such as LDAP and PAM.
  • Community support for accelerated improvements and troubleshooting.
  • Easy and simple installation
  • Widely used alternatives for databases like SQL Server, DB2, and Oracle
  • Easy maintenance and fewer administration needs
  • Compliance with ACID techniques (Ex: Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability.)
  • Multiple language support ( Python, Java, Perl, C, C++  PHP, Tcl, Net, Delphi, JavaScript (Node.js), etc.).
  • Supports XML and JSON.
  • Supports Primary Keys, Secondary Keys, Explicit Locks, Advisory Locks, UNIQUE,  NOT NULL, and Exclusion Constraints.
  • Extensive index types such as Generalized Search Tree (GiST), Space Partitioned GiST,  B-tree, hash, Generalized Inverted Index (GIN), and Block Range Index (BRIN).
  • High-performance reporting.

Cons of PostgreSQL Server

  • High learning curve.
  • Not having the upgrade facility in major releases.
  • The need for double storage when upgrading.
  • Less support for many open source apps.
  • Complex querying with JSON.
  • Horizontal scaling can be complex.
  • Not recommended for large enterprise applications due to slow performance.
  • Does not support data migration from other RDBMS to PostgreSQL
  • Difficulty in performing clustering and managing distributed processes
  • Primary nodes such as PostgreSQL Node and PostgreSQL Replica Node can fail
  • Possibility of Data Corruption and replication failures
  • Not having a built-in task scheduler. If you need one, you have to use external tools such as Task Scheduler and pgAgent.
  • Case sensitivity
  • Not having native geographic data types, hence need to use spatial database extenders such as PostGIS to support geographic objects 

PostgreSQL vs MySQL?

Whether its PostgreSQL vs MySQL, we shall look at MySQL Server next.

What is MySQL?

When answering the question whether to choose PostgreSQL vs. MySQL, the next solution to discuss is MySQL. Is the most popular database management system on the market. It is a relational database management system introduced in 1995. MySQL is known as a fast and reliable solution that represents databases as a collection of relations. This model is interpreted as tables with rows and columns. Moreover, MySQL has a client-server architecture. The client sends the request to the MySQL server, and the server is responsible for sending the required output. MySQL is based on C and C++, and it is highly used in industrial applications where confidential and sensitive data is used. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Wikipedia are some companies that use MySQL to store their information.

MySQL Workbench is the visual database design tool that can be used for the development, administration, design, and maintenance of the MySQL database systems

Pros of MySQL Server

  • Data Security.
    • MySQL uses password protection and an encrypted data storage mechanism. Hence, there is no need to worry about storing sensitive details like transaction details and personal information with MySQL. It is known as one of the most reliable and secured database management systems.
  • High Performance
    • MySQL is designed to cater to the high demand and availability of applications with better speed and memory caching processes. It also has a storage engine framework that is used to provide users with administrative features in their databases.
  • 24/7  Uptime
    • MySQL comes with various high availability solutions such as specialized cluster servers and master/slave configuration support. Therefore, it provides 24/7 service, ensuring availability around the clock.
  • Comprehensive Transactional Supports
    • Being a robust transactional database engine, MySQL provides multiple features such as isolated, complete atomic, and multi version transaction support.
  • Secure and Seamless communication
    • MySQL supports multiple communication protocols such as Named pipes and socket protocols like TCP/IP and UNIX Sockets
  • Platform independent and supports any operating system.
  • Offering additional features like MySQL Enterprise Backup, MySQL document store, and Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) (most of these features are available in the enterprise version).
  • Flexibility in using IoT ad Embossed systems as it has Embedded multi threaded libraries.
  • As an open source tool, it has been developed continuously over the years, making maintenance, debugging, and usage easier.
  • MySQL is compliant with the ANSI SQL standard.
  • Provides log and trigger based SSL replication.
  • Object-oriented behaviour.

Cons of MySQL Server

  • Not recommended for handling bulky databases as there is less support for read write operations.
  • System catalogue transactions are not ACID compliant.
  • System catalogue can be corrupted due to server crashes.
  • Not supporting user roles and difficulty in managing multiple users.
  • Tables that are being used or subjected to triggers are pre locked, making the concurrent read/ write features either slow or impossible.
  • Managing databases, handling transactions, and auditing are not efficient enough. Hence it is not recommended for large databases with frequent updates.
  • Data in MySQL RDBMS can sometimes be corrupted.
  • Searching with full texts will not be successful.
  • The development of this tool can be lagged as it is not community driven.
  • Highly dependable on third party addons, as there are some missing built in features.
  • Not completely compliant with SQL (Standard Query Language)
  • It is simply a relational database management system (RDBMS) and not an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS).
  • Not ACID compliant.
  • Not supporting MVCC architecture.

PostgreSQL vs MySQL – Which is Better? Conclusion

After a thorough analysis for both relational database management system solutions, it is clear that we cannot recommend PostgreSQL for large enterprise applications. PostgreSQL will be a better fit if you need to purchase a product with a free license. Furthermore, if you need a DBMS with more advanced features and also need to handle large databases with complex queueing, then again PostgreSQL will be suitable. However, MySQL is the best choice if you are looking for a safer, fast, reliable, and scalable option with a shorter learning curve. After all, you are the one who knows more details about your project. So the choice is up to you, whilst keeping in mind what we discussed here.

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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