MariaDB Vs MySQL – What Are The Main Differences

Comprehensive comparison Of MariaDB vs MySQL based on various factors such as platforms supported, performance, syntax, popularity, etc:

In today’s dynamic data world, there are a variety of databases and we can select the one that suits our requirements and we need the most. Therefore, it’s important to not just understand the databases but also understand the key differences between those.

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Understanding MariaDB And MySQL

We will go through the differences between MariaDB vs MySQL in this tutorial, which will help to make a well-informed decision. We will compare MySQL v8.0 with MariaDB v10.5.

We will also look at the disadvantages of MySQL and MariaDB.

MariaDB Vs MySQL

MySQL Features

The features are enlisted below:

  • MySQL is one of the first open-source databases.
  • It is an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System).
  • Data can be stored and accessed across multiple storage engines.
  • It supports SQL (Structured Query Language) commands and hence, there is no need to learn any language or commands.
  • It enables host-based verification (i.e. provides access privilege and encrypted password).
  • It supports many clients, command-line programs, utility programs, and administration tools (for example MySQL Workbench).

MariaDB Features

The features are enlisted below:

  • MariaDB is, also, an open-source database.
  • It is an RDBMS (Relational Database Management System).
  • It supports SQL (Structured Query Language) commands and hence, there is no need to learn any language or commands.
  • MariaDB was forked out of MySQL and hence there is a lot of similarity in the database structures and indexes between MariaDB and MySQL.
  • Because of the above reason, MariaDB offers backward compatibility if you plan to switch from MySQL to MariaDB.

Brief history of MySQL

MySQL is a Swedish company. The name of the parent company that created this DB is MySQL AB. The first version of the software was launched in May 1995. Currently, MySQL is managed by Oracle.

Brief history of MariaDB

Before Oracle took-over MySQL in January 2010, MariaDB was created by means of forking in October 2009. Hence, MariaDB uses the same code base as MySQL and is highly compatible. The parent company managing this DB is MariaDB Corporation AB and MariaDB Foundation.

MySQL Vs MariaDB: Key Differences

We will now discuss some features of both systems. Though there might be a large set of features that shall be common across both of these databases, therefore the final decision to narrow down on any one of these depends on the specific requirements.

#1) General Aspects of Comparison

Open SourceYesYes. MariaDB is forked out of MySQL. So, there are lot of similarities between these two databases.
Implementation LanguagesC, C++C, C++
DB Ranking
(Reference: link)
Ranked 2nd as of December, 2020.Ranked 12th as of December, 2020.
Cloud CompatibleYesYes

#2) Governance

Developed ByOwned by Oracle Corp. Offers free versions for study purpose and paid versions for commercial use.Owned and developed by MariaDB Foundation.
LicensingGNU General Public License
with multiple proprietary
agreements depending on
the version.

Distributed under General Public License (GPL).
Paid VersionsPaid versions available for commercial use only.Paid versions available for cloud based and commercial use.

#3) Platforms Supported

The wide-spread acceptability of a database on a variety of platforms is a mark of success. Here is the list of platforms that both the databases are acceptable on:

Platforms/Operating SystemsMySQLMariaDB
Windows YesYes
z/OS (IBM Mainframes)YesUsing Linux

#4) Programming Languages Supported

There are a variety of programming languages available in the world with each significant in its own way. The more and more languages supported by a database, the more are its chances to be used and expected by a larger developer community.

Programming LanguagesMySQLMariaDB
.NET NoYes
Perl DBYesYes

#5) Security and Access Methods

Strong security and access methods ensure the integrity of the database and the security of the data stored within. A secure database is highly reliable and preferred.

Let’s look at a few of the parameters that affect Security and Access Methods:

Native network encryptionYes. SSL based.Yes. SSL based.
Access Control SystemAccess Control List (ACL) are used.Access Control List (ACL) are used.
Brute Force ProtectionYesYes
Security CertificationYesYes
Access Methods
(Multiple common access
methods, which include

All Standards SupportedAll Standards Supported
OthersHost based verification.
Password encryption.
Highly Secure systems with lot of security features
Authentication: Yes. GSSAPI, SSPI, LDAP, SCRAM-SHA-256, Certificate and more.
Certificate based Multifactor authentication.
Native SSL support.

#6) Replication

Replication is all about copying or replicating the data from one server to another or from one server to multiple other servers based on the business requirement. The purpose of this activity could be anything from taking back-ups, distribution of a load of processing incoming transactions, to addressing legal compliances, etc.

We could also use it for data analysis, which involves the execution of long-running and expensive queries which could hamper the database performance and impact batch processing and other online query executions.

There are different ways to replicate data. Let us explore how is done for these systems:

Master-Slave ReplicationYesYes
Replication Process TypeAsynchronous (1-Way)Asynchronous (1-Way) or Semi-synchronous (2-Way)
Master-Master ReplicationYesYes

#7) Performance

One of the most significant features of a database is the performance of the database. Performance is the key criteria for deciding which database to go with. The performance of a database depends on the volume of data being processed, type of transaction being processed, the number of users connected to the database, concurrent transactions, etc.

PerformancePreferred for simple data transactions.
Works well in OLAP and OLTP systems.
Supports complex data transactions.
Supports OLAP and OLTP systems.
ScalingHard to scaleRelatively easy to scale up when compared to MySQL
DataNot suitable for large size data.Can be used for large sized data.

#8) Coding and Syntax

MariaDB and MySQL both support SQL to query the database and the tables. Hence, the coding standards are SQL-based standards in MariaDB and MySQL. As MariaDB is forked out of MySQL, you would find that MariaDB queries in almost all cases are exactly similar to MySQL queries.

Let us go through a few of the examples and comparisons of DML and DDL queries.

Case Sensitivity – Certain database accepts the query to be in UPPERCASE. If not, then the database won’t acknowledge the database objectsNoYes
Default Character Setslatin1latin1
Default Collation Setslatin1_swedish_cilatin1_swedish_ci
UFT-8 Syntax supportYesYes
IF and IF NULL supportYesYes
SELECT statementSELECT * FROM table1;SELECT * FROM table1;
INSERT statementINSERT INTO table1(col1, col2, col3) VALUES (‘val1’, ‘val2’, ‘val3’);INSERT INTO table1(col1, col2, col3) VALUES (‘val1’, ‘val2’, ‘val3’);
UPDATE statementUPDATE table1 SET col2 = ‘new_val2’ WHERE col1 = ‘val1’;UPDATE table1 SET col2 = ‘new_val2’ WHERE col1 = ‘val1’;
TRUNCT TableYes. Does not support CASCADE options.Yes. Provides Transaction-safe, CASCADE features.

#9) Community Support

For any open-source system to be successful, there should be a strong and vibrant developer community. The developer community helps in the early and swift resolution of issues and ensures early and bug-free future releases. This helps in continuous improvements to the systems.

These improvements are either made to an existing feature of the system or could be an introduction of a new feature as per the business requirements. The developer community with its innovative ways and commitment ensures that the systems remain the most advanced and most relevant along with all the latest features.

Help DocumentationMySQL Documentation

MariaDB Server Documentation
Community SupportLarge community working on maintaining and updating existing features.Active community working on maintaining and updating existing features.
Future ReleasesNext major release v8.0.23Next major release v10.6
Commercial SupportYesYes

#10) Other Technical Features

Storage Engines powering the databasesRelatively less options for storageHas support of 12 storage engines
Swift ProcessingSlower compared to MariaDBSwifter compared to MySQL
First Release19952009
Connection PoolCannot serve as many connections as MariaDBSupports over 200,000+ connections
Data MaskingNoYes
Dynamic ColumnsNoYes
MonitoringMySQL WorkbenchSQLyog
RoutingYesMariaDB MaxScale
Analytics CapabilitiesYesMariaDB ColumnStore
Secondary Database ModelNoDocument Store and Graph DBMS
ACID propertiesSupports all ACID propertiesSupports all ACID properties
Materialized ViewsNoNo
Page CompressionInnoDB Page CompressionInnoDB Page Compression
JSON SupportYesYes

#11) Popularity

As far as popularity is concerned, both the databases enjoy a huge following among the developer community. However, overall MySQL and MariaDB are ranked #2 and #12, respectively.

Over 4500+ companies have reported using MySQL. Following are few big names:

  • AT&T
  • Twitter
  • Amazon
  • Netflix
  • Google

Over 800+ companies have reported using MariaDB. Following are few big names:

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • Jetair
  • Ubuntu
  • DBS (Development Bank of Singapore)
  • Nokia

MySQL Vs MariaDB: Disadvantages

Disadvantages of MySQL

Following are a few disadvantages of MySQL DB:

  • MySQL is inefficient in supporting databases that are large in terms of data that is held.
  • Its performance suffers badly on scaling.
  • It is not good at handling stored procedures. The memory usage increases significantly on all those connection nodes that are executing stored procedures.
  • It does not provide good debugging tools.
  • It does not support SQL check constraints.

Disadvantages of MariaDB

Following are a few disadvantages of MariaDB:

  • MariaDB is yet not 100% compatible with MySQL.
  • Its caching is not efficient to process huge transactions.
  • Its support is expensive.
  • The cluster version of MariaDB is not stable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Is MariaDB same as MySQL?

Answer: MariaDB is forked out of MySQL. Hence, there are a lot of similarities in the architecture of the databases. Both the databases are RDBMS types of databases.

Q #2) What is MariaDB used for?

Answer: MariaDB is an open-source database of type RDBMS and is compatible with My-SQL for drop-in replacement of the MySQL database.

Q #3) Does Google use MariaDB?

Answer: Google is customizing the MariaDB v10 as per its needs.

Q #4) Does MariaDB replace MySQL?

Answer: MariaDB was designed to replace MySQL, but it has not replaced MySQL completely. Although it has provided a good option to MySQL.

Q #5) Can I have both MariaDB and MySQL onto my system?

Answer: Yes, one can have both the databases installed onto the system.

Q #6) Is MariaDB faster than MySQL?

Answer: Yes, MariaDB is swifter in processing transactions and can also handle over 200,000+ connections which over and above the capacity of MySQL.


In this MariaDB Vs MySQL tutorial, we have discussed a range of attributes of a database and used the same to compare MySQL against MariaDB. We can never say that MySQL is better than MariaDB or vice versa. However, based on your respective project requirement, one can conclude on which one to use. The above pros and cons would definitely help one make that decision.