PostgreSQL VS MySQL – What Are The Main Differences

A detailed comparison between PostgreSQL vs MySQL based on parameters like performance, supported platforms, governance, security, etc:

In this tutorial, we will discuss in detail the two major RDBMS systems: PostgreSQL and MySQL. These systems are widely preferred for the development of various types of applications.

We will be covering a list of features for each of them to compare them so that it can help you in selecting the correct RDBMS system as per your need.

There is a good amount of community support available for both of the systems which make them preferred databases.

=> Click here for the complete MySQL tutorial series

Overview: PostgreSQL And MySQL


What Is PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an open-source system and is believed to be the most SQL compliant system. It was developed as an open-source project and dates back more than 30 years. It is well known for its extensibility and compliance with different standards. It is preferred for performing complex operations.

Due to the underlying technology on which it is built, it is also preferred for high-volume data operations. It is also in compliance with ACID properties (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability). The muti-version concurrency control method used by PostgreSQL enables it to perform many concurrent writes and read transactions efficiently.

The capability of handling simultaneous multiple tasks with great efficiency has made it a preferred choice of many business giants such as Uber, Netflix, Instagram, Reddit, Spotify, etc. The complete list of businesses that uses PostgreSQL is mentioned here.

It is supported by an active and strong developer community. Also, there are many third-party tools and libraries available for PostgreSQL that makes working with it simpler. PostgreSQL is maintained by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.

What Is MySQL

Just like PostgreSQL, MySQL is also an open-source database platform, however, MySQL is a large-scale database, a widely used one, and also the most trusted one. MySQL is backed by Oracle and has good support for third-party tools (a few of the tools which can be thought of are MySQL Workbench, dbForge Studio, etc.).

This support of third-party GUI tools makes it easy to use. Anybody new to this database can refer to the vast number of tutorials and resources to start learning and using it. There are some good security features, along with platform independence, compliance to ACID principles, high flexibility, great support, and ease of access which also makes it a preferred choice for web applications.

MySQL is maintained by Oracle Corporation. It is also used by many well-known companies across various industries to support their database needs. A few of them are 3M, Apple, Boeing, Dell, Dropbox, Cisco Systems, Broadcom, eBay, FedEx, Facebook, etc. The complete list of businesses using MySQL can be found here.

Key Differences: PostgreSQL Vs MySQL

We will now discuss some of the features of both systems. Though there might be a large set of features that shall be common across both of them, it finally is up to the specific requirements which shall help in narrowing down a particular choice.

#1) General

Let us take a look at some of the generic parameters of comparison.

Open SourceYes. It is an open source product.Yes. It is an open source project. It is ORDBMS(Object-relational programming language) which serves as a bridge between object-oriented programming and procedural/relational programming.
Preferred for Speed and Ease of usability. It is also the world’s most popular open source RDBMSDevelopers are attracted towards MySQL because of its speed and ease of usability.Advanced features. It is also the world’s most advanced open source RDBMS.Developers with experience of working with SQL or Oracle prefer PostgreSQL.
Implementation Language (Programming language)C/C++C
Densely featuredLess featured than PostgreSQLYes
Preferred UsageIt is preferred for simple operations and transactions.It is preferred for large and complex operations.
Reliability for large and complex operationsLower than PostgreSQLHigh
DB ranking
(Ref. Link)
Higher than PostgreSQLLower than MySQL
Cloud CompatibleYesYes
Cloud Support AvailableYesYes

#2) Governance

The future of any product, tool, or program is also dependent on its governance model. Each type of governance model has unique benefits that may make a system more powerful.

Developed byNow owned by Oracle Corp. and has to offer various paid versions for commercial usePostgreSQL Global Development group
LicensingGNU General Public License with multiple proprietary agreements depending on the version.PostgreSQL License (similar to MIT-style license)
Options of Paid versions availableYes. Different types of paid versions are available for commercial use.No

#3) Compliance With SQL Standards

Each RDBMS uses SQL for its use with certain variations in it to differentiate itself from any other system. The SQL standard compliance is a set of regulations that must be adhered to by a database while implementing the SQL standards. The complete set of SQL standards are listed and can be found here.

SQL ConformityPartial Complaint. It does not implement the SQL Standard fully. It used to ignore the CHECK CONSTRAINT, which is now fixed in the recent version.Highest. Conformity to 150+ SQL standards along with conformity to other features either in partial mode or with a number of optional features.

#4) Platforms Supported

The success of any system depends on the wide variety of platforms/operating systems that it can support. Below is the list of Operating Systems/Platforms which are supported by the databases.

Platform/Operation System DetailsMySQLPostgreSQL
Windows (It is a Microsoft Product)YesYes
MacOS (It was developed by Apple Inc.)YesYes
Linux (Open Source Unix-Like Operation System)YesYes
BSD (Open source operating system with descendants such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, or DragonFly BSD)YesYes
UNIX (Open source operating system.)YesYes
AmigaOS (It is a single-user operating system based on a preemptive multitasking kernel)YesUsing MorphOS(an Amiga OS like operating system)
z/OS (Operating system produced by IBM for IBM Mainframes)YesUsing Linux
iOS (Mobile operating system. Developed by Apple Inc.)-No
Android (Mobile operating system. Currently owned by Google)YesYes
OpenVMS (a multi-user, multiprocessing virtual memory-based operating system (OS))NoNo
Solaris (A Unix based operating system. Currently owned by Oracle)YesYes
HP-UX OS (A Unix based operating system developed by the tech giant Hewlett-Packard)NoYes

#5) Programming Languages Supported

There are various programming languages that are supported by both the RDBMS. The more the languages database support, there are high chances that it shall be preferred by the developers working on these languages. The list of supported programming languages is as mentioned below. 

Programming LanguageMySQLPostgreSQL

#6) Security And Access Methods

The security measures implemented in any database should be strong to protect the system from threats and different types of breach attacks. It also impacts its reliability and preferentiality. It is one of the topmost characteristics that should be taken into consideration while selecting a database for your needs.

Let us take a look at how the security measures are implemented for both the systems.

Native network encryptionYes. SSL basedYes. SSL Based
Access control systemAccess Control Lists (ACL) are usedYes. Robust system
Brute force protectionNoYes
OthersHost-based verification.Password encryption.Highly secure system with a lot of security features.Authentication: Yes. GSSAPI, SSPI, LDAP, SCRAM-SHA-256, Certificate, and more.Certificate based Multifactor authentication Native SSL support.
Security CertificationYesYes
Access Methods (Multiple common access methods, which include JDBC, ODBC, and ADO.NET).All Standards supportedAll Standards supported

#7) Replication

Replications mean copying or replicating the data from one server to another. It can be either from one server to another or from one server to multiple servers depending on the business need.

This can be done for various reasons such as backup creation, load distribution, quick retrieval, legal compliances, data analysis which might execute long-running and expensive queries and thus hampering the database performance, batch job execution, etc.

There are different ways to do replication. Let us explore how it is done for these systems.

Master-Slave Replication (One node is master and it controls the data storage by the slave/other nodes)Yes. Can PerformYes. Can perform
Replication Process TypeAsynchronous (1-way)Synchronous (2-safe)
Master-Master Replication (each node is a master and has access to update the data)Yes. It uses Master-Master replication.No. Can be implemented using third party extensions.

#8) Performance

The good performance of a database is crucial for the success of any application that uses it. The performance of each database shall vary based on the type of transactions, the volume of data, volume of users, concurrent transactions, etc. Thus, it is very much important to know your performance parameters before finalizing the database.

PerformancePreferred for simple data transactions.

Great read speed.

Works well in OLAP and OLTP systems.
Ability to perform complex transactions and efficient at executing complex queries.

Great read/write speeds

Supports a number of performance enhancers.

#9) Coding And Syntax

Usually, coding standards followed by the database systems are SQL-based however as we have discussed above, each system shall have a variation of it. Below are some of the key differences in terms of coding in each system.

PostgreSQL queries are in almost all cases and are exactly similar to MySQL queries. Let us go through a few of the examples and comparisons of a SELECT query, an INSERT query, and an UPDATE query. We will use a reference to the “Bank” table to check out the differences.

Case Sensitivity: A need to capitalize on the strings as they appear in the database. If this is not done, then the query shall fail and it shall not fetch the desired results.NoYes
Default Character Sets and StringsFor some versions, it is necessary to convert the character sets and strings to UTF-8It is not necessary to convert the character sets and strings to UTF-8
UTF-8 Syntax allowedYesNo
IF and IFNULL supportYes. IF and IFNULL statements can be used.No. IF and IFNULL statements don’t work. Alternate is to use CASE
Select Query: Selecting records from the Bank tableSELECT * FROM Bank;SELECT * FROM Bank
Insert Query: Inserting records into Bank table.INSERTINTO Bank (bank_id,bank_name,status)
('bnk01','main bank','A');
INSERTINTO Bank (bank_id,bank_name,status)
('bnk01','main bank','A');
Update Query: Updating records in the Bank table.UPDATE Bank
SET bank_name= "new_main bank"
WHERE bank_id = “bnk01”;
SET bank_name= "new_main bank"
WHERE bank_id = “bnk01”;

#10) Community Support

For any open-source system, the presence and contribution of community support are very much significant. It is because of these contributions that there can be continuous improvements in the systems. The improvements can be to the existing features of the system or maybe an addition of the new features as per the current trends or market needs.

The developer community with its inventive ways and commitment ensures that the systems remain the most advanced along with all the latest features.

Help Documentation AvailableYesYes
Help Documentation LinkMySQLHelp Documentation LinkPostgreSQLHelp Documentation Link
Community support AvailableYes. Large community. Primary focus on maintaining existing features.Yes. Active and strong community. Primary focus is on maintaining existing features as well as inventing new ones to ensure PostgreSQL remains the most advanced database.
New feature releaseSeldomFrequently
Commerical Support availableYesYes. There are certain list of companies offering commercial support.

#11) Other Technical Features

Storage EngineSet of storage engines. It has a multi-layer structure.Storage engines: (1) MyISAM
(2) InnoDB
It is a unified database server with a single storage engine.
Advance data type supportNoYes. It supports advance data type like multi-dimensional arrays, user-defined types, etc.
ACID properties compliantSome versions are compliant.Yes
GUI toolMySQL WorkbenchPgAdmin
Support for “Full text” searchYesYes
Ability to DROP a temp tableYesNo
DROP Dependent objects during DROP TABLENo. Does not use CASCADE optionYes. Using CASCADE option
TRUNCATE TABLEYes. No CASCADE options.No transaction-safe option. Once deleted, no rollbackYes. With features like transaction-safe, CONTINUE IDENTITY,RESTART IDENTITY, CASCADE etc.
Data typesstandard types of SQLSupports user defined types along with advanced types e.g. “array"
Identity ColumnNoYes
Un-signed integerYesNo
Support for Data type: IP AddressNoYes
Boolean typeUse TINYINT (1) internally for BooleanYes
Analytic functionsNoYes
Can set the Column default value?Yes. It should be a constant. Or the column type should be DATETIME or CURRENT_TIMESTAMP for TIMESTAMPYes. It supports constants. It also supports function call
Support for Materialized viewsNoYes
Inheritance of Table supported?NoYes
Index Type “Partial” supported?NoYes
Indexing Type “Bitmap” supported?NoYes
Index Type “Expression” supported?NoYes
Covering indexes(It allows the retrieval of data by just scanning the index only. There is no need to scan the table data. Very helpful in case of a large number of rows/millions)YesYes
TriggersLimited to certain commandsCan be fired on most commands.
For commands that globally affects the database e.g. tablespaces and roles, the trigger shall not work.
PartitioningBasic partitioning types such as RANGE, HASH, LIST, KEY supported. To achieve a composite partitioning, a combination of RANGE or LIST with HASH or KEY sub partitions can be usedLIST, RANGE
Connection Scalability (i.e. how a new connection is considered as)An OS ThreadAn OS process
ArchitectureSingle ProcessMulti process
ConcurrencyMultithreadFork (2)
Table structureClustered IndexHeap
CHECK constraintYes (Recently added. Earlier, MySQL ignored the CHECK constraint)Yes
Page compressionTransparentTOAST
Garbage CollectionPurge ThreadsAuto-Vaccuum process
Common Table Expression (CTE)Yes (Recently added)Yes
Declarative PartitioningYesYes (Recently added)
JSON SupportYes (Recently added)Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) What is the advantage of PostgreSQL over MySQL?

Answer: PostgreSQL is well known for its extensibility and compliance with different standards. It is preferred for performing complex operations.

Q #2) What is the advantage of MySQL over PostgreSQL?

Answer: MySQL is a large-scale database, a widely used one, and also the most trusted one.

Q #3) Does PostgreSQL have any limit for database size?

Answer: No, there is no limit to the maximum size that a database can have in PostgreSQL. It is unlimited.

Q #4) Is PostgreSQL free to use?

Answer: Yes, PostgreSQL is free to use. The license is similar to an MIT-style license. It is free even for commercial purposes.

Q #5) Is MySQL free to use?

Answer: The license of MySQL is GNU – General Public License with multiple proprietary agreements depending on the version. Hence there are certain paid versions available for commercial use

Q #6) In terms of DB Ranking, which is better? PostgreSQL or MySQL.

Answer: MySQL ranks higher compared to PostgreSQL.

Q #7) Is PostgreSQL more compliant to SQL Conformity than MySQL?

Answer: Yes. PostgreSQL complies with 150+ SQL standards i.e. highest as compared to MySQL. Whereas, MySQL is only a Partial Complaint.


Thus, we have discussed many features of both the RDBMS systems. As we can see that along with the differences as new versions come in, many similarities are coming up. Both of the systems have their pros and cons and at last, it depends on the specific requirements.

We hope that this article PostgreSQL vs MySQL has helped you understand the difference between both systems along with the advantages that they have over each other.

Further reading =>> MySQL Vs MariaDB