Difference Between SQL Vs MySQL Vs SQL Server (with Examples)

Get Ready to Learn the Differences Between SQL Vs MySQL Vs SQL Server:

In this article, we will discuss the differences between SQL and MySQL.

Most of us will have a basic idea of SQL and MySQL, but in order to bring everyone on the same page, let us first understand what SQL is and what MySQL is.


SQL and MySQL Overview

SQL (also pronounced as the sequel) is an acronym for Structured Query Language. It is employed for writing programs and caters the purpose to manage data stored in the relational database management systems (RDBMS), or for processing data streams in real-time in relational data stream management system (RDSMS).

It is mainly useful for handling structured data where relations exist between various data entities and variables. SQL offers the advantage of retrieving multiple records through a single command. It also removes the requirement to specify how to reach a record.

As SQL is specific to interacting with relational databases, it falls in the category of DSL (Domain Specific Languages).

SQL is comprised of many types of statements which are classed as SQL sub-languages:

  • DQL: Data Query language.
  • DDL: Data Definition language (Contains commands to create and modify tasks).
  • DCL: Data Control Language (Contains access control related commands).
  • DML: Data Manipulation Language (Contains commands for insert, update and delete operations).

SqL query1

The above image is an example of a typical SQL query comprised of different clauses, expressions, predicates, and statement.

SQL is a 4th generation programming language which is multi-paradigm in nature. It is a declarative language and also contains procedural elements. It was initially released in the year 1986 and since then it became the most widely used database language. The latest version of SQL is SQL 2016.

SQL follows the ISO/IEC 9075 standard. However, in spite of the existence of the standards, SQL code is not completely portable among various database systems without adjustments.

Having had enough walkthrough over SQL, let us move our discussion towards understanding what MySQL is.

MySQL is an open source RDBMS developed by MySQL AB (now Oracle Corporation) in 1995. Its latest stable release of version 8.0.15 happened in February 2019.

MySQL is a combination of two words – ‘My’ and ‘SQL’. ‘My’ is the name of one of the co-founders Michael Widenius’s daughter and ‘SQL’ stands for Structured Query Language, as you all know.

MySQL offers dual licensing distribution. It is a free and open source software under GPLv2 and is also under many proprietary licenses. MySQL is written in C and C++ languages. It supports Linux, Solaris, macOS, Windows and FreeBSD operating systems.

Find() - MySQL command line

Given above is the screenshot of default MySQL command line.

MySQL is a component of LAMP(an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) web service stack. It is employed in many database-driven web apps like Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, etc. A lot of popular websites including Google, Facebook, Twitter also use MySQL.

Having had the basic understanding of SQL and MySQL, by now you must have understood the basic difference between the two – SQL is a query language whereas MySQL is a database management system.

Let’s see the differences between these two in detail.

Difference Between SQL and MySQL in Table Format

SQL is Structured Query Language used to manage the relational databases.MySQL is a relational database management system used to store, retrieve, modify and administer a database using SQL. We have a lot of database software available in the market. The popular ones include MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, Informix, etc.
It’s a query language.It’s database software. It uses SQL as a language to query the database.
Since this is a language, it does not get updates. SQL commands always remain the same.Since it’s a software, it gets frequent updates.

While considering a useful database management system, the two most famous options are MySQL and SQL Server. SQL is specifically a query language. Hence, instead of comparing SQL against MySQL, it would be better if we take our discussion ahead by comparing SQL Server against MySQL as both of these are relational database management systems.

SQL Server Vs MySQL

mysql-vs-mssql-featured-image_310_200_2_1 (1)

[image source]

 SQL ServerMySQL
WebsiteSQL ServerMySQL
LicensingIt is proprietary software.It is free and open source under GPL v2 license, as well as distributed as proprietary software.
DeveloperIt is developed by Microsoft.
Since SQL server is designed by Microsoft, it is also often called as MS SQL Server.
It is developed by Oracle Corporation.
Written inIt is written in c and C++It is also written in C and C++.
Supported PlatformsSupports Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows Server, and Microsoft Windows operating systems. It was originally developed for Windows exclusively. However, it is also available on Linux and Mac OSX via docker. But, SQL server on Linux or Mac OS X will definitely lack certain features.Smooth Support for Linux, Solaris, Windows, macOS and FreeBSD operating systems. Runs nearly on every popular OS.
Supported Programming LanguagesSupports multiple programming languages including Java, PHP, VB, Delphi, Go, Python, Ruby, C++, and R.It supports all programming languages supported by SQL Server. Furthermore, MySQL supports some additional languages including Perl, Scheme, Eiffel, Tcl, and Haskel. This makes MySQL very popular among developer communities.
SyntaxSQL server syntax is simple and easy to use.It is observed that MySQL syntax is a bit complex.
MultilingualAvailable in multiple languagesAvailable only in English language.
Storage EngineSingle storage Engine which is its native engine.Multiple storage Engine support. Also has an option for using a plug-in storage engine.
FilteringSupports row-based filtering which filters out the records on a database by database way. Gives the advantage of filtering multiple rows without considering a number of databases. Moreover, the filtered data is kept in a separate distribution database.Allows to filter out the tables, rows, and users in a variety of ways. However, MySQL supports filtering only on individual database basis. So, developers have to filter database tables individually by executing multiple queries.
BackupIn SQL Server, while backing up the data, the database is not blocked. This allows users to complete the backup and data restoration process completed in less time and efforts.Backup of the data can be taken by extricating all the data as SQL statements. During the backup process, the database is blocked. This prevents the instances of data corruption while migrating from one version of MySQL to another. However, increases the total time and efforts in the data restoration process because of running multiple SQL statements.
Option to stop Query ExecutionCan truncate the query execution without killing the whole process. It utilizes a transactional engine to hold the state consistent.Can’t cancel or kill the query execution without killing the entire process
SecurityBoth SQL Server and MySQL are built as binary collections. However, SQL server is more secure than MySQL. It does not let any process to access and manipulate the database files at run time. Users need to perform specific functions or manipulate files by executing an instance. This prevents hackers to access or manipulate the data directly.It allows developers to manipulate database files through binaries at the run time. It also allows other processes to access and manipulate the database files at the run time.
EditionsMicrosoft offers different editions of SQL Server 2017- Enterprise, Standard, Web, Express and Developer Editions. Each of these editions varies in terms of their features and purposes.Depending upon different business and technical needs, MySQL offers three different editions – MySQL standard edition, MySQL Enterprise Edition, and MySQL Cluster CGE. There is also a community edition of MySQL which is open source and free.
PricingThe developer edition and express edition of SQL Server 2017 are free of cost. Enterprise edition costs $14,256 per core. Standard – per core edition is priced at $3,717, Standard – Server + CAL costs $931. For the Web edition price, you need to contact your hosting partner.The standard edition annual subscription is USD 2,000; Enterprise edition costs USD 5,000 and cluster CGE edition costs $ 10,000.

Difference Between SQL and MySQL Commands

Under this topic, we will be discussing the differences between MS SQL Server commands and MySQL commands. There are some variations in the commonly used SQL code in both of these relational database management systems.

FactorsMS SQL ServerMySQL
Length functionSELECT LEN(data_string) FROM TableNameSELECT CHARACTER_LENGTH(data_string) FROM TableName
Concatenation functionSELECT (‘SQL’ + ‘SERVER’)SELECT CONCAT (‘My’, ‘SQL’)
Select top n records from a tableSELECT TOP 10 * FROM TableName WHERE id = 2SELECT * FROM TableName WHERE id = 2 LIMIT 10
Generate GUID (Global Unique Identifier)SELECT NEWID()SELECT UUID()
Get current date and timeSELECT GETDATE()SELECT NOW()
Case Sensitive Collation
In SQL Server, if the database is defined with case sensitive collation then the table names and column names become case sensitive.

Let us take an example here.
Suppose you have created a table in a case sensitive collation database :

Create table Engineers(SNo int, EngineerName Varchar(80), Salary money)
Observe the capital E in the table name.

Now if I run the following query:
Select * from engineers

Then it will give the following error:
Invalid object name ‘engineers’

You need to write the table name in the query in the same case as it was mentioned at the time of table creation:
Select * from Engineers
In MySQL, there is no case sensitiveness in identifier names.

MySQL vs SQL Server Performance

For high-end applications, both MYSQL and SQL Server offer a similar level of speed and performance. Both have the capacity to host several databases on one server. They make use of indexes to sort data and accelerate performance.

A few years ago, IJARCCE (International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer and Communication Engineering) published a comparative performance analysis done between MySQL and SQL Server.

Different SELECT, INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE queries were executed on both the RDBMS on Windows system and their execution time was recorded. It was concluded that SQL Server offers better performance than MySQL in terms of response time. Except for the INSERT queries, SQL Server consistently took lesser time for all the other test cases as against MySQL.

In terms of scaling up, MySQL showed two times increase in time when the number of rows went up. SQL Server also showed an increase in time, but it was not as much as MySQL. Thus, SQL Server scales better than MySQL.

The most significant difference between the two was seen in terms of SELECT statements. For 3000 rows SELECT statement, MySQL took almost 3 times of the time taken by the SQL Server.

You can have a look at the below comparison charts:

Averages for a non-conditional SELECT query

1.Averages for a non-conditional SELECT query1

Averages for SELECT query having an ORDER clause on a non-indexed field

2.Averages for SELECT query having an ORDER clause on a non-indexed field

Averages for SELECT query with a JOIN

3.Averages for SELECT query with a JOIN1

Averages for SELECT query having a JOIN and an ORDER clause on a non-indexed field

4.Averages for SELECT query having a JOIN and an ORDER clause on a non-indexed field

Averages for 100 INSERT queries

5.Averages for 100 INSERT queries

Averages for conditional DELETE query

6.Averages for conditional DELETE query

Averages for non-conditional DELETE query

7.Averages for non-conditional DELETE query

Averages for conditional UPDATE query

8.Averages for conditional UPDATE query

Averages for non-conditional UPDATE query

9.Averages for non-conditional UPDATE query

[image source]

Which is Better – MySQL or SQL Server?

While thinking about which one is better out of MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, it will depend upon your use cases, budget and perspective. Both are effective in organizing your data and they make it readily accessible through a user interface.

Both the technologies work on the concept of storing data as per schema (table storage). MySQL is inclined more towards selecting the data to facilitate data display, update and save the data again. It is a bit weaker than SQL Server in terms of data insertion and deletion.

However, it’s a great choice for data storage and referencing data. Also, MySQL is not so much rich in terms of development functions and capabilities.

Talking about the security features, both the technologies are EC2 complaint. But, Microsoft SQL server has an edge in offering overall security features. In SQL Server, there is a tool called Baseline Security analyzer that aids administrators to make sure that SQL server installation is up to date. In MySQL, there is no such security analyzer.

Considering the support, the respective vendors for both the systems provide support in paid as well as free form. As MYSQL is now owned by Oracle, it offers support through technical assistance and Virtual MySQL DBA assistant.

Then again, Microsoft provides solid assistance over its SQL database and cloud storage. It offers a free assistant called SSMA (SQL Server Migration Assistant) which makes it simple and easy to migrate the data from other DBMS like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft Access and Sybase to SQL Server.

Moreover, MS SQL Server offers ETL functionality which is not there in MySQL. Overall, as per my perspective, SQL server is better than MySQL, but it is more expensive because of its amazing features.

If you are a large enterprise with massive data and concerned about speed, security and power, and most importantly if you have enough budget, then I would suggest going with SQL Server. For individual users and small to medium-sized companies where the amount of data and work required is not that massive, you can go with MySQL.

Again, Microsoft offers SQL server express to cater to the needs of a small organization. The express edition is also free. Thus, SQL server can serve all type of needs. But, MySQL can handle only up to medium level enterprise and where you need to optimize expenditure.

Hence, the choice will depend upon your requirements.

Most Common FAQs

Now we will address some common questions that people have about SQL vs MySQL.

Q #1) Is MySQL the same as SQL Server?

Answer: From this article, you must have already got the answer to this. No, MySQL is not the same as SQL server. Both of these are relational database management systems offered by different vendors. They differ in terms of use cases, licensing, pricing, features, pros, cons, etc.

MySQL is offered through Oracle and SQL Server is offered through Microsoft corporation.

Q #2) What is the difference between SQL and MS SQL?

Answer: The main difference between SQL and MS SQL is that SQL is a query language that is used in relation databases whereas MS SQL Server is itself a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft.

A query language is basically used for retrieval and modification of information stored in databases. A DBMS is a software that is used to manage the database.

Basically, it’s a collection of programs, features, and capabilities that allow you to interact with the database so as to perform tasks related to data definition, data updating, data retrieval, and user administration. A RDBMS is a database management system with row-based table structure.

Most of the commercial RDBMS use SQL to interact with the database.

Q #3) Can SQL Server and MySQL coexist?

Answer: Yes, SQL Server and MySQL can coexist as they are totally separate entities. Both are irrelevant to each other and communicate on different ports. The default port for MySQL is 3306 and the default ports for SQL Server are 1433 & 1434. Thus, there would be no issues for running both of them on the same machine.

The only thing at which you will have to pay attention would be performance issues while running both. It is indeed crucial to define a detailed IO profile and resource usage per database server.

However, as MS SQL works best on the windows server, I would suggest that if you are running both MS SQL and MySQL on the same server, then use Windows Server.

Another recommendation (in case if you want to use both MySQL and SQL Server) is that you can virtualize MySQL instead of adding it to another server, particularly if it’s a production server and this, in turn, makes troubleshooting and removal very easy.

Q #4) Is MySQL faster than SQL Server?

Answer: It depends upon which type of task you are performing and what your workload is. In this article, we have already seen in the performance comparison section that SQL Server worked faster than MySQL for DELETE, UPDATE, and SELECT queries. For the INSERT operations, MySQL worked faster than SQL Server.

For transaction processing, MySQL is fast. With the help of its InnoDB storage engine, MySQL can handle high concurrency for transactions. However, MySQL struggles with reporting workloads, mainly when there are queries that need to join large tables.

For the mixed type of workloads, Microsoft SQL Server would be a better choice as it can outdo in a few areas where MySQL has certain limitations.

Q #5) What is the difference between Oracle SQL and MySQL?

Answer: Both Oracle SQL and MySQL are owned by the same company i.e. Oracle corporation. Both are the most popularly used database management systems in today’s market. However, there are many significant differences between Oracle and MySQL.

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS), that supports only relational data models (data stored in the form of tables having rows & columns and use primary keys & foreign keys to establish a relationship with each other) and it is open-source too.

On the other hand, Oracle is a multi-model database having just one, integrated backend. It has the capability to support many types of data models including document, graph, relational and key-value.

Some organizations using MySQL include Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, NASA, GitHub, YouTube, etc.

List of organizations using Oracle includes Coca-Cola, Bauerfeind AG, CAIRN India, MTU Aero Engines.

There are several other differences as well between Oracle and MySQL. This includes the differences in terms of indexing, queries, deployment, replication, security, data migration, community support, maintenance, etc.

Oracle Corporation also provides detailed official documentation regarding the differences between MySQL and Oracle. You can click here to view the same.


In this article about SQL vs MySQL, we saw the differences between SQL and MySQL. SQL is a query language for relational databases whereas MySQL is a popular relational database management system.

Just like MySQL, another widely used RDBMS is SQL Server. We further switched our discussion towards comparing MySQL and SQL Server in detail. Both RDBMSes have many differences in terms of their licensing, features, performance, pricing, use cases, etc.

While discussing which one is better among these two, I would suggest SQL Server (though it is costlier than MySQL), but again the selection would depend upon your requirements and budget. Hence, choose carefully after analyzing your needs.

Hope it was a useful read for you to clear your doubts and queries regarding SQL vs MySQL or SQL Server vs MySQL.