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What is PostgreSQL? How is it different from MySQL?



Introduction to PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an advanced Object-Relational Database Management System. It is one of the most popular and widely used DBMS as it offers NoSQL support and complies with the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) properties. It allows you to perform basic DBMS operations like storing, processing, and retrieving your data safely with an efficient performance. Moreover, PostgreSQL is highly extensible i.e. it also allows you to define Index Types, Data Types, and Functional Languages over basic DBMS operations.

Key Features of PostgreSQL

Listed below are the key features of PostgreSQL:

  • Free to Download: PostgreSQL is an Open-Source Object-Relational Database Management System. Therefore, anyone can download it from its official website without paying a dime.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: PostgreSQL is compatible with all operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, UNIX, etc.
  • Easily Customizable: You can customize PostgreSQL as per your requirements. Some customization includes adding/subtracting plugins to make the Database Management System more adaptable to your business model.
  • Huge Community: PostgreSQL has a dedicated community where you can take the help of professionals for your problems. It also supports private and 3rd-party services. The community is highly supportive and keeps sharing PostgreSQL updates via the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.
  • Compatible with Multiple Programming Languages: PostgreSQL supports multiple programming languages like Python, Ruby, C/C++, etc.

Introduction to MySQL

MySQL is an Open-Source Relational Database Management System developed by Oracle. According to a survey by Jet Brains, 60% of people prefer MySQL over any other Database Management System (DBMS). MySQL supports features like Master-Slave Replication where MySQL allows you to replicate your data across more than one server simultaneously.

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Although widely used by developers, it still lacks the extensive features provided by PostgreSQL. It is the central component of LAMP (Linux OS, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL RDBMS, and PHP), which is a software stack model and is majorly used in Websites and Web Applications.

Differences between PostgreSQL and MySQL


ACID Compliance

The major differences between PostgreSQL vs MySQL: PostgreSQL is fully ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) compliant irrespective of how you are using it. On the other hand, MySQL does comply with ACID properties. However, it follows ACID properties only when you are using MySQL with NDB and InnoDB Cluster Storage engines.



Speed is a highly relative parameter. The speed/performance of a Database Management System majorly depends on how and for what purpose you are utilizing it. PostgreSQL is generally faster to deal with complicated queries (operating on massive datasets) and read-write operations. While on the other hand, MySQL is faster when it comes to read-only operations.

According to an experiment performed by Windows Skills, it has been found that MySQL is approximately 2x faster than PostgreSQL. They took a database size of 80MB for each test (5,000 – 30,000 rows/table) and 1 to 20 concurrent users for the experiment. However, according to a different experiment performed by Benchw, it has been found that PostgreSQL is faster than MySQL. Therefore, the speed of a DBMS highly depends on its utilization and situation.



As the name suggests, Replication is the process of replicating the data from one server to another or from one server to multiple servers, based on your business requirements. PostgreSQL supports Master-Slave Replication where a Master Node controls the data storage by other Nodes (Slave Nodes). There can be only one Master Node. But, it does not support Master-Master Replication where each Node is a Master and has access to update the data.

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On the other hand, MySQL supports both Master-Slave and Master-Master Replication. It uses the Asynchronous Data Transfer process to replicate data to other servers. While PostgreSQL uses Synchronous Data Transfer process for Data Replication.


Data Indexing

Data Indexing is a Data Structure concept that converts an unordered table into an ordered table. This maximizes the performance of SQL Queries in a DBMS while dealing with huge datasets. Both PostgreSQL and MySQL offer different Data Indexing options.

PostgreSQL Index Types include:

  • Hash and B-Tree indexes.
  • Partial indexes – organize data from a selected part of the table.
  • Expression indexes – create an index from expression functions rather than column values.

MySQL Index Types include:

  • Hash, B-Tree, and R-Tree indexes.
  • FULLTEXT indexes for inverted lists.


Coding Constraints

Following are the coding differences between PostgreSQL and MySQL:

  • Unlike MySQL, PostgreSQL is case-sensitive.
  • While working with PostgreSQL, you do not need to convert character sets and strings to UTF-8. But in the case of MySQL, there are still certain versions where you need to convert character sets and strings to UTF-8.
  • PostgreSQL does not support IF and IFNULL statements. You can use CASE statements as an alternative. While on the other hand, MySQL supports IF and IFNULL statements.



Although both PostgreSQL and MySQL are Open-Source software available for free of cost, there are certain plans of MySQL where you need to pay for using the extra features:

  • MySQL Cluster Carrier Edition: $10,000
  • MySQL Enterprise Edition: $5,000
  • MySQL Standard Edition: $2,000


This blog talks about a few of the primary differences between PostgreSQL and MySQL in detail. It also gives a brief overview of the introduction of the two databases.

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