SQLite vs MySQL vs PostgreSQL – The Search For The “Best” Relational Database Management System

sqlite-vs-mysql-vs-postgresql

Relational data structures that organize data in tables of rows and columns form the basis of how most online services we use function. Although there are other data models, relational database management systems remain the global standard for storing and managing data.

So in this article, we’re going to dive deep and compare the three most widely-known and adopted relational database management systems (RDBMSs) – MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL – as well as the situations in which each makes the most sense…

Some Background About Database Management Systems

Before we begin, here’s some important context on databases and database management systems you should know…

What Is a Database Management System?

As the name suggests, databases are collections of information  — or data  — that have been logically modeled. 

The computer programs that interact with databases are called database management systems, or DBMSs.

The purpose of a DBMS is to enable its user to execute database management related tasks, such as: 
writing data
running queries
controlling database access, and so on. 

What Is The Difference Between A “Database” And “Database Management System”?

DBMSs are commonly referred to as databases. While this simplifies everyday conversation on the subject, it is not completely accurate  — these two terms are not synonyms. 

On the other hand, database is somewhat of a generic term for any set of data, not just IT-related data. DBMS, on the other hand, is a specific term for the software that enables users to interact with computer-stored databases. 

The Different Models of DBMSs

Database management systems use different models that determine the way users store and interact with databases: 

  • Hierarchical database model
  • Relational model
  • Network model
  • Object-oriented database model
  • Entity-relationship model
  • Document model
  • Entity-attribute-value model
  • Star schema
  • Object-relational model  — a mixture of the relational and the object-oriented model

The relational database management systems, which we are analyzing here, use the relational data model for these tasks. This model organizes data in tables made up of columns and rows — or relations, as they are referred to in relational database management system terminology. 

These relations (tables) consist of tuples (table rows), and each of those tuples has a set of attributes (table columns) that they relate to in the relation.

What Query Language Do RDBMSs Use?

The most commonly used query language RDBMSs use for handling and querying data is structured query language or SQL. That being said, a lot of relational database management systems use a unique dialect of SQL instead of the generic structured query language in order to circumvent the limitations of the standard dialect and use extensions that enable users to execute more advanced functions.

On Standard SQL

In this article, we’ll use the term ‘standard SQL’ to refer to this generic SQL query language

When it comes to SQL standards, there are a number of institutions that are in charge of regulating them. To clarify, when we use the term ‘standard SQL’ or ‘the SQL standard’, we will be talking about the to-date version of the standard for SQL issued by the following institutions:

  • IEC  — The International Electrotechnical Commission;
  • ISO  — The International Organization for Standardization;
  • ANSI  —The American National Standards Institute.

Additionally, bear in mind that the full structured query language standard is quite complex and needs to have all 179 features to qualify for the full core SQL:2011 compliance. For this reason, the majority of relational database management systems don’t comply with the whole standard. However, the degree to which a particular RDBM complies with the full core can vary, as some relational database management systems comply with the SQL:2011 more than others.

How Does It Work?

Each column in the table receives a designated data type. This determines (and limits) the type of entries that could be entered in that particular column. 

The data types implemented by the different relational database management systems can vary, and they are not always interchangeable by rule. Some commonly used data types are:

  • Integers
  • Booleans
  • Dates
  • Strings

There are two kinds of numeric data types: signed and unsigned

Signed numeric data types indicate the data can stand for both positive and negative numbers. Unsigned types, on the other hand, indicate data that represents positive numbers only. 

Let’s take MySQL’s ‘smallint’ data type as an example. Its storage capacity is 2 bytes or 16 bits of data  — when it comes to possible values, this translates into 65536 possible values. This means that the signed value range of this data type ranges from -32768 to 32767, and the unsigned value range, on the other hand, can go from 0 to a maximum value of 65535.

What Are SQL Constraints?

In some cases, database administrators can institute a constraint on the number of values that can be inserted in a table. These constraints can apply to either a single column (which is more frequent) or to the whole table. 

Some of the constraints that are widely used in structured query language are the following:

  • UNIQUE: Ensures that all values in a column are unique.
  • NOT NULL: A constraint that disallows the use of NULL entries within the relevant column.
  • PRIMARY KEY: This constraint is a shortcut for the UNIQUE and NOT NULL constraints. It ensures that no entry in a particular column can be identical to another and that that same column can’t have a NULL value.
  • FOREIGN KEY: A constraint used to link two tables together via a field (or collection of fields) in the ‘child’ table that points to the PRIMARY KEY in the ‘parent’ table.
  • CHECK: Restricts the range of values that users can insert in a relevant column. If you wish to, let’s say, make your software available only to people that live in the state of Colorado, you can apply the CHECK constraint to a ZIP code column and set it up to permit entries from 80001 to 81658 only.
  • DEFAULT: A constraint which serves to assign a default value to a column. The SQLite RDBMS, for example, will automatically insert this default value, except in cases where the user inserts a different value.
  • INDEX: This is a constraint that helps the user extract data from a table faster, in a way that resembles an index in a textbook, as the name indicates. The query simply has to look into entries from the indexed column in order to reach the results it’s searching for, which saves you the time you’d spend looking into each separate entry from the table.

The above is a short and generalized glance at relational database management systems. From here on we will continue by analyzing each of the three open-source RMDBSs that we are set to compare within this article. So, without further ado, let’s begin with the first one.

SQLite

The first relational database management system we’ll look into is SQLite, which is an entirely open-source RDBMS. 

The majority of the relational database engines use servers, that is, they relay requests to a host server. However, the SQLite website qualifies SQLite as a ‘serverless’ and self-contained RDBMS, also known as an embedded database. SQLite’s engine works from within the application software that accesses the data.

This means that a process that needs to access the database can do so directly, without needing intermediation from a server to read from or write on the disk file. 

This simplifies things when it comes to the setup of SQLite. Moreover, any program that uses SQLite doesn’t need any additional configuration apart from access to the disk file. 

SQLite is famous for being very reliable, portable, and for performing solidly even in low-memory environments. It has a library that is often under 600 kilobytes.

SQLite is a file-based RDBMS  — it stores data in one file, which means it’s simple to copy, store, and share it. Its transactions comply with ACID in a stable way, even during situations of a system crash or electrical failure.

As an open-source program, you can use this RDBMS free of charge and without having to acquire a special license.

If you’d like to get additional extensions that help with compression and encryption, these come with a one-off charge. Some of them include:

  • The SQLite Encryption Extension (SEE) for $2000
  • The Compressed And Encrypted Read-Only Database (CEROD) for $2000
  • The ZIPVFS Read/Write Compressed Database Extension for $4000

Additionally, there are also several packages for commercial support that require a yearly subscription:

  • The Annual Maintenance Subscription for $1500 a year
  • The Technical Support package for $8000-50000 a year
  • The SQLite Consortium Membership for $85000 a year

SQLite’s Supported Data Types

Let’s look at the data types that SQLite allows, and the storage classes they belong to:

  • null — Used for NULL values.
  • integer — Used for signed integers. Depending on the magnitude of the value, these integers are stored in 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 bytes.
  • real — Used for real numbers or floating-point values, stored as 8-byte floating-point numbers.
  • text — Used for text strings. The following database encoding can be used to store them: — UTF-8, UTF-16BE, or UTF-16LE.
  • blob — Used for data blobs. Each blob is stored in the same way it was put in.

You can use either ‘data type’ or ‘storage class’ when it comes to SQLite, as both of these terms refer to the same thing. You can visit SQLite’s datatypes section of its website if you want to know more about its data types and type affinity.

Advantages of SQLite 

Easy-Of-Use

One good thing about SQLite is how easy it is to use. Users often consider SQLite needs no prior configuration to work with — you can start using it right away after you get it. 

The fact that SQLite is a serverless RDBMS and uses no server process means that it has no configuration files you need to take care of, and is not necessary for you to stop or restart it.

This is what makes SQLite a rather user-friendly database, as all the abovementioned makes the whole process — from installing this database to its integration with your application — very quick and easy. 

Lightweight

SQLite has one of the most compact libraries among RDBMSs, making it very lightweight, as the name itself suggests. Even though the space its library takes up can be different, its size determined by the system you install it on, it usually requires less than 600 kilobytes of space. 

SQLite is also entirely self-contained — that is, it doesn’t require you to install any external dependencies to work.

Portability

Having this in mind, we should add that portability is also an important defining feat of SQLite. Other DBMSs store data in large clusters of several files. Unlike these, SQLite stores a whole database in just one file that can be situated anywhere in the hierarchy of the directory. This makes the file easily shareable through portable devices or through online transfer.

Disadvantages of SQLite 

Concurrency Restrictions

Due to the fact that it’s serverless, the SQLite system underperforms when it comes to multi-user capabilities, unlike other RDBMSs such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. Only a single process can modify an SQLite database at a time in SQLite, even though more than one process can access and query the database at once. 

The effective concurrency SQLite can sustain is bigger than the majority of embedded DBMSs sustain. However, MySQL or PostgreSQL, as server-process based databases, can sustain a much bigger multi-user concurrency than SQLite.

User Access Management

Another setback when using SQLite, also related to the fact it is serverless and directly modifies data from the disk storage, is the lack of user management. Usually, DBMSs include support for their users or preconfigured management of database and table access rights, which is not the case with SQLite. 

This RDBMS is rather limited when it comes to access rights. It relies entirely on access rights provided by the operating system it accesses because it reads and writes the files on the disk that uses this system directly. For software that aims to be used by a big number of users that should be given more specific access rights, SQLite is not a great option.

Weaker Security

The database files of SQLite are accessible to all who use it because it doesn’t come with an inbuilt authentication mechanism. Server-based DBMSs, on the other hand, provide many inbuilt security features for stronger protection. An example of this would be protection against bugs in the client software  — wild pointers in a client, for instance, cannot tamper with the memory of the server. 

DBMSs that are client-server based are more precise when managing access rights than serverless databases, too, because of the greater concurrency they sustain and the more in-depth locking possibilities they provide. This is due to the fact that servers are single persistent processes.

What is SQLite Good For? 

Embedded Applications

SQLite should be used when you want to have portable applications and you don’t count on expanding them. That means SQLite is good for use by smart device applications/games or single-user local applications, for instance.

Applications that aim to modify disk files without intermediate processes can make good use of SQLite. This RDBMS is useful for disk access replacement. SQLite makes this process easier because the usage of the structured query language is simple and functional.

Testing

Another thing SQLite is good for is testing. When you want to test an application, you should avoid doing it through a database management system based on a server process, as you may find it overwhelming. The perfect choice for testing would indeed be SQLite, as it includes an in-memory mode that helps users do tests faster and in a simpler way.

What Shouldn’t SQLite Be Used For?

Large Volumes of Data

SQLite can basically sustain a maximum of 140 terabyte-sized databases — that is, of course, if the disk and system it’s being used on can sustain the same size. This makes SQLite not really ideal if you want to use it for a bigger quantity of data. 

As stated on the SQLite website:

“SQLite supports databases up to 140 terabytes in size, assuming you can find a disk drive and filesystem that will support 140-terabyte files. Even so, when the size of the content looks like it might creep into the terabyte range, it would be good to consider a centralized client/server database.” 

Concurrent Writing

SQLite can be read simultaneously by an unlimited number of readers but only a single writer at a time. While this is not a problem in many situations where every application can queue up to do its database work, for applications that require more concurrency it can be pretty limiting. If your application needs more concurrent writers at once, you might be better off with a different DBMS. 

Work That Depends On Network Access

Being serverless, SQLite does not give direct network access to its data, but rather, the data is built into the application itself. In cases where the SQlite data and the application are on different physical devices, SQLite themselves advocate the use of a client/server database management system as a better solution. 

MySQL

MySQL is a favorite for many users — the DB-Engines site, which tracks DBMS popularity since 2012, ranks it highest among open-source relational database management systems. 

A number of the biggest websites worldwide — notably Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix — use MySQL as their database choice.

MySQL offers its users many features, and it’s pretty easy to get started with it. This is mostly due to:

  1. There’s a whole mountain of accessible documentation on MySQL,
  2. Amazing forums in their Developer Zone where you can seek help,
  3. And plenty of other easily accessible resources for this RDBMS online. 

This database does not fully comply with standard SQL but makes up for it by being faster and more stable. Although its developing team is constantly making efforts to make MySQL more adherent to standard SQL, they’re still a bit behind. To compensate, MySQL provides some SQL modes and extensions to improve its adherence to standard SQL. 

Applications that work with MySQL access the database through a particular daemon process  — which is not the case with those that use serverless DBMSs like SQLite, for example. 

MySQL uses a server process that applications have to go through to reach the database. This means that users can enact higher levels of control over database access permissions.

Many users have developed separate tools, libraries, and software to help the community work with MySQL and improve its functionality. 

Examples of such community-made tools include: 

MySQL’s Supported Data Types 

The types of data that this RDBMS supports belong to three general categories  — numeric, date and time, and string types

Numeric Types

  • tinyint — A tiny integer that can be signed or unsigned. Its signed allowable range is from -128 to 127 and its unsigned allowable range is from 0 to 255. You can specify a width of up to 4 digits.
  • smallint — A small integer that can be signed or unsigned. Its signed allowable range is from -32768 to 32767 and its unsigned allowable range is from 0 to 65535. You can specify a width of up to 5 digits.
  • mediumint — A medium-sized integer that can be signed or unsigned. Its signed allowable range is from -8388608 to 8388607 and its unsigned allowable range is from 0 to 16777215. You can specify a width of up to 9 digits.
  • int or integer — A regular-sized integer that can be signed or unsigned. Its signed allowable range is from -2147483648 to 2147483647 and its unsigned allowable range is from 0 to 4294967295. You can specify a width of up to 11 digits.
  • bigint — A large integer that can be signed or unsigned. Its signed allowable range is from -9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807 and its unsigned allowable range is from 0 to 18446744073709551615. You can specify a width of up to 20 digits.
  • float — A small, or single-precision, floating-point number. It cannot be unsigned, and you can define its display length and number of decimals.
  • double, double precision, or real — A normal-sized, or double-precision, floating-point number. It cannot be unsigned, and you can define its display length and number of decimals.
  • dec, decimal, fixed, or numeric — A packed, or fixed-point, number. When the column is created, the display length of entries for this data type is determined — all entries must comply with this predetermined length.
  • bool or boolean — A type of data with just two applicable values, and in most cases, those two are ‘true’ and ‘false’.
  • bit — A data type that lets you determine how many bits (1 to 64) there are per value.

Date and Time Types

  • date — A date in the YYYY-MM-DD format.
  • datetime — Used to display date and time in the YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS format.
  • timestamp — A timestamp that shows how many seconds have passed since 00:00:00 on January 1se, 1970  — that is, the Unix epoch.
  • time — Indicates time in the HH:MM:SS format.
  • year — Indicates the year. There are two possible formats here  — a 2 digit or a 4 digit, but the 4 digit is the default one.

String Types

  • char — A string type whose length is fixed to the length you determine when you create the table length, this data type’s entries are right-padded with spaces to this length.
  • varchar — A string whose length can vary.
  • binary — This type is similar to the char string, but the difference is that it isn’t a nonbinary but rather a binary byte string with a determined length.
  • varbinary — This type is similar to varchar, but the difference is that it isn’t a nonbinary character string but rather a binary byte string whose length can vary.
  • blob — This type is another binary string that has a maximum set length of 65535 bytes of data, that is 2^16  — 1.
  • tinyblob — A blob that has a maximum set length of 255  bytes of data, or 2^8  — 1.
  • mediumblob — A blob that has a maximum set length of 16777215, or 2^24  — 1.
  • longblob — A blob that has a maximum set length of 4294967295 bytes of data, or 2^32  — 1.
  • text — A string that has a maximum set length of 65535 or 2^16  — 1.
  • tinytext — A text that has a maximum set length of 255 characters, or 2^8  — 1.
  • mediumtext — A text that has a maximum set length of 16777215 characters, or 2^24  — 1.
  • longtext — A text that has a maximum set length of 4294967295 characters, or 2^32  — 1.
  • enum — Indicates an enumeration, a string object taking one value from a list of values determined when creating the table.
  • set — This type, similarly to the enumeration, is a string object with zero or more possible values, and every value has to be picked from a list of permitted values determined when creating the table.

Advantages of MySQL 

Established Reputation

MySQL is one of the most famous DBMSs in the world, which means that many database admins are familiar with it already. Consequently, there are also many written guides, both on paper and online, that take users through the process of installing and working with MySQL. Some online resources include MySQL’s official documentation, its basic tutorial, and the advanced management guide.

There are also many separate tools and applications developed by the community that make the usage of MySQL easier for both beginners and more experienced users.

Security

The installation of MySQL includes a script that enables users to strengthen database security through determining the level of the installation’s password security, assigning the root user with a password, eliminating anonymous accounts as well as test databases which all users have permissions to access by default. 

MySQL enables you to give access rights to each separate user as well, which is not the case with SQLite, for example. 

Speed

The team behind MySQL created this database management system to be optimized for speed through purposefully not including some standard SQL features. MySQL is famous for being a fast database management system, even though tests have recently demonstrated that other RDBMSs like PostgreSQL are able to work nearly as fast.

Replication Support

Another advantage of MySQL is that when it comes to database replication  — the process of sharing information between multiple hosts in order to strengthen availability, reliability, and fault-tolerance — this DBSM supports several different kinds. Support for different replication types is useful if you want to scale your database or create a backup solution for it.

Disadvantages of MySQL 

License Limitations

MySQL has an open-source free version with a GPLv2 license, as well as multiple commercial versions with proprietary licenses. A number of its plugins and features can be accessed solely by users of the commercial editions.

Lacks SQL Compliance

This RDBMS is known for being fast and user-friendly, but in turn, it’s not entirely SQL compliant. This means that MySQL has a more restricted functionality  — for instance, it doesn’t support full outer joins.

Slower Development

Users have also reported that development for MySQL isn’t going as fast as before since Sun Microsystems took over the project in 2008 (and later Oracle Corporation bought Microsystems). From then on the community is unable to enact changes and solve issues fast enough.

What is MySQL Good For? 

Distributed Operations

One thing you should use MySQL for is distributed operations, like primary-secondary or primary-primary architectures. The fact that it supports different kinds of replications makes MySQL great for this purpose.

Internet Sites and Applications

Another good use for MySQL would be the creation of sites and internet applications. It already supports many of these, mostly because of how fast it is, its simple installation and startup, and its long-term scalability.

Scaling

The replication support this DBSM boasts can also make horizontal scaling easier. It is also pretty easy to switch to a paid MySQL license, some of which support other horizontal scaling processes as well, like for instance automatic sharding.

What Shouldn’t MySQL Be Used For? 

Work That Requires SQL Compliance

In cases where it is obligatory to have full — or at least near-full — SQL compliance, MySQL is not an option. 

Reaching full compliance with the SQL standard is not a priority for MySQL. If it’s a priority to you, you should look for another DBMS.

Concurrency

Another situation in which you shouldn’t use MySQL is when you want to have multiple users writing data on your software all at the same time. Such operations are best handled by different RDBMSs, such as PostgreSQL for example.

MySQL is mostly good with read-heavy operations, but an issue may arise when multiple read-write processes are done concurrently.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL, а system that was initially called Postgres as it was a successor to the Ingres relational database management system, is an RDBMS that prioritizes on extensibility and standards compliance. 

PostgreSQL sought to achieve two objectives in particular: 

  1. to be well suited for allowing adding new capabilities and functionality;
  2. to attain standards compliance. 

This is an object-relational database, in other words, in addition to being a relational database, PostgreSQL also includes more complex features that are usually connected with object databases.

Moreover, PostgreSQL has high concurrency, that is, the ability to do parallel, non-blocking transactions with efficiency. By implementing Multiversion Concurrency Control (MVCC), it can simultaneously handle various tasks with no read locks. 

This, in turn, guarantees adherence to ACID, i.e. the characteristics of its database transactions that ensure validity even in cases where errors occur.

In terms of popularity, MySQL is much more widespread among users in comparison to PostgreSQL, which means that there are many more software packages that help you work with it. 

Nevertheless, there are various third-party tools and libraries, such as Postgrex, Psycopg, pgAdmin,  and Postbird, which can streamline your work with PostgreSQL as well.

PostgreSQL’s Supported Data Types 

Like MySQL, PostgreSQL allows numeric, string, and time data types, in addition to types for bit strings, geometric shapes, network addresses, text searches, JSON entries, and various idiosyncratic types.

Numeric Types

  • bigint — Indicates a signed 8-byte integer.
  • bigserial — Indicates an autoincrementing 8-byte integer.
  • double precision — Indicates an 8-byte double-precision floating-point number.
  • integer — Indicates a signed 4-byte integer.
  • numeric or decimal — Indicates a number of selectable precision, best used when you must be exact, like in sums of money for instance.
  • real — Indicates a 4-byte single-precision floating-point number.
  • smallint — Indicates a signed 2-byte integer.
  • smallserial — Indicates an autoincrementing 2-byte integer.
  • serial — Indicates an autoincrementing 4-byte integer.

Character Types

  • character — A fixed-length character with space padded.
  • character varying or varchar  — A character of a variable but restricted length.
  • text — A character of a variable, unrestricted length.

Date and Time Types

  • date — A date in a calendar showing the day, the month, and the year.
  • interval — A period of time.
  • time or time without time zone — A time of the day, not showing the time zone.
  • time with time zone — A time of the day and the time zone.
  • timestamp or timestamp without time zone — Indicates date and time, not showing the time zone.
  • timestamp with time zone — Indicates date and time as well as the time zone.

Geometric Types

  • box — A box of rectangular shape.
  • circle — A closed circle.
  • line — An infinite set of points.
  • lseg — A segment from the line.
  • path — A geometric path.
  • point — A geometric point.
  • polygon — A closed geometric shape.

Network Address Types

  • cidr — An IPv4 and IPv6 network.
  • inet — An IPv4 and IPv6 host and network.
  • macaddr — A MAC address.

Bit String Types

  • bit — A bit string of fixed length.
  • bit varying — A bit string of variable length.

Text Search Types

  • tsquery — A text query.
  • tsvector — A text document.

JSON Types 

  • json — A data type for storing JSON textual data.
  • jsonb —  JSON textual data stored in decomposed binary format.

Other Data Types 

  • boolean — Indicates a Boolean with two possible values  —  ‘true’ and ‘false’.
  • bytea — It stands for “byte array” and allows the storage of binary strings.
  • money — A sum of money.
  • pg_lsn Used for storing a LSN.
  • txid_snapshot  — Used for taking a  snapshot of a transaction ID on a user level.
  • uuid — Used for storing a UUID.
  • xml — Used for storing XML data.

Advantages of PostgreSQL 

SQL Compliance

The first advantage of using PostgreSQL is the fact it complies with the SQL standard much more than SQLite or MySQL

PostgreSQL’s official documentation indicates that this relational database management system supports 160 out of 179 features needed for a database to fully comply with SQL:2011, and it also supports a number of optional features.

Focuses On Community 

What is more, Postgres is a 100% open source project, whose source code is developed by a committed Postgres community of non-negligible size. 

This community also takes care of and contributes to various resources online, where one can gain insight into what working with PostgreSQL is like. If you want to explore it, feel free to visit the PostgreSQL wiki.

Very Extensible

Finally, the fact that PostgreSQL is highly extensible is another critical aspect to consider. It stores more information in catalogs than other DBMSs, facilitating the extension process for users. This RDBMS’s extensibility is great for research and scientific projects.

In addition, PostgreSQL’s dynamic loading further enhances its extensible character, as user-written code can be incorporated into the PostgreSQL server. For instance, users can identify an object code file that implements a new function and PostgreSQL will load it as needed.

Disadvantages of PostgreSQL 

Memory Usage

Despite the many advantages of Postgres listed above, this RDBMS has its drawbacks, as well. One of the biggest drawbacks is the issue of memory performance. While Postgres is highly efficient concurrency-wise, the issue here is that it reserves approximately 10MB RAM for each new client connection. 

This means that Postgres requires more RAM in order to support this concurrency. Therefore, read-heavy operations will perform better on other RDBMSs, such as MySQL. 

Recently Popularized

Another disadvantage to bear in mind is its popularity among users. Recently, Postgres has been growing in popularity, however, historically, this RDBMS was much less widespread than other RDBMS, such as MySQL. 

As a result, PostgreSQL has a lot less to offer in terms of third-party tools that can help you work with it, making it somewhat more complex to use. At the same time, there are many more database admins that are experienced in working with a MySQL database, for example.

What is PostgreSQL Good For? 

Data Integrity

In instances where data integrity is crucial, you may want to go with PostgreSQL. This is because this system fully complies with ACID (i.e. atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) since 2001 and does multi-version currency control to make sure data stays consistent. 

Tool Integration

In addition, in cases where you have to integrate your database with a particular tool or if you have to migrate it, PostgreSQL should be your DBMS of choice, as it scores quite high when it comes to compatibility with other platforms and programming languages.

Complex Operations

Finally, PostgreSQL is definitely one of the best DBMSs in terms of performing complex operations, such as processing online transactions or data warehousing. This is thanks to its ability to sustain concurrent writers, as well as its support for query plans that can use several CPUs for answering queries faster.  

What Shouldn’t PostgreSQL Be Used For? 

Speed

In a project where speed is crucial, you may want to avoid PostgreSQL. This DBMS is not the best when it comes to speed, precisely because, as mentioned above, it is highly extensible and compatible. 

Moreover, if there are simple database setups in question, then you may want to reconsider choosing PostgreSQL. 

Simple Setups

Postgres has a large set of features and adheres strongly to standard SQL, which means that it can be too much when it comes to simple setups. 

Complex Replication

Finally, there is the issue of complex replication. As is the case with many other applications, replication in MySQL, for example, is simpler than in PostgreSQL. 

If you are interested in DB replication, but you don’t want to deal with extensions in PostgreSQL, then you should make the same choice that many users do and go with MySQL instead.

Conclusion – The Search For The Best Relational Database Management System

MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL are currently the most popular open-source relational database management system in the world. Figuring out which is best for your situation will never solely depend on factors such as speed or the number of features alone.  For example, this is how Bento’s founder, Jesse Hanley, came to the decision that PostgreSQL was the right choice for his customer messaging platform for eCommerce & SaaS companies:

For us, it was an easy decision. PostgreSQL provides us with three things that we couldn’t get (at least not easily)in other solutions: community, time, and peace of mind. Because PostgreSQL has been deployed at millions of companies you will find that there is rarely a question that someone much smarter than you hasn’t already solved. Additionally, there’s a thriving market for companies who are extending it past its limits to make it so much more powerful (such as TimeScaleDB). We’ve also heard one too many stories of businesses who almost went out of business due to their choice of database management system – a quick search on HackerNews will show the stories – and frankly, we just don’t want to worry about it. PostgreSQL is here to stay and we couldn’t be happier with our choice 3 years into scaling this business.

Jesse Hanley, Founder of Bento

And, as covered throughout the article, each option has its advantages, disadvantages, and most importantly also a set of specific situations in which they work best…