PostgreSQL or MySQL: Making an Informed Choice

10 June 2014 | By INSART Team

postgresql-vs-mysqlIt’s never the case that a product, whatever its purpose or make, is superior at all times to something similar and serving the same purpose: both advantages and disadvantages always become evident and start playing a role in a specific situation or application. Relational databases are no exception. Although they have been around for quite a while now, those who use them to build, among other things, web-based solutions, often diverge in opinion when asked which of the two more widely used databases should be opted for to build a robust web application. It is exactly because each of the databases can be more efficient than the other one for a set of specific tasks, or under certain conditions, that opinions differ. That is why, it is essential to be objectively aware of at least the major hazards and merits associated with each of the choices in your particular case.

Below you will find the more important of the differentiating criteria you can use to make a better-informed decision while selecting a database for your web-based application.

The Size and Functionality of Your Application-to-Be

It is definitely the size and functionality of your application-to-be that matters the most while making the captioned choice. Both the databases are open-source and sufficiently powerful to support quite major solutions, but PostgreSQL is far more powerful than its rival. If you are planning something larger-scale than just a simple web site or forum, and the daily number of visitors to your site is expected to be several thousand, this database is a preferred choice. Although the functionality of MySQL is unlikely to fall short of your needs, some of the present-day advanced applications may still turn out to be too demanding for what it has to offer. Moreover, PostgreSQL has a number of capabilities that can come in handy when it deals with solutions that process large volumes of data. A good example would be the cursor capability that makes working with large data massives much more convenient.

As we know, solutions with feature-rich functionality usually entail complex database designs. PostreSQL’s ability to support complex designs with the most number of useful features and without compromise for the rest of the functionality makes this database a better choice whenever complex data structures need to be considered.

It is worth mentioning that MySQL is normally a great choice in terms of scalability. In addition, the rich configuration settings and multiple operation modes the database provides allow MySQL to support your needs exceptionally well when you are building a highly specialized, custom, and moderate-sized application.

The Possible Expansion of Your Application After Its Release

f the solution to be built may need to be significantly expanded with more functionality sometime after its release, you should select PostgreSQL because of the greater extensibility it offers.

The Type (s) of Operations to Be Performed

The efficiency and speed of the databases under review differ significantly for the different types of operations performed by relational databases, each of the two being more efficient than the other one in several specific cases. That is why it is also essential to base your choice of the database, among other factors, on the types of operations that will be predominant in the case of your application.

If the bulk of the operations your database is expected to perform will constitute read-heavy operations, MySQL may well show better performance. However, if you expect your database to perform a large number of concurrent read/writes, PostgresSQL will most probably be able to handle this task better than MySQL.

For complex custom procedures, PostgresSQL is preferable due to its better extensibility.

Data Integrity

One more important quality of relational databases that must often be factored in is the level of data integrity to be achieved. If a high level of data integrity and reliability is a strong preference, you should go for PostgreSQL. As far as the more simple data set-ups are concerned, this database may perform less efficiently than MySQL.

It is only a careful consideration based on the above major differentiating criteria that can help you make the right choice between the two popular databases.

Aside from the technical issues, there is another major point of non-technical nature to be taken into account: sourcing the development force for PostgreSQL is, as a rule, much more problematic than finding software developers with a good grasp of MySQL. Make sure to consider this one point carefully, –technology is always empowered by people.


Both the databases are great software and a great choice for a specific set of tasks, and their effcieincy hinges upon how well they fit the project at hand.

The views and opinions expressed in this article do not constitute an endorsement of, or advice to use/purchase, or not to use/purchase any software technology product. These views and opinions are provided solely for information purposes, and interested readers should also be reliant on other competent opinions. The opinions expressed may differ from those of other experts, who have used the technology products mentioned in the article in different business circumstances, for different purposes, and/for the resolution of different technical tasks, and whose technology expertise and related experience in the said technologies may differ from those of the experts who have contributed to this article.