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MySQL vs. PostgreSQL

MySQL vs. PostgreSQL

Database management is a fixture in nearly any online business these days. Common proprietary databases like Microsoft’s SQL Server, IBM’s DB2 Server and Oracle include several features that developers have come to rely on for creating and maintaining the ultimate web-based business. Some of these features include advanced storage options, data management tools, data replication and intuitive backup utilities.

Over the last decade or so, members of the open-source community have made tremendous improvements to their software to make it more “enterprise worthy”. This in turn, has resulted in many developers moving from expensive proprietary solutions to open-source versions that work just as well, if not better. A perfect example would be the numerous web hosting providers that function on a LAMP system. The use of a Linux operating system, Apache server, MySQL database and Perl programming language makes for one of the most reliable hosting platforms on the market. While MySQL offers the most widely used database management system in the world, it does have worthy competition in the way of PostgreSQL.

PostgreSQL History

PostgreSQL is an RDBMS (relational database system) that originated from the POSTGRES project. Professor Michael Stonebraker began the project in 1986 at Berkeley’s University of California. It was attended to replace Ingres, an aging RDBMS before being sponsored by organizations such as the NSF (National Science Foundation), the Army Research Office and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). Although it was referred to as the POSTGRES project, the database actually assumed varying roles in many organizations. Some of its earlier uses included the management of educational resources, financial data analysis and asteroid tracking.

Though it originally utilized a language called PostQUEL, the POSTGRES project officially became PostgreSQL shortly after the introduction of Postgre95 in 1994.

MySQL History

Prior to its creation, the developers of MySQL used it to connect their own data structure. They soon discovered that MySQL lacked a number of features and speed needed to carry out their operation. From this point they decided to write a front-end version of the system and MySQL became an open-source product shortly thereafter. MySQL currently has well over 10 million installations worldwide and has become a staple in the web hosting industry.


Though similar in function, MySQL and Postgre have different licenses which play a role in availability and how they can be used. The MySQL server is available as free software under the GNU GPL (General Public License) project. However, MySQL Enterprise subscriptions are offered for dual-licensing and business users under conventional proprietary licensing agreements. In this scenario, the intended use isn’t compatible with GPL software.

The licensing scheme for PostgreSQL is much simpler. Released under the Berkeley License, it is available for use to anyone as long as a copy of the license is included and presented with the software. This allows you to release a commercial product using PostgreSQL without having to include the source code.

When it comes to web hosting, licensing is something you don’t to worry about. IX Web Hosting and LunarPages offer the best of both worlds with more than enough MySQL and PostgreSQL databases to effectively manage your business.

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6th August 2008
Posted by Web Hosting Consultant in Best Web Hosting Tips

3 Responses to “MySQL vs. PostgreSQL”

  1. Ian travel says:

    Mysql is an answer if you have to choose one among them. While Postgresql does offering a great and flexible but Mysql is absolute free and more secure.

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  2. Frank says:

    >> but Mysql is absolute free and more secure.

    I don’t agree, MySQL might be free in most cases, it’s not in every case. PostgreSQL is always for free. The BSD-licence gives you more freedom.

    And security, PostgreSQL is considered safer as MySQL, just check The Database Hacker’s Handbook:
    “By default, PostgreSQL is probably the most security-aware database available …”

    PostgreSQL has more and better options to secure the database.

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  3. Ricardo says:

    Yes, the debate about the merits continues.

    One simple request/suggestion: As an alum of the University of California at Berkeley, I’d like to ask that you correct the spelling of “Berkeley” – there are THREE ‘b’s. (you got it right in your links; just correct it in the test for the links).

    [It will always enhance your site’s credibility if you seem knowledgeable enough of major computing institutions to spell them correctly.]

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