mariadb vs. MySQL

MySQL tutorials

Data management and storage are important features when considering the software options for developing a website or e-commerce store. MySQL and MariaDB both offer support features to match a user’s website design needs and to aid in performance and security. The abilities of these two relational database management systems (RDBMS) – and whether they are right for your project’s specific needs – depends on what goals your have for your website and database-driven applications.

MySQL and MariaDB can support the business functions of your organization and your application goals in particular. MariaDB, for its part, is a newer version of MySQL that is smaller in size, yet capable of adding unique features in database management systems. However, MySQL is database software that can handle multiple performance operations simultaneously and has a reputation for being reliable from a functional and security perspective. This database programming tutorial will explore the details of these two database management systems and seek to highlight why each one might be a fit for your project.

What is MySQL?

MySQL became operational in 1995 after David Axmark, Michael Widenius, and Allans Larsson went public after its launch. The original function of MySQL was to organize data and store records of business queries in a database. Using a systematic procedure of data storage, MySQL is able to plot the relationship between variables (or data storage items whose values can change) to maintain the consistency of databases through tables. Primary Keys and Foreign Keys, meanwhile, are constant values (values that cannot change) used in MySQL tables to support the quick retrieval of data upon request.

MySQL has owned a significant market share since its launch, with a 44.04% lead in relational database management systems in the world. The United States has a 31.39% stake in using open-source software, which ranges from small to large-scale businesses. MySQL is second in rank compared to Oracle, which leads with a 30.2% of the market share, while the former holds a 16.65% share among database management systems.

In a typical setting, MySQL operates with high scalability, allowing multiple users to complete web development projects through WordPress or phpBB applications, among several others. With additional customization, MySQL can serve the database management of common social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. Marketing and software development are typical functions of MySQL concerning database management.

Interested in learning MySQL? We have a tutorial listing the Top Online Courses to Learn MySQL to help get you started.

What are the Pros of MySQL?

Below is a list of the pros and benefits of using MySQL:

  • MySQL has a portable feature that allows web applications to operate on multiple platforms that is commonly available in database management systems. The software supports different web developing languages like PERL, PHP, C, Python, and Java.
  • Server connection are reliable with MySQL because of availability of UNIX and TCP sockets that enable data integrity, which supports continuous connectivity when transmitting across different networks.
  • The security encryption of MySQL is advanced enough to protect sensitive data from being exposed when using web applications. The software has complex algorithms that prevent web applications from exposing information when using similar servers frequently.
  • MySQL is an affordable database management system that helps companies functioning with a limited budget. The open-source software is reliable and affordable to small-scale and large-scale operations and software development teams that want to limit their investment in web platforms.

What are the Cons of MySQL?

Below is a list of some of the cons and downsides of using MySQL as your RDBMS of choice:

  • Database management for commercial services is a challenge when using MySQL because web applications are not ideal for handling bulk data processing.
  • MySQL is less inclined to provide security updates or publish bug reports that limit the general development of the software. Web developers tend to prefer software with advanced features and updated support for the comprehensive functionality of new applications.
  • The rise of new database management software makes MySQL less popular in the market, while its lack of customization means popular web applications like Slackware Linux or Fedora are excluded from its functionality. Most web developers will prefer newer software to create applications that might further reduce MySQL’s market share.

What is MariaDB?

MariaDB is a newer version of MySQL with enhancements in features like performance and security relating to database management systems. When the software first launched in 2009, its objective was to create a free license for MySQL users. The latest version of MariaDB is 5.1, which supports small and large tasks with regards to data processing.

MariaDB is in position 14 among the ranks in the relational database management market. The market share of the database software is 1.95%, which shows its popularity is growing. WordPress, Google, and Wikipedia are popular companies that use MariaDB for developing web applications. MariaDB ranks position 3 in the USA database market. There are 53,555 websites in the USA that use MariaDB.

Database views and invisible columns are standout features that MariaDB offers. Storage engines like Connect, XtraDB, Aria, Cassandra Storage Engine, and Memory Storage Engine are available when using MariaDB. The MariaDB Foundation manages the open-source software, allowing developers to make changes based on community preferences. MariaDB can achieve over 200,000 connections, making it a favorite among e-Commerce companies where online transaction processing is a frequent occurrence.

Read: Best Courses for Database Administrators

What are the Benefits of MariaDB?

MariaDB offers the following benefits for database developers and those that create database-driven web applications:

  • MariaDB allows backward compatibility that allows older platforms to function with newer applications. As open-source software, the community can contribute changes to maximize performance and provide security updates to the RDBMS.
  • Commercial companies that deal with bulk online transactions benefit from new features courtesy of Galera cluster technology that prevents loss of transactional reports and slave lag. MariaDB offers better node read scalability to help clients complete transactions smoothly.
  • MariaDB is open-source software that is free and accessible to anyone. The software grants full access to its features when installed via its GPL license.
  • The dynamic thread pool is a function of MariaDB that closes inactive threads and allows the server to prioritize active threads. The optimization feature allows for large connections where updates and replication operations occur at higher speeds.

What are the Cons of MariaDB?

Here are some of the cons and downsides to using MariaDB as your database:

  • JSON data types version 10.2 is the minimal supported update on MariaDB, which can limit functionality on older database platforms. JSON column types need prior configuration after converting the JSON data from MySQL. This is because the updated version uses LONGTEXT as a default, which can create compatibility problems.
  • Technical support for enterprise features and customer representatives is only accessible through the subscription plan, which must be purchased. MariaDB restricts community uses to certain features, which means expert database knowledge and support through the community can be lacking.
  • The stability of the MariaDB cluster version is unreliable. This means e-Commerce platforms can experience delays when processing bulk online data. Software delays can affect server performance too, as caching struggles to process large databases.
  • Some of the MySQL features used in the Enterprise database application are excluded in MariaDB. The plugins used for data masking are open-source versions that are limited in compatibility. Further, MariaDB requires additional updates that are not guaranteed to be released in the future.

Database Comparison: MySQL vs MariaDB

Below, we compare key aspects of the MySQL and MariaDB relational databases, in an effort to help you choose which is better for your software development project.


MariaDB is better than MySQL in terms of user friendliness. For small businesses, mid-sized companies, and large commercial enterprises, MariaDB is more user-friendly than MySQL. MariaDB is simple to download and install, which makes it easier for web developers to adapt the database into their systems. Real-time analytics are improved features of MariaDB that are absent in MySQL. New features like SHOW STATUS provide accurate reports about the status value, making MariaDB more user-friendly.

MySQL is user-friendly for database administrators and database programmers who run the software on older database platforms. Web developers who process smaller data can benefit from better optimized server performance when using MySQL. However, MariaDB supports fast data processing speeds, even for beginners. This is because the software is community licensed, which allows users to share their knowledge. Because MySQL is an old database management software, community support is limited. This means beginners can struggle to gain support when searching for online resources.


There are 12 storage engines available in MariaDB, while MySQL has fewer storage options. This feature makes MariaDB better because large commercial enterprises need to process bulk data and space for server storage. MySQL is slower in data processing speeds compared to MariaDB. The speed improvement improves user latency to allow applications to run faster, especially when dealing with online transactions.

The connection pool in MariaDB is complex to support faster processing speeds and to connect over 200,000 databases. In contrast, MySQL has a slower connection pool that achieves a maximum of 200,000 connections on a single occasion. The limitation of speed and size in the connection pool makes MariaDB the better database management software.

JSON WITH and KILL statements are new features available to MariaDB. MySQL lacks these new features that serve as additional extensions to data processing functions. MariaDB required a paid license to access Enterprise Edition features. Similarly, MySQL has a private code for users that seek the Enterprise Edition of the software. Overall, MariaDB is better than MySQL in support of Enterprise Edition access because of expert technical support.


MariaDB is better than MySQL because it can integrate with other database management platforms. The large storage engines available in MariaDB support high-performance data processing and storage. This allows for quick integration with older database platforms. MySQL lacks the support for integration with client applications, which is a major restriction in the transmission of processed data.

MariaDB supports data processing for complex transactions and does not request selective entry of transactions based on data volume. In contrast, MySQL operates simple transactions when processing data that is restricted based on the volume of transactions. MySQL and MariaDB can be integrated into OLAP and OLTP systems, although MariaDB shows better performance.


MariaDB supports the use of third-party software, together with other servers and products relating to enterprise development. The SkySQL Foundation is a feature that combines with MariaDB to provide cloud service to web developers. The collaboration options for MariaDB are many and companies can choose the desired package based on database needs.

In contrast, MySQL is limited to three options: MySQL Enterprise Edition, MySQL Standard Edition, and MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition. This standard means database companies are limited to the features available to the available options. In regards to collaboration with other products and services, MariaDB is better than MySQL.


MariaDB has a beginner charge of $0.4514 per hour when selecting the SkySQL Foundation option. This cloud service is attractive to many companies that seek an Enterprise Edition package. Nevertheless, MariaDB is open-source software that contains most database management features available in MySQL.

The Enterprise Edition of MySQL begins at $2,000 per year. This subscription gives access to the MySQL Standard Edition. Although MySQL is open-source software, the lack of enhanced features limits the use of the Enterprise Edition for companies that seek unique functions. For pricing, MariaDB is better than MySQL.

Which Database Should I Choose: MySQL or MariaDB?

In the analysis of MariaDB vs. MySQL, the applications show equal benefits and restrictions in database management systems. The decision of the company in selecting a relational database management system depends on resources and commercial objectives when considering MariaDB or MySQL.

MySQL is a widespread software for web developers in the database market. Its popularity makes it a preferable option for commercial companies that desire proven software for processing data. MariaDB remains new in the database market and experiences unstable features that can cause concern among commercial database companies.

Most features of MariaDB are enhanced over MySQL but require improvement to maintain functional performance. The issue with MariaDB is that updates can be delayed and immediate implementation is not a guarantee. However, the decision between MariaDB versus MySQL favors the former because of the flexibility in optimization of server performance that leaves room for improvement in the future.

Read: MongoDB vs MySQL

David Manda
David Manda
David Manda is a contributing writer for Database Journal. His background is in education, technology, and digital marketing.

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