SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL are all examples of relational database management systems. But before we dive into them further, let us first understand what these terms mean. A database is an organized collection of data, stored in a computer system. And surely, to organize data, one must need a system or a program to manage, access, read from, and write to your data. This is where we use a Database Management System (DBMS).
What is a Database Management System (DBMS)?
A database management system (DBMS) is a program that works with databases. It allows you to control database access, read and write data, run queries, and perform all other database management functions.
One of the most extensively used database management systems (DBMS) is Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS).
What is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)?
A Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) stores data in the form of tables and enables the linking of data by establishing a relationship between the tables, hence the term relational database. Consequently, the data can be referred to from anywhere in the database. Hence, this results in an efficient data storing system. All of these functions are performed using the Structured Query Language (SQL).
What is SQL?
Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standardized programming language used to manage an RDBMS. However, many RDBMS use their own dialect of SQL, each with its own extensions to perform complicated tasks and limitations. This article compares and contrasts SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, three of the most extensively used open-source RDBMSs. It will examine each RDBMS, its benefits and drawbacks, and the conditions in which they are best utilized.
SQLite is an open-source, zero-configuration, self-contained, and stand-alone relational database engine which is embeddable into an application.
Although SQLite supports only five data types: BLOB, NULL, INTEGER, TEXT, REAL it is free and open-source software that requires no special licenses to use it.
Advantages of SQLite?
- Small footprint
The SQLite library is as light as its name suggests. It is one of the smallest libraries, taking up less than 600KB of disk space making it computationally efficient. Additionally, SQLite is completely self-contained. It means you don’t need to install any external software for it to work.
SQLite is an RDBMS that requires almost no setup and is ready to use right away. It doesn’t run as a server process. So, it doesn’t need to be stopped, started, or restarted. Also, it doesn’t come with any configuration files to handle. Furthermore, a huge number of lines of code are not necessary for data retrieval. SQL uses basic keywords, such as SELECT, INSERT INTO, and UPDATE and the syntactical rules are simple, making it a user-friendly language. These characteristics make it simple to install and run, even for the most inexperienced users.
Unlike other database management systems, which typically store data as a large batch of separate files, SQLite stores the database in a single ordinary disk file that can be located anywhere in the directory. The file format is also cross-platform. So, it is to copy and move data via removable media or file transfer protocol. Also, it is useable in programs on PCs, servers, and laptops independent of any platform such as your operating system.
Disadvantages of SQLite
- Limited Concurrency
Although several processes can access and query an SQLite database at the same time, only one process can alter the database at a time. Thus the RDBMS’ writing operations are serialized i.e., only one writer at any instance in time. This can be a substantial impediment for applications requiring concurrency and as SQLite is a file-based RDBMS, it can cause performance issues with larger datasets because of its file system limitations.
- Lack of Multi-User Capabilities
The SQLite system lacks multi-user capabilities that are available in full-fledged RDBMS systems such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. This leads to a lack of granular access control, an intuitive user management system, and security capabilities that go beyond just encrypting the database file. This is a major disadvantage when constructing multi-user programs. Hence, it is usually avoided when building multi-user programs.
MySQL is one of the most widely used open-source and large-scale RDBMS. It’s a feature-rich platform that underpins many of the world’s most popular websites and apps, such as Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify.
Unlike SQLite-based apps, applications using a MySQL database are accessed through a separate background process that is not under the direct control of the user. It employs a server/client architecture and because the server process sits between the database and other programs, it gives you more control over who has access to the database.
Advantages of MySQL
- Popularity and ease of use
MySQL is one of the most widely used database systems in the world. So, there is a myriad of database administrators who have experience working with it. Similarly, there is a wealth of printed and online instructions on how to set up and manage a MySQL database.
Security features from the MySQL Access Privilege System provide security measures such as authentication and encrypted connections using SSL. In addition, unlike SQLite, MySQL enables user administration via the user account management system, which allows you to grant access privileges to individual users.
MySQL was designed with a priority for speed and by omitting certain features of SQL. Although recent benchmark tests show that PostgreSQL can come close to MySQL in terms of speed, MySQL still holds its reputation as an exceedingly fast database solution. This is a great feature for handling websites with a lot of traffic.
- Replication and Scalability
MySQL offers a variety of replication methods, which involve exchanging data across two or more hosts in order to improve reliability, availability, and fault tolerance. This provides a backup option in the event of downtime, as well as for database scaling.
Disadvantages of MySQL
- Feature and function limitations
MySQL has several functional constraints. As it was built for speed and simplicity of use rather than full SQL conformance. It does not work well with bulk INSERTs and long-running SELECTs (commands in SQL). It also lacks full-text search and has sluggish concurrent read-writes.
PostgreSQL, also known as Postgres, is an open-source object-relational database that is essentially a relational database. It has capabilities such as table inheritance and function overloading that is more commonly associated with object databases. Nonetheless, PostgreSQL employs a client/server database model, similar to MySQL.
The Postgres process is the server process that receives client communications, manages database files, and performs database operations. Postgres is capable of efficiently handling multiple tasks at the same time, a characteristic known as concurrency. It is, however, not as popular as MySQL.
Advantages of PostgreSQL
- Parallel processing
PostgreSQL is the best database for analytical tasks like data warehousing. When conducting long SELECTs, such as in analytical applications, PostgreSQL outperforms MySQL due to its higher parallel processing power.
- SQL Compliance
PostgreSQL strives to conform to SQL standards more closely than SQLite or MySQL. PostgreSQL offers 160 of the 179 features required for full core SQL:2011 compliance, as well as a vast range of optional capabilities, according to the official PostgreSQL documentation.
Users can extend PostgreSQL programmatically and on the fly which makes it a perfect candidate for research and scientific projects.
Disadvantages of PostgreSQL
- Memory performance
When compared to MySQL, PostgreSQL is more power-hungry. It can take up to 10 MB per connection for PostgreSQL to fork off a process for new client connections, which can add up quickly for databases with many connections. As a result, PostgreSQL is often slower than other RDBMSs, such as MySQL, for simple read-intensive operations.
PostgreSQL lags behind MySQL in terms of popularity. Although, it was extensively used in recent years. As a result, there are fewer third-party tools available to assist in the management of PostgreSQL databases. Similarly, compared to database administrators with MySQL experience, there are fewer database administrators with Postgres experience.
SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL are the most popular open-source relational database management systems in the world today. Each has its own unique features and limitations and shines in specific scenarios. When choosing an RDBMS, there are many factors to consider, and the decision is rarely as straightforward as picking the fastest or most feature-rich option.
PostgreSQL would be a great contender thanks to features like parallel processing and concurrency. SQLite, on the other hand, would shine in embedded and IoT applications, where the SQLite library’s minimal footprint would offer it a significant advantage over its rivals. On the contrary, if you’re working on a multi-user application, SQLite is a bad choice, and you’ll need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of PostgreSQL and MySQL.
To assist you in making this decision, we have compiled a list of comparisons between SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
|Server OS||Serverless||Linux, Windows, Solaris, OS X, FreeBSD||Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, HP-UX, NetBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Solaris, Unix|
|Programming Language (Base Code)||C||C, C++||C|
|Popular Use-Cases||Low-Medium Traffic Websites, IoT and Embedded Devices, Testing and Development, Educational Purposes.||Web Sites, Web Applications||Analytics, Data Mining, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence|
|DBaaS||None||Azure, Amazon RDS, Google Cloud||Azure, Amazon RDS, Google Cloud|
|Key Customers||Adobe, Facebook, and Apple||GitHub, Facebook, and YouTube||Cloudera, Instagram, and ViaSat|