MariaDB vs MySQL: Which One is a Better Choice?

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MariaDB vs MySQL: Which One is a Better Choice?

Maaz Bin Asad
Last updated on June 15, 2024

    MySQL and MariaDB are two popular relational databases . Interestingly, MariaDB is an extended version of MySQL. Both MariaDB and MySQL use SQL as a query language, store data in the form of tables, use a similar port to connect, and use the same configuration files. Despite both databases having a similar structure, they have different elements and features.

    In this article, we will highlight all the major differences between MySQL and MariaDB databases and try to find out which one is the best to use. But before moving to that, let us first see what MySQL and MariaDB databases are along with their advantages and disadvantages.

    So, without further ado, let us get started.

    What is MySQL?

    MySQL is one of the most extensively used and open-source relational database management systems, which was initially released in May 1995. Developed in C and C++ languages and licensed under the GNU General Public License, MySQL is compatible with macOS, FreeBSD, Windows, Solaris, and Linux systems.

    It has its name from a combination of ‘My’, the daughter’s name of co-founder Micheal Widenius, and ‘SQL’, an acronym for Structured Query Language. Initially, MySQL was owned by MySQL AB, a Swedish company. However, Sun Microsystems acquired it in 2008. In 2010, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems.

    Advantages of MySQL

    • It ensures high-level security of the data.
    • MySQL ensures data integrity as it follows the ACID properties, multi-version lock transactions, and unrestricted low-level locking.
    • It has built-in tools for query and spatial analysis.
    • Due to the simplicity of its design and support for several storage engines, MySQL provides higher performance than other relational databases.

    Disadvantages of MySQL

    • It is not ideal for large data sets.
    • As MySQL is owned by Oracle, it imposes a lot of restrictions.
    • It is hard to scale.


    Before we move to MariaDB, it is essential to understand the term ‘fork’. A project fork in software engineering occurs when the copy of source code from one software package is taken by developers to create another software on it independently.

    What is MariaDB?

    MariaDB is a fork of MySQL relational database management system. It is open-source and licensed under the GNU General Public License. We can say that MariaDB is an extended version of MySQL. Some of the original developers of MySQL felt that there was a conflict between Oracle’s relational database and MySQL. Therefore, they developed a fork of MySQL and named it MariaDB.

    This database management system is written in C, C++, Perl, and Bash languages and is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. It is designed to maintain compatibility with MySQL and comes with various robust built-in features that are not present in MySQL.

    Advantages of MariaDB

    • MariaDB has built-in storage engines that can seamlessly integrate with other relational databases.
    • It supports one of the most popular web development languages, PHP.
    • The ColumnStore feature of MariaDB supports big data operations.
    • MariaDB offers the Galera cluster technology.

    Disadvantages of MariaDB

    • As MariaDB is new in the DBMS market, there is no guarantee for further updates and versions.
    • You need to pay for support.

    MariaDB vs MySQL: A Head-to-Head Comparison Table

    Let us now see how MariaDB and MySQL databases differ from each other.

    Parameters MySQL MariaDB
    Initial release MySQL was initially released in 1995. MariaDB was initially released in 2015.
    Written in It is written in C and C++. It is written in C, C++, Perl, and Bash.
    Replacement MySQL does not provide a replacement for MariaDB. MariaDB provides a drop-in replacement for MySQL.
    Database views When you query a view in MySQL, all other tables associated with that view get queried, even though the query may not require some of the tables. When you query a view in MariaDB, the tables required by the query are only queried.
    ColumnStore MySQL does not offer the ColumnStore feature. MariaDB provides the ColumnStore feature. It is a distributed data architecture that scales MariaDB significantly to store petabytes of data across multiple servers in a database cluster.
    Flash storage There is no flash storage in MySQL. It has an engine called MyRocks that adds the RocksDB database to it. This database provides better performance in flash storage.
    Virtual Columns MySQL does not have the feature of Virtual Columns. MariaDB incorporates Virtual Columns, and these columns can perform calculations at the database level.
    Storage engines This database offers fewer options for storage than MariaDB. To use storage engines with MySQL, you need to install them manually. This database offers numerous engines, like MyRocks, ColumnStore, and Aria.
    Operating system support MySQL supports Windows, FreeBSD, macOS, Linux, and Solaris systems. MariaDB sports Windows, Linux, and macOS systems.
    Thread pooling Thread pooling is available in MySQL’s Enterprise edition but not in the Community edition. Also, it cannot support more than 200,000 connections. Thread pooling in MariaDB supports more than 200,000 connections.
    Data Masking The Enterprise edition of MySQL offers the data masking feature. There is no data masking feature in MariaDB.
    Accessibility of proprietary code Proprietary code is accessible in the Enterprise edition of MySQL. Proprietary code is not accessible in MariaDB.
    Binary logs or temporary tablespace MySQL does not support temporary tablespace and binary logs. MariaDB supports both temporary tablespace and binary logs.
    Number of forks There are 1600 forks in MySQL. There are 868 forks in MariaDB.
    Secondary database model Document Store. Graph DBMS and Document Store.
    Routing MySQL Router. MariaDB MaxScale.
    Monitoring MySQL Workbench. SQLyog.
    Companies using Famous companies like Airbnb, Netflix, Dropbox, and Uber Technologies use MySQL. Companies like Docplanner, Accenture, Nrise, and Grooveshark use MariaDB.


    From the above comparison, we can conclude that MariaDB outperforms MySQL because it offers several features that are not available in MySQL. Therefore, choosing MariaDB over MySQL as a primary back-end database can be a great move.

    In this article, we have highlighted all the major differences between MySQL and MariaDB databases. Though MariaDB offers more features than MySQL, we recommend you choose the one that meets your project requirements.

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    MariaDB is a fork database management system (DBMS) of MySQL.

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    MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, and hence, it is a lightweight and improvised version of MySQL.

    Yes, it is possible to install MySQL and MariaDB on the same server just like installing two instances on the same server.

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