MongoDB vs MySQL: A Detailed Comparison

Posted in /   /   /  

MongoDB vs MySQL: A Detailed Comparison

Maaz Bin Asad
Last updated on May 22, 2024

    MongoDB and MySQL are two well-known and widely used databases. While MySQL is a relational or SQL database, MongoDB is a NoSQL or non-relational database . MongoDB is particularly used to store unstructured data, whereas MySQL has its application in developing web applications, and both these databases are open-source.

    This article will walk you through the differences between MongoDB and MySQL databases. To begin with, we shall discuss MongoDB and MySQL databases with their pros and cons.

    So, let us get started!

    What is MongoDB?

    MongoDB is a document-oriented, cross-platform NoSQL database. Licensed under the Server Side Public License, MongoDB is developed by MongoDB Inc. It is an ideal choice for storing vast amounts of distributed data. It is compatible with Windows Vista and later, OS X 10.7 and higher, Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD systems.

    In addition, MongoDB offers official driver support for major programming languages, including Python, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, Perl, Java, Go, Scala, and Swift. It does not use tables like relational databases; instead, it consists of collections and documents to store data.

    A collection is a set of documents, and documents are in the BSON format, i.e., a binary representation of JSON documents. While collections are similar to rows, documents are similar to columns in relational databases .

    The data in documents is stored in the form of key-value pairs, called fields. The field values can be any of the BSON data types, like string, boolean, double, etc. In addition, MongoDB supports nested or embedded documents, i.e., a document inside another document.

    Pros of MongoDB

    • There is no need to design a database’s schema as it is a schemaless NoSQL database.
    • With the majority of data being stored in RAM, MongoDB accelerates the execution of queries.
    • MongoDB supports sharding, i.e., it splits data into small chunks and stores them on multiple MongoDB instances. Therefore, MongoDB offers horizontal scalability.
    • It can seamlessly integrate with Hadoop.
    • Queries in MongoDB are easier to understand and learn than SQL queries.
    • It creates multiple copies of data and distributes these copies to various servers. Hence, even if one server fails, the data can be accessed from another server.

    Cons of MongoDB

    • As MongoDB stores most of the data in RAM, it requires more memory.
    • The maximum BSON document size in MongoDB is 16 MB.
    • It does not allow the nesting of documents for more than 100 levels.

    What is MySQL?

    MySQL is an open-source SQL or relational database management system (RDBMS). Micheal Widenius is the co-founder of MySQL, and he named this database management system by combining his daughter’s name ‘My’ with the acronym of Structured Query Language, ‘SQL.’ MySQL is owned and maintained by Oracle Corporation.

    Licensed under the GNU General Public License, it is a cross-platform RDBMS compatible with Linux, FreeBSD, macOS, Windows, and Solaris. MySQL stores data in the form of tables, i.e., rows and columns, and uses the Structured Query Language (SQL) to access and retrieve the stored data.

    Unlike MongoDB, MySQL requires users to define a specific database schema depending upon the requirements. The schema also needs to mention rules that define the relations among various fields of a table.

    Pros of MySQL

    • Data security is one of the most desirable benefits of MySQL.
    • It is a go-to solution for data integrity as it follows the ACID properties, unrestricted low-level locking, and multi-version transaction.
    • MySQL offers various built-in tools for spatial analysis and query analysis.
    • It supports trigger-based and log-based replication SSL.

    Cons of MySQL

    • Transactions associated with the system catalog do not follow the ACID properties.
    • MySQL versions less than 5.0 do not support stored procedures, COMMIT, and ROLE.
    • It does not handle large data sets efficiently.
    • Poor performance scaling.

    MongoDB vs MySQL

    Following are the key differences between MySQL and MongoDB databases:

    MySQL MongoDB
    It stores data in the form of tables. It stores data in the form of collections and documents.
    You need to define the schema of a database in MySQL before inserting data. MongoDB is a schema-less database, i.e., it does not require you to define the structure of documents.
    As MySQL uses rigid tables, developing applications using MySQL is relatively slower. Data in MongoDB is stored in the form of JSON documents, which accelerates the application development process by 4 to 5 times.
    Data in MySQL is stored across multiple tables. Hence, we need to access multiple tables to read or write data. Reading and writing data in MongoDB take place in a single document; each document contains the data required for a single entity.
    Each data record is stored as a row in a table. In MongoDB, each data record is stored as a document.
    It is ideal for storing structured data. It is a perfect choice for storing structured as well as unstructured data.
    The Structured Query Language (SQL) is used to access and retrieve data from a database. It uses JavaScript as a query language.
    MySQL supports joins. MongoDB supports nested or embedded documents.
    You can consider using MySQL if data security is the primary factor. You can use MongoDB if the majority of your services are cloud-based.


    MongoDB has gained a lot of popularity due to its ability to manage vast amounts of data with ease. On the other hand, MySQL serves to be the best option in terms of data security and is also well-known for its flexibility and high performance. If you need to work with unstructured data or are unable to predefine the schema, you can opt for MongoDB.

    We have mentioned all the major differences between MongoDB and MySQL databases in this article. Both the databases have distinct features, and choosing one over the other entirely depends on your project’s requirements.

    People are also reading:


    The primary difference between MongoDB and MySQL is that MongoDB is a NoSQL database, while MySQL is a relational database.

    If you have structured data that needs a traditional relational database, MySQL is an excellent option. On the other hand, if your data is unstructured, MongoDB is ideal. It is well-suited for content management, real-time analytics, IoT, mobile, and other applications.

    Since MongoDB is a schemaless database, it is easier than MySQL. This means that there is no need to define a schema in MongoDB before storing data, unlike relational databases.

    The major disadvantage of MongoDB is that it does not support transactions.

    Yes, MongoDB is a perfect database option for extremely large and unstructured datasets.

    Leave a Comment on this Post