Difference Between SQL and MySQL

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Difference Between SQL and MySQL

Vinay Khatri
Last updated on May 22, 2024

    Handling and maintaining massive datasets would be a heck of a task if it were not for database tools. These database technologies make it simple and keep everything organized. Every set of applications, whether it is a native software or web application, depends on a database for the dynamic approach of content management. Databases play a vital role in every organization since they act as a central place for storing all the essential information. A database is a well-managed collection of digital data. Also, it is easy to access, update, and manipulate the data stored in a database. A database management system (DBMS) is responsible for managing databases. It is software that acts as an interface between end-users or other applications and databases. It enables users to insert, retrieve, update, delete, and manage data stored in a database. A relational database is a type of database that organizes data in the form of rows and columns, i.e., tables. Also, MySQL is one of the most popular relational database management systems out there. But how to access and manipulate data stored in relational databases? Well, this is where SQL comes into play. SQL, Structured Query Language, is a domain-specific language used for managing data stored in relational database management systems (RDBMS). In general, SQL makes it possible to manage structured data. If you are new to the concept of databases and are not aware of MySQL and SQL, you have landed at the right place. This article aims to introduce you to MySQL and SQL and all the key differences between them. Also, we will help you learn the features, advantages, and disadvantages of SQL as well as MySQL. So, let us get started!

    What is RDBMS?

    RDBMS is an acronym for the relational database management system, and we often use this term when we deal with SQL and database tools that use SQL. RDBMS is a type of database management system that stores data in a tabular format using rows and columns. A relational database is computer software that is used to store, modify, update and administrate data in the database. Using RDBMS, we can create relational databases that use rows and columns to store and organize the data. Here, each data value has a relation with its corresponding row and column, and that’s why we call it a relational database. MySQL, SQL Server, SQLite , and PostgreSQL are some examples of relational database management systems. These systems help to create a relational database and modify, update, store and retrieve data from it.

    What is MySQL?

    MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) by Oracle Corporation. It is free software available under the GNU General Public License and many other proprietary licenses. It is compatible with all major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD. The name of this relational database management system is the combination of ‘My’, the daughter’s name of co-founder Michael Widenius, and ‘SQL’, a structured query language. MySQL is one of the four components of the LAMP web application software stack. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/PHP/Python. Many renowned data-driven websites, like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and phpBB, and popular websites, like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter, use MySQL database management system.


    Initially, MySQL was developed by MySQL AB, a Swedish company. In 1994, Widenius and Axmark began the development of MySQL and released the first version in May 1995. It was created for personal use based on the low-level language ISAM, which was slow and inflexible. Later, they created a new SQL interface for MySQL by retaining the mSQL API. Till 2008, many versions of MySQL, i.e., version 3.19, 3.20, 3.21, 3.22, 3.23, 4.0, 4.1, and 5.0, were released, and then Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL AB. After that, Sun Microsystems released MySQL version 5.1, and in 2010, Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems. The first version of MySQL under Oracle Corporation was MySQL 5.5, released at the end of 2010. Later, they developed MySQL 5.6 in 2013, 5.7 in 2015, and 8.0 in 2018. The latest version of MySQL is 8.0.

    Features of MySQL

    Here are some of the significant features of MySQL:

    • Client-Server Architecture

    MySQL database software follows the client-server architecture , where the primary database MySQL is a server and application programs are clients. A client communicates with MySQL Server to retrieve and manipulate data using SQL queries. The server and client can be on the same or different systems. If the server and client are on different machines, they communicate via the internet.

    • Compatible with Multiple Platforms

    MySQL is compatible with all major platforms, including FreeBSD, Windows, Linux, macOS, Solaris, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Symbian, OpenSolaris, and SCO OpenServer.

    • ODBC Support

    With Open Database Connectivity, we can address MySQL using programming languages, such as Delphi and Visual basic.

    • Views, Triggers, and Stored Procedures

    MySQL supports views, triggers, and stored procedures, which are SQL elements, from version 5.0 onwards. These SQL elements help users to manage large databases efficiently.

    • Dual Password Support

    MySQL version 8.0 provides support for dual passwords, where one password is primary, and the other is secondary. Therefore, users can make changes to their credentials hassle-free.

    • MySQL Workbench

    MySQL Workbench is a visual database design tool for the MySQL database system that brings SQL development, database design, and administration under one roof.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of MySQL

    Let us discuss the advantages and disadvantages of MySQL.


    • MySQL database system has a simple, consistent, and user-friendly interface. With the basic knowledge of SQL, you can effectively interact with the MySQL Server.
    • This DBMS is open-source and free to download.
    • It is one of the most secure and reliable relational database management systems.
    • MySQL follows ACID properties, multi-version transactions, and unrestricted low-level locking, which ensure data integrity.
    • It provides built-in tools for spatial analysis and query analysis.


    • MySQL version 5.0 and less does not support ROLE, COMMIT, and stored procedures.
    • It does not manage large volumes of datasets efficiently.
    • MySQL database system does not handle transactions effectively, and hence it may sometimes result in data corruption.
    • It does not support the SQL CHECK constraint.

    What is SQL?

    SQL stands for structured Query Language. It is a domain-specific language designed for managing data stored in relational database management systems (RDBMS) and follows a declarative paradigm. In addition, it is also used for stream processing in relational data stream management systems (RDSMS). This domain-specific language offers two advantages over older read-write APIs, such as ISAM and VSAM. The first is SQL has made it possible to access multiple records with a single SQL command. The second advantage is that it has eliminated the need to specify how to reach a particular record. Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce designed SQL based on relational tuple calculus and relational algebra. It consists of many types of statements, which would informally be referred to as sublanguages, such as a Data Definition Language (DCL), Data Manipulation Language (DML), Data Control Language (DCL), and Data Query Language (DQL). SQL was one of the first query languages to use the relational model of E.F. Codd. In 1986, SQL became a standard of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and in the following year, it became the standard of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).


    After learning about the relational model from E.F. Codd, Donald D. Chamberlin, and Raymond F. Boyce first developed SQL at IBM in the early 1970s. Initially, they named this relational database language as SQUARE (Specifying Queries in A Relational Environment). But this language was difficult to use because of its subscript/superscript notation. In 1973, Chamberlain and Boyce started working on SQUARE to design its sequel called SEQUEL. SEQUEL stands for Structured English Query Language. They designed it especially for manipulating and retrieving data stored in IBM’s original quasi relational database management system, called System R. Finally, they renamed SEQUEL as SQL (Structured Query Language).

    Features of SQL

    The following are the salient features of SQL:

    • Data Definition Language (DDL)

    Data Definition Language (DDL) is a language for creating and modifying the structure of database objects, such as tables, indices, and users. DDL commands are CREATE, DROP, ALTER, TRUNCATE, and RENAME.

    • Data Manipulation Language (DML)

    Data Manipulation Language (DML) is a language for adding, deleting, and modifying data stored in a database. DML commands are SELECT, INSERT, DELETE, UPDATE, and MERGE.

    • Data Control Language (DCL)

    Data Control Language (DCL) includes GRANT and REVOKE commands used to control the access to a database.

    • Embedded SQL

    Embedded SQL is a method of combining the data manipulation capabilities of SQL and the computing power of a programming language. In other words, we can embed SQL queries into high-level languages, such as Python, C++, and Java.

    • Transaction Control Language (TCL)

    Transactional Control Language (TCL) is a language for managing transactions taking place in a database. TCL commands ROLLBACK, COMMIT, and SAVEPOINT.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of SQL

    Here are some upsides and downsides of SQL:


    • Faster Query Processing: Using SQL, we can process and retrieve large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. In addition, operations like insertion, deletion, and modifications are done in no time.
    • No Coding Skills: No complex coding is required since SQL uses English keywords in its syntax, like SELECT, INSERT, DELETE, UPDATE, DROP, etc., which are easy to learn.
    • Standard Language: As mentioned earlier, SQL is a standardized structured query language approved by ANSI and ISO.
    • Portable: SQL is portable since it is used in PCs, laptops, and servers having Windows, macOS, or Linux operating systems.
    • Interactive Language: SQL is an easy-to-understand language that can retrieve answers to complex queries in seconds.


    • Complex Interface: SQL has a poor interface, which makes it uncomfortable for many users while dealing with a database.
    • Cost: Some versions of SQL are expensive, and hence programmers cannot access them.
    • Partial Control: SQL does not grant complete control over databases due to hidden business rules.

    SQL vs MySQL: A Head-to-Head Comparison

    The following table draws the key differences between MySQL and SQL:

    Parameters MySQL SQL
    Definition MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that leverages SQL to query data from its databases. SQL is a structured query language designed for retrieving and managing data stored in relational databases.
    Developers Initially, a Swedish company, MySQL AB, developed MySQL. Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce developed SQL.
    Complexity You can readily download and install MySQL. You need to learn SQL before starting to use it.
    Syntax Since MySQL is software and not any programming language, it does not use any commands or have any particular syntax. Since SQL is a query language, its syntax is declarative and easy to learn.
    Programming Languages MySQL supports all major programming languages, including C, C++, Perl, Ruby, Python, and PHP. SQL itself is a language for querying data in relational databases.
    Support for connector This database software comes with an integrated tool called MySQL Workbench, which is a visual database design tool. It does not provide any connectors.
    Updates MySQL gets frequent and regular updates. SQL is a fixed query language, and the syntax and commands remain the same.

    Which One to Choose – MySQL or SQL?

    The primary and the most significant difference between SQL and MySQL is that SQL is a structured query language, whereas MySQL is a relational database management system. Also, all relational database management systems use SQL as their standard query language. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to choose one between MySQL or SQL because MySQL uses SQL as a query language. Moreover, it is impossible to retrieve and manage data stored in the MySQL databases without SQL.

    Difference Between SQL and MySQL - Key Takeaways

    • SQL is a programming language, and MySQL is a popular relational database management system that uses SQL to create and communicate with databases.
    • To learn MySQL, learning SQL is a prerequisite. However, if you learn SQL, you can use any relational database management system.
    • The main task of SQL is to deal with data and query commands. On the contrary, an RDBMS provides a structured way to use SQL queries.
    • SQL is a pretty stable language, and it does not require regular updates. Whereas MySQL is a software product. Thus, like other software, it needs frequent updates.
    • MySQL uses SQL, and apart from SQL, there are many other tools and features we get in MySQL.


    With this, we have reached the end of our SQL vs MySQL article. If you are into learning SQL, then you have to use an RDBMS to learn the necessary SQL commands . It does not matter which RDBMS software you use; the SQL syntax and commands are pretty much similar. In programming languages, you do not download a programming language. Instead, you download a tool that can execute that programming script. Similarly, we cannot download the SQL language. Instead, we install a tool like MySQL to execute SQL commands. We hope you like this article, and you get to know something new. If you have any suggestions related to this article, please let us know by commenting down below. People are also reading:

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