If you’re trying to find a database system, you may find yourself pondering the advantages between MariaDB vs MySQL.

MariaDB is a community-developed fork of the MySQL relational database management system with additions and MySQL code modifications made in order to improve its performance, scalability, and features. It is backward-compatible with MySQL, meaning that it can still be used to store data and run applications that were created using MySQL. So, it’s a version of MySQL, not a separate product.

two people looking at computer screens

MySQL is the most widely used open-source relational database management system in the world. It is produced as a general-purpose database that is now used for web applications, embedded systems, and traditional desktop applications. MySQL is also known for its reliability and ease of use.

Both MariaDB and MySQL make use of SQL: Structured Query Language.

SQL for Data Analysis: Beginner MySQL Business Intelligence

Last Updated April 2022

Bestseller
  • 103 lectures
  • All Levels
4.7 (5,594)

Learn SQL database querying w/ MySQL Workbench. Perfect for SQL beginners and first-time coders. | By Maven Analytics, John Pauler

Explore Course

MariaDB: a faster, more efficient fork of MySQL

There are a few major differences between MariaDB and MySQL, but MariaDB can largely be considered a community-driven improvement on the MySQL codebase. MariaDB offers better security and speed and touts itself as a replacement for traditional MySQL.

The first major difference is that MariaDB is licensed under the GPL 2.0 license, while MySQL is licensed under the GPL 3.0 license. This GPL license difference means that MariaDB can be more easily integrated into closed source software applications, while MySQL cannot. However, both are open-source software, and both are distributed under a general public license.

The second major difference is that MariaDB has many features not found in MySQL, including support for stored procedures, triggers, and views. MariaDB also has a more advanced security model that includes support for role-based access control.

The third major difference is that the development of MariaDB is more community-driven than the development of MySQL. This means that there is a larger pool of developers working on MariaDB and that new features are added more quickly. In part, this is because MySQL has moved toward its enterprise edition.

Finally, MariaDB is typically faster and more scalable than MySQL. This is because MariaDB has been specifically optimized for performance, while MySQL has not.

Do MariaDB and MySQL use the same language?

For the most part, yes. MariaDB and MySQL use SQL, meaning that code written for one should usually work with the other. That won’t always be true; there may be functions written for one that isn’t carried over to the other. However, in general, you should be able to export a database from MySQL and directly import it into MariaDB without any major issues. Likewise, you should be able to plug MariaDB into a MySQL application with minimal changes.

Should MariaDB replace MySQL?

MariaDB is fully compatible with most MySQL applications. It is a drop-in replacement for MySQL, meaning you can use it without making any changes to your applications or data. You will just need to update your repositories. So, any company can drop MariaDB in if they want the advantages of MariaDB over MySQL.

That doesn’t mean that MariaDB should replace MySQL, especially across the entire market. MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, not a replacement. It’s been expressly designed to be more efficient, faster, and secure than MySQL, but that doesn’t always mean it will continuously achieve those goals.

Both MariaDB and MySQL are in active and conscientious development, and MySQL has the weight of momentum on its side. So, it cannot be said that MySQL itself won’t become more efficient, faster, and more secure than it is now. Currently, MySQL is still the better-known brand as it’s entrenched within the world’s major systems and is the preferred system of many developers.

Is MariaDB more popular than MySQL?

That is a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, MariaDB has experienced significantly faster growth than MySQL in recent years. On the other hand, MySQL is still more widely used. MariaDB likely has a busier and more active development community working on the system itself, but far fewer people are using MariaDB for their programs.

So, MySQL can be considered leaps and bounds more popular than MySQL, but that doesn’t necessarily say anything about the quality of either. MySQL has been around for a very long time. There are already countless major systems built upon MySQL, and because of that, people are more willing to start using MySQL.

Who uses MariaDB?

A lot of corporations that prize stability and scalability use MariaDB. Perhaps the most notable user of MariaDB is the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia has to serve extensive libraries of information and maintain that information actively, which is an impressive use of MariaDB. As MySQL doesn’t scale well and cannot handle large volumes of queries very efficiently, the transition makes sense.

How Can You Learn MariaDB?

There are a few different ways that you can learn MariaDB. Specifically, you’d be learning about the platform’s intricacies and how it diverges from MySQL because the rest is very similar to MySQL.

The best way to learn is to use an online tutorial. You can also find books about MariaDB, and there are some courses available that teach you both MySQL and MariaDB together. Finally, there are many online forums where you can ask questions and get help from the community and even the developers themselves because of how active they are.

Most people aren’t going to have an issue; if you know MySQL already, it’s just a matter of looking at the documentation and seeing how they diverge.

MySQL: a mainstay within the software industry

MySQL is a relational database management system. In fact, it’s the world’s most popular one. It was created in 1995 and released into the public domain under the GPL. Since it was released under the GPL, it was opened up to modifications and forks such as MariaDB.

MySQL is extraordinarily popular. A certification in MySQL can build a career. Individuals can move from database analysts to database architects based on MySQL alone. MySQL can range from an entry-level career to a six-figure salary in the right hands.

Unlike MariaDB, MySQL has instant levels of recognizability. Everyone knows what MySQL is. There is also the MySQL Enterprise Edition, which is fully supported for enterprises, and the MySQL Community Edition, which remains free.

Does MySQL have advantages over MariaDB?

Yes. MySQL is more widely used, has a more mature feature set, and is more reliable. If you are looking for a general-purpose database to use in your applications, MySQL is probably the better choice. If you are looking for a database that has been specifically optimized for performance, MariaDB is a better option.

More employers are going to be familiar with MySQL than MariaDB, especially in the career market. That means that there are more job listings available for those who have a background in MySQL than those who have a background in MariaDB. Compared to MySQL, MariaDB is still new and little-known.

If you’re looking for things like integrations, you will find that more things are built around MySQL. There are more administrative tools, add-ons, and plug-ins. Some of these may work with MariaDB, but there’s no guarantee. If they aren’t expressly supported in MariaDB, they could lead to performance or security issues.

For these reasons, most companies may want to move forward with MySQL unless they have an explicit reason to use MariaDB. Generally, that explicit reason requires the load-carrying and optimization that MariaDB is capable of.

Is MariaDB as secure as MySQL?

MariaDB has a number of features that make it more secure than MySQL, including support for role-based access control. However, you still need to take the necessary precautions to protect your data.

Having community leadership and development can occasionally be a double-edged sword. A professional team works on MySQL rolling out deployments now; MariaDB’s development structure is more fluid. In many ways, this means there are less likely to be security issues as any time the community notices something, it will be resolved. However, it also means that there is lessened accountability.

What is the difference between MySQL and SQL?

MySQL is a database, while SQL is the language used to interact with databases. MySQL is an implementation of SQL, as is MariaDB. You use the SQL language for either MySQL or MariaDB, but you don’t actually need to learn it “first.” As you start to learn MySQL, you will also learn SQL.

Who uses MySQL?

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms using MySQL. It is a robust system that’s easy to use and has some incredible add-ons and packages. At the same time, WordPress is also known to consume a significant volume of resources.

What are some good alternatives to MySQL and MariaDB?

If you are looking for a general-purpose database, PostgreSQL is a good alternative to MySQL. For a database that has been specifically optimized for performance, Cassandra is a good alternative to MariaDB. MongoDB is also a popular alternative to both MySQL and MariaDB. It is a document-oriented database that is well-suited for applications that require rapid data access.

Microsoft SQL is another alternative to MySQL and MariaDB. Like MySQL, it is a relational database management system. However, it is only available for Windows systems. It can also be expensive, although part of what you’re paying for is customer service and support.

Which should you choose: MariaDB vs MySQL?

Ultimately, it depends on your needs and preferences. If you need a reliable and easy database to use, then MySQL is a good choice. If you need a database with more features or one that is faster and more scalable, then MariaDB is the better choice.

However, it’s a good idea to learn MySQL first. Since MariaDB is built on MySQL, you don’t lose anything by learning MySQL — and you can gain both skill sets. Don’t forget you can always expand your knowledge on both databases by studying further with MySQL Courses and MariaDB Courses, both available on Udemy. 

Page Last Updated: April 2022

MySQL students also learn

Empower your team. Lead the industry.

Get a subscription to a library of online courses and digital learning tools for your organization with Udemy for Business.

Request a demo