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What are the key differences between MariaDB and MySQL?
What are the key differences between MariaDB and MySQL?
Rapyd Team avatar
Written by Rapyd Team
Updated over a week ago

MariaDB and MySQL are both popular databases used to store information for websites, applications, and more. Think of them as huge, organized digital filing cabinets where your website keeps all its important data. But even though they might seem similar, there are key differences that can affect your decision about which one to use. This article will unpack those differences, diving into the pros and cons of MariaDB and MySQL to help you make an informed choice.

Databases are to websites what libraries are to towns: vital repositories of information. And just as libraries can be unique in their own ways, so can databases. This article will look at two such databases—MariaDB and MySQL. We will explore their origins, discuss how fast and secure they are, and even delve into how easy it is to grow your database as your website expands. Whether you're setting up a new website or considering a switch, this article will offer a detailed, yet easy-to-understand comparison to help you decide between MariaDB and MySQL.

Origins and Historical Background of MariaDB and MySQL

In the early years, MySQL was the go-to database for many developers. It was created by a company that was later acquired by Oracle. MariaDB was developed by the original creators of MySQL as an alternative after concerns about Oracle's acquisition. In essence, MariaDB is a branch that sprouted from the MySQL tree. Knowing the history is important because it explains why these two databases are so similar but also why they have diverged over time.

Performance and Speed

When it comes to keeping your website running quickly and smoothly, the performance of your database is key. MariaDB is often praised for its speed in specific tasks, thanks to some specialized storage engines (think of these as different methods for storing and retrieving data). MySQL also has robust performance capabilities but may fall short in some specialized tasks compared to MariaDB.

Security Features

Security is like the lock on your front door; you want it to be as strong as possible to keep out intruders. MariaDB has some built-in features that make it a little more secure out-of-the-box. MySQL is also secure but might require additional configurations (settings) to match MariaDB's in-built security measures.

Scalability and Flexibility

Scalability is the ability of your database to grow as your website or application becomes more popular. Flexibility refers to how easily you can customize or adapt the database to specific needs. Both databases offer good scalability, but MariaDB edges out slightly in flexibility due to its open-source nature. This means you can more easily modify MariaDB to suit your specific needs.

Licensing and Cost

When running a website, costs can add up quickly. MariaDB is fully open-source, meaning you can use it at no cost and even modify it if you need to. MySQL offers both free and paid versions, with the paid versions offering additional features. For small businesses or individual developers, the cost could be a significant factor in choosing between the two.

Community Support

Behind every great software, there's often a community of developers and users offering support. MariaDB, being open-source, has a vibrant community that contributes to its development. MySQL has a more corporate backing but still enjoys good community support, although it's not as strong as MariaDB's.


MariaDB and MySQL are both robust databases, each with their own set of pros and cons. MariaDB offers better security features out-of-the-box and greater flexibility due to its open-source nature. MySQL, on the other hand, is a tried-and-true option with solid performance and the backing of a large corporation. Your decision between the two will depend on what you prioritize more—whether it's speed, security, cost, or flexibility. Either way, you're choosing between two strong options, and this article aims to provide you with the insights to make that decision a little bit easier.

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