Key differences between MySQL vs PostgreSQL

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) currently developed by Oracle with open-source code. This code is available for free under the GNU General Public License, and commercial versions of MySQL are also available under various proprietary agreements. PostgreSQL is an object-RDBMS (ORDBMS) that’s developed by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. It also has an open source, which is released under the permissive PostgresSQL License. The differences between MySQL and PostgreSQL include the following key categories:

  • Governance
  • Supported platforms
  • Access Methods
  • Partitioning
  • Replication
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The governance model around the MySQL and PostgreSQL is one of the more significant differences between the two database technologies. MySQL is controlled by Oracle, whereas Postgres is available under an open-source license from the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. As such, there has been increasing interest in Postgres over the past few years. Both are open source, but Postgres has gained in popularity recently.

Supported Platforms

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL can run on the Linux, OS X, Solaris and Windows operating systems (OSs). Linux is an open-source OS, OS X is developed by Apple, Solaris is developed by Oracle and Windows is developed by Microsoft. MySQL also supports the FreeBSD OS, which is open source. PostgreSQL supports the HP-UX operating system, which is developed by Hewlett Packard, and the open-source Unix OS.

Access Methods

Access methods that are common to both MySQL and PostgreSQL include ADO.NET, JDBC and ODBC. ADO.NET is a set of Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) that programmers use to access data based on XML. JDBC is an API for the Java programming language that accesses databases, while ODBC is a standard API for accessing databases. PostgreSQL can also be accessed with routines from the platform’s native C library as well as streaming APIs for large objects.


MySQL and PostgreSQL differ significantly with respect to their partitioning methods, which determine how data is stored on different nodes of the database. MySQL uses a proprietary technology called MySQL Cluster to perform horizontal clustering, which consists of creating multiple clusters with a single cluster instance within each node. PostgreSQL doesn’t implement true partitioning, although it can provide a similar capability with table inheritance. This task involves using a separate sub-table to control each “partition.”


A database may use multiple methods to store redundant data across multiple nodes. MySQL uses master-master replication, in which each node can update the data. Both MySQL and PostgreSQL can perform master-slave replication, where one node controls the storage of data by the other nodes. PostgreSQL can also handle other types of replication with the implementation of third-party extensions.

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