MariaDB and MySQL – which one should you choose in 2024?

Both are widely used for different applications in web development, and so in this post we will provide a detailed analysis and comparison of both MySQL and MariaDB to help you decide which one is better suited for your needs.

Let’s dive right in!

What is MySQL?

MySQL is a widely used open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by MySQL AB, now owned by Oracle Corporation. It stores data in a structured format using rows and columns, making it easy for users to create, manage, and manipulate databases.

MySQL is renowned for its reliability, scalability, and ease of use, as it is compatible with many programming languages, frameworks, and tools, offering connectors and APIs for popular languages such as PHP, Python, Java, and more.

Suggested read: How to Change/Reset MySQL Root Password on Ubuntu Linux? 

Pros & Cons of MySQL


  • MySQL is a free and open-source database which means you don’t need to pay anything to use it.
  • MySQL is compatible with most operating systems and programming languages which makes it versatile.
  • MySQL has a simple syntax and is easy to use.
  • It is scalable and capable of handling millions of rows.


  • MySQL is not very efficient in handling extremely large databases and it can slow down as the database grows over time.
  • It doesn’t have as good a developing and debugging tool as compared to paid databases.
  • MySQL is prone to data corruption as it is inefficient in handling transactions.

Who Uses MySQL?

MySQL is widely used in the software industry, and to illustrate this, here are a few interesting insights from the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey:

  • 41% of all respondents use MySQL, indicating its widespread adoption across different user categories.
  • 40.5% of professional developers use MySQL, highlighting its importance in the professional coding and development community.
  • Interestingly, 45% of those learning to code also use MySQL, suggesting its role as a fundamental tool for beginners in coding and database management.
  • Among those who have worked with MariaDB, another popular open-source database system, 5,290 respondents expressed a desire to work with MySQL.
  • MySQL is not only desired by 24% of respondents, but also admired by 50%, reflecting its reputation and popularity in the tech community.

These statistics highlight MySQL’s significant role in both professional and learning environments, and its continued relevance in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Suggested Read: How To Properly Backup Your Website (Disaster Recovery) with RunCloud 

What is MariaDB?

MariaDB is another popular open-source RDBMS developed by the original creators of MySQL due to concerns over its acquisition by Oracle Corporation. MariaDB is designed to maintain high compatibility with MySQL, allowing it to function as a drop-in replacement in many cases.

It is part of most cloud offerings (including RunCloud) and is the default in most Linux distributions. MariaDB is known for its speed, scalability, and robustness, with a rich ecosystem of plugins and storage engines making it versatile for a wide variety of use cases.

Pros & Cons of MariaDB


  • MariaDB is a free MySQL clone with improvements such as faster speed and better replication.
  • It is open-source, easy to install, and reliable for business critical workloads.
  • MariaDB offers better query execution and is great for large data sets.
  • Switching to MariaDB from MySQL is a simple task.
  • MariaDB supports more storage engines compared to MySQL.


  • While MariaDB strives to maintain compatibility with MySQL, new features are diverging, which might cause issues for some applications.
  • MariaDB has a relatively smaller community compared to MySQL

Who Uses MariaDB?

MariaDB is used by a diverse group of individuals and professionals. Here are some key insights from the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023:

  • 17.61% of all respondents in the survey reported using MariaDB.
  • Among professional developers, the usage of MariaDB is slightly higher at 17.69%.
  • For those who are learning to code, 12.34% reported using MariaDB.
  • 5,813 of the total respondents who worked with MySQL expressed a desire to work with MariaDB.
  • MariaDB is desired by 11%, and admired by 53% of respondents.

These statistics highlight the widespread use and appreciation of MariaDB in the developer community.

Difference Between MariaDB vs MySQL

MariaDB and MySQL are both open-source relational database management systems (RDBMS) that store data in a tabular format. Let’s see how they both differ from each other:

OwnershipMariaDB is entirely open-source.MySQL is owned and distributed by Oracle. It has one fully open-source version and one paid enterprise version.
LicensingMariaDB is fully licensed under GPL v2.MySQL is available under GPL or proprietary license.
PerformanceMariaDB is often considered to excel as it provides enhanced speed and efficiency compared to MySQL.MySQL’s performance may be slower compared to MariaDB on some large databases.
CompatibilityMariaDB is designed to maintain high compatibility with MySQL.MySQL is compatible with a wide range of systems.
A table showing difference Between MariaDB vs MySQL

Suggested read: How To Install phpMyAdmin Easily Using RunCloud 

MySQL vs. MariaDB: Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing between MySQL and MariaDB, both share a common ancestry. However, they have distinct features and characteristics that can influence your decision.

Let’s take a look at the key differences and help you make an informed choice:

1. Licensing:

  • MySQL: Follows a dual-license approach. While the community edition is open-source under the GNU General Public License (GPL), the commercial version has a different license.
  • MariaDB: MariaDB is fully GPL licensed, emphasizing openness and community-driven development.

2. Performance:

  • MariaDB: In many scenarios, MariaDB offers improved performance compared to MySQL. Benchmarks have shown that MariaDB can handle certain workloads more efficiently.
  • MySQL: While MySQL is reliable, some users find MariaDB’s performance enhancements appealing.

3. Storage Engines:

  • MariaDB: Supports a wide range of storage engines, including InnoDB, Aria, TokuDB, and MyRocks. This flexibility allows you to choose the most suitable engine for your specific use case.
  • MySQL: Also supports various engines, but its default storage engine is InnoDB.

4. Ecosystem:

  • MySQL: Oracle Corporation, the owner of MySQL, provides official support and services, which can be a critical factor for enterprises. For example, the MySQL Database Service allows database administrators to leverage existing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure user identities and group memberships for authentication into MySQL database service instances
  • MariaDB: Some tools and features specifically created for MySQL may not be fully supported in MariaDB.

Suggested read: SQLite vs MySQL vs PostgreSQL (Detailed Comparison) 

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that MySQL has an extensive and well-established  ecosystem which is backed by Oracle providing a sense of security and reliability for enterprises, while MariaDB offers a strong alternative with its own set of features and community support.

  • If you value openness, performance, and community-driven development, MariaDB is an excellent choice as it provides a seamless migration path from MySQL and offers additional features.
  • However, if you have specific requirements or are already invested in the MySQL ecosystem, MySQL remains a solid option.

Managing your own server infrastructure can be tedious and time-consuming – why not leave it to the experts?

With RunCloud, you can manage and deploy your web applications with a single click, without any hassle – you don’t need to be a Linux expert to manage your servers. RunCloud gives you the time to focus on what you do best, while we handle the server management for you.

Start using RunCloud today and experience the ease of stress-free server management.

FAQs – MariaDB vs MySQL

Why is MySQL replaced by MariaDB?

The original developers of MySQL created MariaDB to ensure the preservation of MySQL’s structure and features after it was acquired by Oracle Corporation.

Which One to Use for WordPress MariaDB or MySQL?

While both MariaDB and MySQL are suitable for WordPress, many WordPress hosting providers offer MariaDB as a database option by default as it includes many improvements and optimizations over MySQL, especially in performance and scalability.

Do people still use MySQL?

Yes, MySQL is still widely used by a wide range of websites and applications, including household brands such as Spotify, Netflix, Facebook, and

Is there a workbench for MariaDB?

Yes, MySQL Workbench, an application for database design, development, maintenance, and testing for several database systems, can also connect to MariaDB.

How secure is MariaDB?

MariaDB secures data at every layer – from encrypted communication and storage, to pluggable authentication and role-based access control. It also has an advanced database proxy with a built-in firewall to detect and prevent data breaches by blocking queries and masking sensitive data.

Is MariaDB a NoSQL database?

While MariaDB is primarily an SQL database, it does have some NoSQL capabilities, including the NoSQL protocol module that allows a MariaDB server or cluster to execute transactions for applications using MongoDB client libraries.

Can I use MariaDB on Windows?

Yes, MariaDB can be installed and used on Windows.

Is MariaDB suitable for big data?

Yes, MariaDB is suitable for big data as it supports various storage engines that enhance its performance compared to other databases for similar workloads.

Why PostgreSQL over MySQL?

PostgreSQL offers some advantages over MySQL, such as full compliance with the SQL standard, extensive support for NoSQL features such as JSON and hstore, and a powerful extension system that allows you to extend its functionality.

Is MariaDB’s syntax the same as MySQL?

Yes, MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, and was designed to be highly compatible with MySQL. It therefore uses the same SQL statements for querying and modifying data.