SQLite vs MySQL – Which Database To Choose For Your App?

As a modern web developer, you know the importance of choosing the right database for your project. Whether you’re working on a small personal website or a large enterprise application, the database you choose can make or break your project.

But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which database is right for you. Should you go with a tried-and-true option like MySQL, or try something new like SQLite?

In this article, we’ll compare SQLite and MySQL to help you make an informed decision. We’ll look at their features, benefits, and usability data to give you a clear picture of what each database has to offer.

SQLite vs MySQL – At a Glance

Open SourceYesYes
LicensePublic DomainGPL
LanguageCC, C++, Java, Python, PHP
AccessibilityAll users have the same access levelUsers have different access levels
SecuritySimple file-level securityRobust server-level security
ScalabilityLimited scalabilityHigh scalability
Data TypesBasic data typesRich set of data types
ACID ComplianceYesYes
SpeedFastSlower than SQLite
ConcurrencyLimitedHigh concurrency
Memory UsageLowHigh memory usage
Storage SizeLimited to 281 terabytesVirtuall unlimited (65,536 TB)
UsabilityEasy to useRequires more expertise to use
SQLite vs MySQL – A quick comparison

SQLite Overview

SQLite is a database management system designed to store and handle data in a structured and organised manner. Because it is lightweight, simple to use, and very portable, it is a popular choice for many applications.

It provides a wide range of SQL functionality and is simple to integrate into a variety of applications. SQLite is commonly used to store data for mobile applications, web browsers, and other applications that require fast and efficient data access.

The syntax of SQLite is easy to understand and transition to if you’ve used another SQL-based database before.

Unlike many other RDBMSs, SQLite does not require a separate server process to operate and can be easily embedded in applications.

It is commonly used in applications that require a local database, such as web browsers, mobile devices, and desktop applications.

Features of SQLite

  • SQLite is a lightweight, stand-alone database engine that is simple to integrate with most applications.
  • It is a self-contained, serverless database, which means it does not require a separate server process or system to function.
  • SQLite supports conventional SQL commands as well as custom extensions for additional functionality.
  • SQLite employs dynamic typing, which implies that data is not firmly typed and can be stored in any column independent of its defined data type.
  • SQLite supports transactions, which are atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable (ACID) operations that allow numerous database operations to be done as a single, atomic unit of work.
  • SQLite has a compact footprint and consumes little memory, making it ideal for usage in embedded devices and applications with restricted resources.
  • SQLite enables multi-threaded operations, which implies that different threads can access the database at the same time without interfering with or corrupting the data.
  • SQLite provides database triggers, which are pre-defined database actions that are executed automatically in reaction to specific events, such as data entry or deletion.
  • SQLite has a flexible schema, which implies that the database structure may be changed on the fly without interfering with ongoing operations or causing data loss.
  • SQLite supports standard database features including foreign key restrictions, views, and common table expressions (CTEs).

Advantages of SQLite

  1. Zero-Configuration – SQLite does not require any installation or configuration, making it easy to use and deploy.
  2. Serverless – SQLite is a serverless database engine, which means it does not require a separate server process to run. This makes it ideal for use in applications that need to store and manage data on-the-fly.
  3. Compact – SQLite has a small footprint, with the entire database engine being contained in a single C programming source code file that is less than 400KB in size. This makes it easy to integrate into applications, even those with limited resources.
  4. Transactional – SQLite supports full ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) transactions, ensuring that data operations are reliable and consistent.
  5. Cross-Platform – SQLite is available for a wide range of platforms, including Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. This makes it easy to use in a variety of environments and ensures that applications can be deployed on a wide range of devices and platforms.
  6. High Performance – SQLite is designed for high performance and can handle databases of up to 281 terabytes in size. It also supports concurrency, allowing multiple threads or processes to access the database simultaneously.
  7. SQL Syntax – SQLite uses a variant of the SQL query language, making it easy for developers who are already familiar with SQL to use and learn.
  8. Comprehensive API – SQLite provides a comprehensive API that allows developers to easily integrate the database engine into their applications. This API is available in a wide range of programming languages, including C, C++, Python, Ruby, and Java.
  9. Robust – SQLite has been extensively tested and is widely used in production environments. It has been proven to be a robust and reliable database engine that can handle a wide range of workloads.
  10. Free and Open Source – SQLite is available under a public domain license, which means it is free to use and distribute without any restrictions. This makes it an attractive option for developers who need a high-quality and reliable database engine without incurring any licensing costs.

Disadvantages of SQLite

  1. Limited support for user-defined functions and stored procedures.
  2. Serverless architecture is unsuitable for applications that need several concurrent users or high levels of database concurrency.
  3. For highly big or complicated data sets, SQLite may not provide the same degree of speed and scalability as other database systems.

When to use SQLite?

SQLite should be used in situations where a lightweight, self-contained database is needed. This can include applications that are embedded in mobile devices, or applications that run on a single user’s computer and do not require network access.

SQLite is also a good choice for small to medium-sized projects that do not require a lot of concurrency or a large amount of memory usage.

MySQL Overview

MySQL is a well-known and frequently used open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) built on the Structured Query Language (SQL). It is used to organise and store data in rows and columns in structured tables so that it can be conveniently accessed, updated, and queried. MySQL is a prominent open-source online application software stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl) that is frequently used in web applications.

MySQL’s ability to support alternative storage engines is one of its fundamental advantages, allowing it to be versatile and adaptable to a wide range of applications and workloads. It also provides a variety of security and authentication options and is simple to connect with other software and languages. MySQL is also well-known for its dependability, performance, and ease of use.

Features of MySQL

Some of the key features of MySQL include:

  • Support for multiple storage engines: MySQL allows users to select from a number of storage engines, including InnoDB, MyISAM, and Memory, to meet the needs of various workloads and applications. MySQL’s adaptability makes it suitable for a wide range of applications and scenarios.
  • Security and authentication: MySQL provides a variety of security and authentication options to protect data and ensure that only authorised users can access the database. Password protection, SSL encryption, and access control based on user accounts and privileges are among the options available.
  • Ease of use and integration: MySQL is well-known for its ease of use, thanks to its simple and straightforward SQL syntax, which is simple to learn and understand. It also integrates readily with other languages and technologies, making it a popular choice for web and application development.
  • Reliability and performance: MySQL is well-known for its dependability and performance, with features like transactions and crash recovery ensuring data integrity and availability. It is also highly scalable, allowing users to handle massive amounts of data and concurrent users while maintaining performance.
  • Community and support: MySQL is an open-source project with a big and active user and developer community. This community offers a multitude of support and resources, such as documentation, forums, and online tutorials, to assist users in making the most of the product.

Advantages of MySQL

Some advantages of MySQL include:

  • Flexible and scalable – MySQL may be quickly scaled to meet an application’s expanding needs. It also supports a variety of storage engines, allowing developers to select the best engine for their particular needs.
  • High performance – MySQL is built for speed and can manage huge databases and high-volume operations. It also supports a number of query performance improvement techniques, including caching and indexing.
  • Secure – MySQL includes a number of security mechanisms to safeguard data from unauthorized access, such as encryption and authentication. It also offers role-based access controls, which enable administrators to assign fine-grained rights to individual users and groups.
  • Easy to use – MySQL is simple to understand and use, even for inexperienced database developers. It provides a detailed user manual as well as a plethora of tutorials and examples to assist developers in getting up and running quickly.
  • Cross-platform – MySQL is available for a variety of operating systems, including Linux, Windows, macOS, and Solaris. This facilitates deployment across a number of contexts and assures that apps can run on a variety of devices and platforms.
  • Free and open source – MySQL, like SQLite, is distributed under a free and open-source license. This makes it an appealing solution for developers that require a high-quality and dependable database management system without incurring license fees.
  • Comprehensive API – MySQL has a robust API that enables developers to quickly incorporate the database engine into their applications. This API is available in a variety of programming languages such as C, C++, Python, Ruby, and Java.

Disadvantages of MySQL

  1. Limited Concurrency and Performance – MySQL is not built for high concurrency, which can lead to bottlenecks and poor performance.
  2. Inability to Handle Highly Volatile Data – Because MySQL relies on complete transactional semantics and disk-based log durability, it is inadequate for dealing with rapidly modified data.
  3. MySQL was initially built as a single-node system, making scaling difficult without the use of manual sharding techniques.
  4. Absence of Real-Time Analytics and Machine Learning – MySQL lacks built-in support for real-time analytics and machine learning.
  5. Limited Support for Complicated Data Models and Access Patterns – MySQL may not be as efficient at handling complex data models and access patterns as other solutions.

When to use MySQL?

You should choose MySQL over SQLite if your project requires network access, concurrency, or a large amount of memory usage. SQLite is an embedded database that is designed to be lightweight and self-contained, so it is not suitable for use in applications that require these types of capabilities.

MySQL, on the other hand, is a server-based relational database management system (RDBMS) that is designed to support these types of workloads. If you are unsure which database is right for your project, it may be best to consult with a qualified database administrator or developer who can help you make an informed decision.