In a earlier article, we laid out the story of the Apache net server, its position within the rise of the web, and the way its market share is being eaten up by rivals like Nginx. Apache is a part of the LAMP stack —Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP — and it’s not an understatement to say that greater than half of all of the web owes its existence to LAMP.

At this time we’ll check out among the variations between MariaDB and MySQL, two comparable but totally different database applied sciences used to energy thousands and thousands of internet sites across the globe.

  • What’s MySQL
  • What’s MariaDB
  • MariaDB vs MySQL: Compatibility
  • MariaDB vs MySQL: The Causes Behind Forking
  • MariaDB vs MySQL: Key Variations

What’s MySQL

MySQL is a relational database (RDBMS) which first noticed the sunshine of day in 1995, created by Michael Monty Widenius and David Axmark. It was created when the market was dominated by Microsoft and Oracle’s proprietary (and expensive) options.

MariaDB vs MySQL: MySQL-old-page

Previous MySQL web page from 1998 (Picture supply: Archive.org)

MySQL is these days an archetypal model. Its position was ley in constructing the web as we all know it as we speak. This text in Linux Journal sheds some mild on its early days.

With its early adoption of twin licensing — and utilizing GNU GPL for its free model — MySQL paved the best way for a lot of different software program distributors that got here later.

In Michael Widenius’ phrases about twin licensing:

…since MySQL is an infrastructure product that’s simply embeddable into different merchandise, we may promote licenses to those that wished to embed MySQL into their product however didn’t need to make their product open supply.

Server-deployed net functions, as a part of the LAMP stack, don’t often embed MySQL and distribute their code. This meant that anybody may freely use the software program for their very own net merchandise.

Lower than a decade after its public launch, MySQL was dominating the market of open supply relational databases.

Google Traits reveals that the worldwide net search curiosity in MySQL peaked between 2004 – 2005:

MariaDB vs MySQL: Interest in MySQL over time

Curiosity in MySQL over time

A number of the noteworthy firms utilizing MySQL embody:

  • Fb, a report from 2011 mentions as a lot as “60 million queries per second, and almost four million row modifications per second” and MySQL dealing with “just about each person interplay: likes, shares, standing updates, alerts, requests.”
  • Netflix’s billing a part of its platform
  • Youtube
  • Reserving.com
  • Airbnb
  • and lots of others.

Yet another issue that contributed to the rise and adoption of MySQL price mentioning is phpMyAdmin.

PhpMyAdmin is a web-based database administration software that goes again to 1998, which made its means fairly early into the administration consoles of shared internet hosting suppliers, together with cPanel. It’s a software written in PHP which has made administering MySQL on LAMP servers straightforward. Importing, exporting, composing advanced queries, deleting and creating tables, conducting advanced searches are simply among the issues phpMyAdmin made attainable with out customers ever having to make use of Linux terminal.

WordPress and MySQL

One of many components behind MySQL’s recognition is undoubtedly WordPress, which as we speak powers round 60% of the CMS programs or 34% of your entire net.
WordPress was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, as a fork of one other mission. It was written in PHP, it was utilizing MySQL as its database, and when it appeared, its adoption caught up like wildfire.

WordPress shortly turned synonymous with the idea of open supply software program and so did its underlying server stack. DisplayWP has a pleasant chart of the minimal required MySQL model for each WordPress launch.

One of many components that boosted the adoption of MySQL was the GPL aspect of its licensing. Since it’s suitable with Linux, it began being included by default in Linux distributions. At this time it comes included by default with Ubuntu.

Temporary Overview of MySQL and the Relational Database Mannequin

MySQL was conceived as an RDBMS (Relational Database Administration System). The Relational Database mannequin goes again to 1970s, as outlined by “Codd’s Twelve Commandments”. To place it briefly, this mannequin buildings knowledge into tables that include columns and rows. Every row is uniquely recognized by a key (Major Key to make use of SQL jargon).

These Major Keys can be utilized as pegs of a kind which are utilized by different tables to outline a relation to the particular row. So the FOREIGN KEY column in a relational database desk will discuss with a PRIMARY KEY column in one other desk, defining a relation between rows in numerous tables.

As Important SQL explains, “The main key consists of a number of columns whose knowledge contained inside is used to uniquely establish every row within the desk.” Data in main key columns have to be distinctive, and can’t be empty or NULL. In a relational database “the desk has only one main key, and its definition is obligatory.”
On the similar time, international key is a set of a number of columns in a desk that refers back to the main key in one other desk. There aren’t any particular code, configurations, or desk definitions it’s worthwhile to place to formally “designate” a international key.”

Relational database model in MySQL

Relational database mannequin in MySQL

This manner, with relational databases, it’s attainable to mannequin the information in subtle methods and outline connections between varied items of knowledge. In our easy instance above, we now have two tables, with rows that may be associated to 1 one other, eg. every individual owns a automobile.

We will question this knowledge in response to the logic we want, we are able to filter the end result set in response to totally different units of standards, and we are able to assemble our question in a much more advanced means than we outlined above.

For that reason, relational databases — and databases on the whole — use domain-specific languages amongst which the SQL, which stands for Structured Question Language, is the prevalent one if not the one one utilized by RDBMS.

Acquisition by Solar

In 2008, MySQL AB, the corporate behind MySQL, was acquired by Solar Microsystems. This firm created JAVA, Solaris Unix OS and was a big contributor to totally different laptop applied sciences. As Enterprise Wire reported again then:

“Solar Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAVA) as we speak introduced it has entered right into a definitive settlement to accumulate MySQL AB, an open supply icon and developer of one of many world’s quickest rising open supply databases for about $1 billion in whole consideration”

It’s going to quickly show that this acquisition was not sufficient to stop Solar’s downfall, nevertheless it paints an image of how large MySQL was again in these days.


Oracle Company is a vendor of the largest closed supply database to at the present time, Oracle database.

It was a direct competitor to MySQL and nearly the antithesis of the GPL, free, open supply software program mannequin that MySQL was changing into at the moment.

When Oracle bought Solar, and MySQL with it in 2010 (successful in opposition to IBM for it), the FOSS world noticed that as one thing as “sinister” as a Borg assault in Star Trek. One person recollects the occasion on Quora:

MySQL was a grave menace to Oracle – on the time the Oracle database accounted for one thing north of 80% of all income (and given the skeleton crew wanted to keep up it, much more of the income).

MySQL was making critical inroads – giant Fortune 50 firms with web site licenses that value thousands and thousands had been shifting databases (particularly read-only ones) from Oracle to MySQL as a result of the executive overhead was that a lot decrease. I do know, I helped do a few of these.

Many within the MySQL neighborhood wished so as to add options that will make utilizing even a free model of Oracle out of date. MySQL was undoubtedly happening that path. Instruments had been maturing and Larry was afraid.

So Oracle purchased MySQL to verify it could have a management over the model, scatter the neighborhood and save its flagship from the unwashed plenty.

This was a logical conclusion, as a result of MySQL, at the moment, turned so fashionable that it might need been considered as an actual menace to Oracle’s core enterprise. As Geekflare’s Ankush Thakur put it, MySQL turned so fashionable that fairly quickly, builders forgot that SQL and MySQL had been two various things.

Earlier than the acquisition even occurred, on the finish of 2009, Monty Widenius, who left the MySQL crew in that 12 months to determine his personal fork and database firm, revealed a dramatic attraction on his weblog (we’ll quote only the start):

Assist saving MySQL

I, Michael “Monty” Widenius, the creator of MySQL, am asking you urgently to assist save MySQL from Oracle’s clutches. With out your speedy assist Oracle may get to personal MySQL any day now. By writing to the European Fee (EC) you possibly can assist this trigger and assist safe the longer term improvement of the product MySQL as an Open Supply mission.

The acquisition nonetheless went by a month later, to the dismay of many within the open supply neighborhood. Widenius had already left Solar, shaped Monty Program AB, and forked MySQL, laying the foundations for MariaDB. All whereas taking many MySQL builders with him.

To at the present time, persons are nonetheless questioning the legitimacy of Monty’s fears. Particularly, for the reason that worst state of affairs didn’t occur in any respect: Oracle didn’t purchase MySQL solely to kill it.

Some argue that MySQL was purchased by Oracle as nothing greater than a “collateral sufferer” of the acquisition of Solar. Again in 2009 those that had their eyes on the database market had causes to fret.

Warnings had been there. The developer of MySQL’s primary storage engine, InnoDB, an organization from Finland, was acquired by Oracle in 2005. Afterward, they had been totally merged into Oracle, terminating the unique firm. In 2006, Oracle purchased off the creators of Berkeley DB, supplier of one other, much less essential BDB storage engine. They had been circling round.

What’s MariaDB

MariaDB had its first launch in October 2009, with model 5.1.38 Beta, based mostly on MySQL 5.1.38. It was a fork meant to “to make sure that the MySQL code base can be free without end”.

On the time of forking, the most typical concern was that the acquisition was a hostile takeover with the objective of killing MySQL. That concern, at the least partly, proved to be unfounded.

Once more in 2009, Monty Program AB and Percona, an organization offering premium MySQL providers, established the Open Database Alliance. Their objective was “to unify all MySQL-related improvement and providers, offering an answer to the fragmentation and uncertainty going through the communities, companies and technical specialists concerned with MySQL.”

The concept was “to turn out to be the trade hub for the MySQL open supply database, together with MySQL and by-product code, binaries, coaching, assist, and different enhancements for the MySQL neighborhood and companion ecosystem”

Trying again at it: it’s attainable that these steps have prevented a worse state of affairs for the well-known database.

MariaDB vs MySQL: Compatibility

The entire level of MariaDB’s fork of MySQL (named after Widenius’ daughter) was to safe the longer term entry to MySQL and its additional improvement. This is the reason MariaDB was conceived as a full binary alternative — a “drop-in” alternative, so to say — enabling all customers of MySQL to trade one for the opposite on their programs.

MySQL is a client-server software, and each its server program mysqld, its consumer mysql, and auxiliary applications, like mysqldump, retain the identical identify with MariaDB.

Changing MySQL with MariaDB turns into a seamless course of for many functions and functions, particularly WordPress. Present software program, from fashionable CMS instruments to apps like phpMyAdmin, simply work out of the field, and precise knowledge could be exported/imported from one into one other with none modifications.

MariaDB’s said objective is to keep up compatibility with MySQL. In keeping with MariaDB web site,

  • knowledge and desk definition recordsdata are suitable.
  • all consumer APIs and protocols are suitable.
  • Filenames, binaries, and paths are the identical on MySQL and MariaDB.
  • Ports and sockets are the identical.
  • All MySQL connectors — PHP, Perl, Python, Java, and others — work with MariaDB.
  • MySQL consumer bundle works interchangeably with MariaDB simply as with MySQL.

Month-to-month merges are performed to make sure compatibility and to get any new options and bug fixes from Oracle.

MariaDB vs MySQL: The Causes Behind Forking

There have been a number of causes behind the MariaDB launch. The fears that Oracle would merely kill its rising competitor to guard its extra profitable primary product was certainly one of many largest ones. Customers would have misplaced a unbelievable and free product!

Different causes had been associated to making sure that MySQL would have stayed free and open supply. At this time, MariaDB is totally GPL licensed with its whole set of options, whereas MySQL retains a dual-license method, with premium options licensed underneath proprietary, paid license:

MySQL Enterprise Version consists of essentially the most complete set of superior options, administration instruments, and technical assist to attain the very best ranges of MySQL scalability, safety, reliability, and uptime. It reduces the danger, value, and complexity in creating, deploying, and managing business-critical MySQL functions.”

If we evaluate the 2 right here, MariaDB has clear benefit supplied by the GPL license it’s launched upon. Due to the proprietary code base, Oracle can’t legally reap the benefits of MariaDB code and merge it into their database.

MariaDB performs an important position in Kinsta’s internet hosting stack to make sure lightning quick database queries and cargo instances. Try our plans

Widenius promised: “When Oracle will launch a closed supply extension for MySQL, we can even launch an open supply one.”

Group Issues

One more reason behind the fork was to maintain the mission “open” within the sense of it being a community-driven mission (like WordPress), whose path and improvement are open similar to its license. If we check out the commit log, it’s straightforward to conclude that a lot of the MySQL code comes from in-house builders. Oracle’s builders give because of occasional and notable contributions from the neighborhood, for instance, however that’s removed from the MariaDB’s openness and much from what MySQL was.

To place issues into perspective, MariaDB server repository on the time of this writing has greater than 186ok commits, 370+ branches, and 200 contributors. MySQL, then again, has greater than 148ok commits, 9 branches, and 72 contributors.

The dialogue about MariaDB improvement, its path, voting in regards to the options, and many others. is finished on a publicly obtainable mailing record:

MariaDB vs MySQL: The "Maria developers" team

The “Maria builders” crew

In addition to this one, there may be additionally Maria Talk about mailing record.

Maria Captains are a crew of trusted builders to whom builders can submit patches. As crew’s web page on Launchpad says:

“The captains are trusted builders with write entry to the principle MariaDB bushes. If you wish to have a patch into the tree, submit it to the maria-developers record and a number of of the captains will work with you to get the patch reviewed, accredited and eventually pushed into the suitable MariaDB tree.”

There have been some events the place MariaDB energetic improvement course of proved its benefit over Oracle’s closed one.

On the finish of 2012, the MariaDB basis was shaped to supervise the event of the database.

Quickly after the fork, many unique MySQL builders jumped ship and joined the MariaDB mission. Linux distributors like Pink Hat, CentOS, Arch Linux, Debian, OpenSuse, Slackware, Fedora switched to MariaDB because the default RDBMS, in addition to BSD distributions, FreeBSD and OpenBSD, whereas Ubuntu consists of MariaDB. The entire record could be discovered right here.

Firms akin to Alibaba Cloud, Tencent, IBM, Microsoft, Reserving.com turned platinum sponsors.

For Kinsta, as the very best managed WordPress internet hosting, it’s attention-grabbing to say that amongst MariaDB Basis board of administrators are individuals from Automattic, a transparent signal that creators of WordPress have embraced MariaDB.

Within the years following the break up, MariaDB had a energetic improvement, a lot that as a result of complete set of latest options launched in 2012, MariaDB jumped from 5.* model quantity, suitable with MySQL, to 10.0, desirous to mirror the leap in options it had achieved.

Due to efficiency causes, the Wikimedia Basis introduced in 2013 it was switching Wikipedia to MariaDB. The identical factor occurred with Google, and its customers’ record now consists of Deutsche Financial institution, DBS Financial institution, Nasdaq, Verizon, Craigslist, and others.

Amongst MySQL customers, we now have GitHub, US Navy, NASA, Tesla, Netflix, WeChat, Fb, Zendesk, Twitter, Zappos, YouTube, Spotify.

Since its first launch, curiosity within the MySQL successor had been steadily rising, as Google Search Traits reveals:

Interest in MariaDB over time

Curiosity in MariaDB over time

MariaDB vs MySQL: Key Variations

Whereas MariaDB could have began off as totally suitable with MySQL, we are able to anticipate that their paths diverge extra sooner or later.

MariaDB vs MySQL

In his final weblog put up, Widenius congratulates Oracle on their work on the model 8.Zero of MySQL, outlining some variations and caveats akin to:

Thread Pool: much like the problem Nginx server solves in comparison with Apache, MySQL was assigning threads to each consumer connection, and this, which might be in comparison with booting up a whole program in a laptop, was merely inefficient. MariaDB launched its personal answer to this in model 5.5

Invisible Columns are MariaDB’s unique function from 10.3.3. They don’t return ends in a SELECT * assertion, nor do they should be assigned worth in an INSERT assertion.

MariaDB introduces microseconds in its temporal datatypes.

Storage Engines: MariaDB makes use of embody XtraDB, InnoDB, MariaDB ColumnStore, Aria, Archive, Blackhole, Cassandra Storage Engine, Join, CSV, FederatedX, Reminiscence storage engine, Merge, Mroonga, MyISAM, MyRocks, QQGraph, Sequence Storage Engine, SphinxSE, Spider, TokuDB. ColumnsStore is attention-grabbing performance-wise, trigger it makes attainable linear scaling to deal with petabytes of knowledge. Extra about it on their weblog.

MySQL storage engines are InnoDB, MyISAM, Reminiscence, CSV, Archive, Blackhole, Merge, Federated, Instance.

Database Views are a function wherein MariaDB introduces important optimizations by querying solely the mandatory tables.

Some options MySQL introduces are JSON native knowledge kind, MySQL Shell in MySQL 8.Zero model — which permits javascript and python scripting — and doesn’t work with MariaDB, SHA-256 based mostly authentication plugin, enhancing safety over mysql_native_password.

Right here yow will discover the whole record of variations between MariaDB vs MySQL and the benefits of the previous compared with the latter.


MySQL is underneath the company umbrella of the largest industrial database vendor on the earth. With so many full-time engineers working across the clock to develop premium new options, we have already got some factors the place they diverge. MariaDB, then again, often catches up in relation to premium additions however that’s not all the time speedy and there aren’t any ensures.

Having mentioned so, although, there are lots of situations wherein MariaDB affords improved efficiency. Add to this extra agile patches and updates, a extra secure open supply future, and a bit extra optimism and also you’ll see why at Kinsta we’re not solely followers but additionally use MariaDB as a part of our performance-driven server stack.

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