February 10, 2023 By Matthew Rathbone *

PostgreSQL and MariaDB are two popular relational database management systems (RDBMS). Both are open-source and free to use, and have many similar features and capabilities. However, there are also some key differences between the two that may make one a better choice for certain use cases over the other.

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Differences in Origin

One of the main differences between PostgreSQL and MariaDB is their origins. PostgreSQL was first released in 1996 and has since been developed and maintained by a global community of volunteers. MariaDB, on the other hand, was created in 2009 as a fork of the MySQL RDBMS, which is owned by Oracle. MariaDB was created by the original developers of MySQL in response to concerns about the future of the MySQL project under Oracle’s ownership.

Storage Engines

Another key difference between the two is their default storage engines. PostgreSQL uses its own custom-built storage engine, while MariaDB uses the InnoDB storage engine by default. This means that MariaDB has better compatibility with MySQL, as it uses the same storage engine. However, PostgreSQL’s custom storage engine can offer better performance and functionality in some cases.

Similar capabilities

In terms of features and capabilities, both PostgreSQL and MariaDB are very similar. Both support a wide range of data types, including both structured and unstructured data, and both have strong support for SQL, the standard language for querying databases. Both also support various features for managing and securing the database, such as backup and recovery, user management, and access control.

Specific feature differences

However, there are some differences in the specific features and capabilities offered by each RDBMS. For example, PostgreSQL has stronger support for advanced features such as replication and partitioning, as well as support for procedural languages such as PL/pgSQL. MariaDB, on the other hand, has better support for storage engines other than InnoDB, including the popular MyISAM engine, and has some additional performance optimization features.

Performance slightly favors PostgreSQL

In terms of performance, both PostgreSQL and MariaDB are known for their efficiency and scalability. However, some benchmarks have shown that PostgreSQL can offer slightly better performance in certain cases, particularly when working with larger datasets.

PostgreSQL vs MariaDB Summary

Overall, both PostgreSQL and MariaDB are powerful and capable RDBMS, and the choice between the two will ultimately depend on the specific needs and requirements of a given project. If compatibility with MySQL and additional storage engine options are important, then MariaDB may be the better choice. However, if advanced features and slightly better performance are needed, then PostgreSQL may be the better option.