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SQL vs. MySQL - Which is Right for You?

SQL vs. MySQL - Which is Right for You?

Since data is tremendously valuable for organizations to make successful business decisions, the need to manage it has become very critical. According to the research by LinkedIn, 72% of organizations acknowledge that database management is important for their ongoing digital transformation.

This fact emphasizes how important it is to learn the art of database management. That’s where you need to comprehend basic terms like RDBMS, SQL, and MySQL. Relational database management system (RDBMS) is a popular database management schema, whereas SQL and MySQL are trendy database management servers. 

If you want to learn SQL vs. MySQL, keep reading this blog.

Check out this SQL vs. MySQL detailed video by Intellipaat:

What Is a Relational Database?

Before we try to comprehend the notions of SQL and MySQL, you will first have to know about relational database management systems (RDBMS).

A relational database is a type of database that stores and provides access to data. These databases are called “relational” because the data elements in them have pre-determined relationships with one another.

A relational database stores data in the form of tables. The tables are linked by unique IDs, or “keys”. So, if the user wants to access any information, they can easily access it using that particular key.

Now, let us discuss what SQL and MySQL are.

What is SQL?

What is SQL - SQL vs. MySQL - Which is Right for You? - Intellipaat

Structured Query Language, or SQL, is a standard language that is used for storing and managing data in RDBMS. Using SQL, users can insert, access, retrieve, update, and remove data from relational databases and tables. With SQL, the database can be queried in several ways by using English-like statements. SQL is owned, hosted, maintained, and offered by Microsoft and is used by MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, MS Access, and Informix as their standard database language.

Reach out to our course advisors and enroll in Intellipaat’s SQL course.

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What is MySQL?

What is MySQL - SQL vs. MySQL - Which is Right for You? - Intellipaat

MySQL is an open-source RDBMS owned by Oracle that performs specific SQL functions or operations and manages relational databases through SQL commands. It is written in C and C++ and supports major platforms such as Windows, UNIX, Linux, and macOS. It can be installed on a server or even on a desktop.MySQL is scalable, fast, and reliable, and it offers an easy way to start a low-memory disk or CPU database. It is one of the core components of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), which is an open-source web service stack.

Check out the difference between NoSQL and SQL in our comparison blog on SQL vs NoSQL.

Differences Between SQL and MySQL

Now we will look into the differences between SQL and MySQL on the basis of some factors such as establishment, programming language, storage engine, security offered, and platforms supported.


SQL was introduced by Donald D. Denning and Edward F. Codd in 1974. It was created as a standardized language for managing and querying data stored in relational databases. 

MySQL was introduced by a company named MySQL AB in 1994. It was mainly designed to resolve issues with the existing open-source databases that were available at the time. The first stable version of MySQL was released in 1998.

Programming Language Support

Some of the popular programming languages that support SQL are Python, Java, C#, PHP, and Ruby.
On the other hand, MySQL supports a variety of programming languages, which include C, C++, Python, Ruby, PHP, Perl, and Java. 

Storage Engine

When it comes to the comparison of SQL and MySQL based on the storage engine, MySQL has the upper hand because it offers multiple storage engines. The two most popular options are the InnoDB and MyISAM storage engines. 

On the other hand, SQL uses a single storage engine created by Microsoft. The SQL Server Database Engine is the core service that stores, manages, and protects information.

Security Offered

Both SQL and MySQL are database management systems that provide a variety of security measures to protect data and prevent unwanted access. However, MySQL has stronger security solutions than SQL, such as MariaDB, which is specifically built for safe databases. MySQL also supports multiple authentication techniques, including LDAP, SAML, and OAuth.

Platforms Supported

Although both SQL and MySQL support a variety of platforms, MySQL supports more platforms than SQL. SQL is designed primarily for Windows, and it also provides compatibility with Linux and macOS through a docker container in a cloud environment.

Check out the top SQL Interview Questions and Answers.

SQL vs. MySQL: Key Differences

SQL vs. MySQL: Key Differences - SQL vs. MySQL - Which is Right for You? - Intellipaat

At first glance, SQL and MySQL may seem identical, but there are important distinctions between the database language and the database system.

DefinitionSQL is a domain-specific query language.MySQL is an RDBMS that uses SQL to retrieve data from the database.
OperationsHelps retrieve and manipulate stored data in a database by performing different operationsStores the existing data in separate tables in an organized manner
FunctionsUsed to write queries for databasesFacilitates data storage, modification, and management in a tabular format
Format and SyntaxFollows a standard format, and the basic syntax and commands remain the sameMySQL is updated frequently.
SupportApache Spark Connector for SQL does not come with any Microsoft supportComes with a MySQL workbench as an integrated tool that helps in designing and building databases
Storage EngineSupports a single storage engineSupports multiple and pluggable storage engines that make it more flexible
Server and DatabaseThe server remains independent of the database in SQL, which means that you can perform other operations on the database during a data backup session.The server blocks the database, and you cannot perform other operations on the database during a data backup session, thus minimizing data corruption when switching from one MySQL version to another.
Data SecurityExternal processes or third-party apps do have access to and cannot manipulate data directly.Database files can be easily manipulated or modified by using binaries during the runtime.
Community SupportNot being an open-source language, SQL does not offer community support.It offers strong community support because it is an open-source platform.
PricingTypically, SQL applications might involve licensing costs for exclusive implementations.MySQL is open-source and free to use, but there are commercial versions with additional features and support available.

How Do You Use SQL With MySQL?

What Jobs Make Use of SQL and MySQL - SQL vs. MySQL - Which is Right for You? - Intellipaat

Although both SQL and MySQL are closely related to each other, they serve different purposes. SQL is a query language used for managing the data within the MYSQL relational database management system (RDBMS). The integration allows developers to create, access, and manipulate databases using SQL syntax for tasks such as defining structures, creating tables, and managing constraints.

For example, if you have a database of students, the table might contain columns named “first_name,” “last_name,” and “roll_number,” where each row represents a student and the values stored in each column are related to each item.

Check the Difference between MongoDB and MySQL through MongoDB vs MySQL Blog.

What Jobs Make Use of SQL and MySQL?

Many jobs include the use of SQL and MySQL. Some of the jobs are below:


SQL and MySQL are closely related, but they serve different purposes. SQL is a programming language used to manage data in relational databases, whereas MySQL is a popular open-source relational database management system that uses SQL to allow users to create, access, and manipulate databases. Though they work together, SQL is a standard language, while MySQL is an application for implementing databases using SQL syntax. Getting the hang of both SQL queries and MySQL helps developers build and interact with database-driven applications.

Also, check out the blog on Cursor in SQL.

FAQs on SQL vs. MySQL

Is MySQL the same as SQL Server?

No, MySQL is an open-source database management system that utilizes SQL, while SQL Server is Microsoft’s relational database management system product.

Should I learn SQL or MySQL first?

You can learn SQL first since it is the standard programming language for relational databases that MySQL and others are built to use.

Can I use MySQL without SQL?

No, you cannot use MySQL without SQL because MySQL requires SQL commands and language to interact with the database.

How difficult is it to learn SQL?

Learning SQL fundamentals is relatively straightforward. Mastering complex queries, optimization, and database design can take time. With practice and hands-on experience, it becomes progressively easier to grasp and apply effectively.

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About the Author

Data Engineer

As a skilled Data Engineer, Sahil excels in SQL, Business Intelligence, and database management. He has contributed to projects at companies like Bajaj and Tata. With a background in software engineering, he crafted efficient solutions for data pipelines, analytics, and software integration, driving insights and innovation.