What's the Difference Between MySQL and SQL

By Archer Charles 02-Sep-2022
What's the Difference Between MySQL and SQL

As data usage increases in the global business world, database management requirements have increased significantly. And in an increasingly data-driven world, databases have become a fundamental component of any business, regardless of its structure and size. 

Collecting and storing data is useless unless the data is analysed and used. To this end, enterprises use a Relational Database Management System or RDBMS. An RDBMS enables enterprises and database administrators to build relations between various datasets using management tools. 

If you have a knack for data analysis and wish to explore it as a career path, SQL and MySQL both offer a wide range of high-paying job opportunities. However, before understanding the difference between SQL and MySQL, you should know the fundamental differences between them.

What is SQL?

Structured Query Language or SQL is a programming language which helps retrieve, manage and store any data in the RDBMS. Like a developer needs to use a programming language to create applications on various types of systems, managing a database requires a programming language in a similar context. SQL statements are considered declarative in nature, called SQL Query. While using SQL, there are various clauses that data professionals can use to write queries defining the objective of an action. 

Some of the most fundamental SQL clauses and their functions are as follows:

  • SELECT: This extracts data stored in a database.
  • CREATE DATABASE: This creates a database.
  • DELETE: This deletes data from a database.
  • ALTER TABLE: This edits or alters a given table.
  • INSERT INTO: This adds data to a database.
  • CREATE TABLE: This makes a new table within an existing database.
  • UPDATE: This updates existing data within a database.
  • FROM: This retrieves data from the directed column of the table.
  • WHERE: This filters existing data records based on the applied filters. 

Every SQL query has a unique and case-sensitive structure and format. As an SQL professional, you must have perfect expertise while you write SQL statements or use SQL clauses. Besides the SQL clauses mentioned above, there are also several SQL keywords such as AS (a query that creates a new alias for a column or table name), BETWEEN (a query that allows users to select values or data from a particular data range) and LIMIT (a query that retrieves data from a fixed set of rows within an existing table) that help in performing various functions. SQL is an interactive and standardised programming language that several organisations use because it offers faster querying, portability and database management and retrieval efficiency. 

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Benefits of Using SQL:

1. Rapid query processing:

SQL can process large volumes of data in short periods. Its core operations like insertion, deletion and other forms of data manipulation can be performed at high speeds due to its high efficiency.

2. Doesn’t require too much coding knowledge:

If you are looking at merely retrieving data using your database, coding is not used at all. All you will have to learn are the following functions and syntaxes - SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT and INTO.

3. Standardised language for communication:

SQL is an open-source programming solution with ample support from a virtual community of users. It provides sufficient troubleshooting and documented guidance for users in any part of the world.

4 Portable:

SQL is easy to use whether it is deployed on a gaming system, laptop, server or desktop computer. 

You May Also Like: The Best Way to Learn SQL

What is MySQL?

MySQL is currently managed and owned by Oracle. It is a popular form of an RDBMS. MySQL is open-source as a platform and enables you to store, manage and retrieve relational databases.

MySQL uses SQL queries while performing actions on a database. It is among the world’s leading RDBMS options today, which is more efficient, reliable, user-friendly and fast compared to other relational database management systems today. Several leading organisations like Google, Yahoo and Facebook use MySQL as their database management system of choice to manage large volumes of data. 

MySQL is highly compatible with various modern programming languages like C, C++, Python and Java for a wide range of platforms including Linux, Windows and macOS. It provides a high level of cross-platform adaptability and versatility, making it an innovative and high-end solution for clients and users. 

Benefits of Using MySQL:

There are several benefits of MySQL over other database management systems, making it a leading choice for businesses and users. 

1. High flexibility and scalability:

The server of a MySQL database provides the best benefit in terms of scalability, demonstrating the capability to handle embedded applications using only a 1MB footprint while running large data warehouses containing several TBs of data. Flexibility is another parameter that proves MySQL superior, supporting various types of systems including Windows, Linux and UNIX.

2. High performance:

MySQL has a storage-engine architecture which makes it unique. This infrastructure enables data professionals to configure the MySQL server, particularly for specific applications to yield high-quality results. From high-speed transactional data processing systems to high-volume web platforms addressing billions of queries every day, MySQL has a significant range of performance expectations it can meet from various types of systems. 

3. High availability:

MySQL is defined by its constant availability and reliability that helps customers and clients to provide guarantees of around-the-clock uptime. MySQL provides several high-availability options ranging from high-speed slave/master replication configurations to a specialised cluster server that provides instant failovers, to a third-party vendor that offers unique solutions for the MySQL server.  

4. Robust transactional support:

Across the global market, MySQL provides one of the leading transactional databases in terms of power. Its features include but are not limited to atomic, consistent, isolated, durable transaction support (also called ACID), distributed transaction capabilities, unlimited row-level locking, multi-version transaction support where writers and readers never block each other, and more. 

5. Web and data warehousing strengths:

MySQL has established itself as the standard for websites with high volumes of traffic, owing to its high-performance engine, efficient data insertion capabilities and support for specialised web functions such as rapid full-text searches. Each of these strengths applies to data warehousing environments as well where MySQL will scale up to the TB range for either scale-out architectures or single servers.

6. Strong data protection capabilities:

Database professionals have the primary responsibility of guarding data assets belonging to corporations. For this, MySQL provides a high level of security with features that ensure complete data protection. When it comes to database authentication, MySQL has powerful capabilities that ensure only authorised users are allowed access to database servers and can block users right down to the level of the client’s machine. SSL and SSH support also help ensure secure and reliable connections.

7. Detailed application development:

MySQL offers support for the development of almost every application. This is another reason why it is the world’s most preferred open-source database. In a database, MySQL provides support for stored functions, procedures, triggers, views, cursors and ANSI-standard SQL, among others. For an embedded application, users can use plug-in libraries for embedding MySQL database support into almost any application possible. 

8. Ease of management:

MySQL provides a whole new level of quick-start capabilities, with under 15 minutes being the average time taken for the software to install and download completely. This applies to all platforms including Linux, UNIX, Windows or macOS. Once the software is installed, its self-management features such as auto-restart, automatic space expansion and configuration changes remove a significant part of the burden from the database administrator. 

Additional Read: Do You Need a SQL Certification for Your Data Career in 2022?

9. Low cost of ownership:

Enterprises are slowly discovering that they can get superior results in terms of performance and scalability at a total cost that is much lower than the rates provided by any other scale-up or proprietary software vendor. This is done by using the MySQL server and scale-out infrastructure that uses low-cost hardware.

SQL vs MySQL - Key Differences:





A domain-specific query language

An RDBMS which retrieves data from a database using SQL


Helps in retrieving and manipulating stored data in a database by performing several operations

Stores existing data in unique tables and ensures proper organisation


Writes queries fit for databases

Facilitates data storage, management and modification in properly organised tables

Format and Syntax

Follows a standardised format, with the basic commands and syntax remaining the same

Gets updated frequently


Apache Spark Connector for SQL does not provide any support for Microsoft platforms

Comes with MySQL workbench integration that helps design and build databases

Storage Engine

Will support a single storage engine

Will support several pluggable storage engines at one time, making it more flexible

Server and Database

The server is database-independent, which means users can perform several operations on the database while in a data backup session.

Its server blocks the main database, which means users cannot operate on it while the data is being backed up. This minimises any possible corruption of data as you switch between different versions of MySQL.

Data Security

Third-party applications or external processes can access data directly but cannot manipulate it.

In MySQL, database files can be manipulated easily or edited by using several binaries during its run time

Community Support

It isn’t an open-source programming language, so SQL does not provide community support

Provides robust and rich community support, being an open-source platform


By now, you know the stark differences between SQL vs MySQL. Therefore, there is no way to choose one or favour another. Both of them have various differences, but also provide similar results that help businesses achieve efficiency, improved performance and scalability. If you are looking at learning any of these skills to take your career forward, enrolling in a training course is the most organised way forward. Give your career the boost it deserves and enrol in a training course on Koenig today.

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Archer Charles

Archer Charles has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.