What is MySQL and Why is it so Popular?

As soon as someone buys dedicated server hosting or VPS hosting, the next thing they’ll want is to learn about MySQL. You don’t have to know what is MySQL and why it is used if you buy more powerful hosting. There’s just something about MySQL that makes even beginner techies want to know how it works. That’s why we’ve written this guide!

Buckle in. This is going to be a technical one. (Don’t worry: As usual, we’ll explain everything so simply that you’ll be able to confidently repeat it to your politest friends over dinner.)

What is MySQL and why it is used?

MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) with a client-server model. That was a mouthful. Let’s take that step by step:

  • Open source: That’s tech-speak for “anyone can use, install, or modify it”. If you want to get super detailed about it, learn the source code and tweak it to do what you want.
  • Relational: This means that MySQL stores data in the form of tables that all relate to each other. Databases can be arranged in all sorts of different ways, but MySQL uses relational
  • Database management system: MySQL is a system software used to create and manage databases. (Incidentally, if you’ve been having trouble with pesky database errors, we have a handy guide on how to resolve an error establishing database connection.)
  • Client-server model: A computer with MySQL software is called a “client”. While the MySQL database management system is stored on a server. Clients need the server’s resources to finish processing data. Whenever the computer (the “client”) needs to access data, it connects to the server. Hence, “client-server” model.

 So, putting it all together: MySQL is a database management system that anyone can use, install, or modify, and which stores its data in the form of tables that all relate to each other. To process data, a computer that has MySQL installed will need to connect to the server that stores the database. (This style of processing is called the “client-server” model.)

But you didn’t come here for just a definition. We promised to tell you what is MySQL and why it is used so widely that it became the #1 database management system in 2019. So, without further ado, here’s why so many people are raving about MySQL:

Why is MySQL so popular?

1. It’s open source

If you’re new to this level of tech-geekery, you might not understand why this is such a big deal, but trust us: It’s huge. Because MySQL is open source, you can use it for free. You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg like you would with commercial database management systems.

2. It’s free but doesn’t skimp on quality

MySQL is free, which is already great, but even better is the fact that you get a high-quality software that really delivers on its promises. This makes it suitable for a wide range of massive projects.

3. The community is huge

Yeah, we know. Saying “MySQL is popular because the community is huge” is a bit like saying “the stadium is packed because there are many people in it”. But it’s true. MySQL’s large community is part of the reason it’s become so successful. Because so many talented developers use and love MySQL, there’s an ever-expanding body of accessible knowledge on how to get the most out of it. This means that people who are new to MySQL are more likely to fall in love with it, because when they run into a problem, they know they’ll be able to find the information they need to solve it. And there’s just something warm and fuzzy about being part of a big, enthusiastic community.

4. It’s extremely scalable

MySQL’s scalability means that it can adapt to all the needs of your website. If you run a business that operates seasonally (like selling Christmas trees online), you can vary your resource usage to conserve energy.

5. It’s secure

One of the best things about MySQL is that it treats financial transactions, not as a disjointed set of steps, but as a whole. This means that every single part of a purchase needs to be completed before a transaction can be finalised and money taken from a customer’s account. This is useful in situations where internet connections are a bit iffy. MySQL also supports encryption, which keeps malicious people from accessing your databases.

6. It’s part of the LAMP stack

The LAMP stack stands for Linux (operating system), Apache (server), MySQL (database platform) and PHP (programming language). If you’re having any trouble installing PHP, you can check out our guide on how to easily fix the PHP installation error on WordPress. Like many other popular open-source apps, WordPress runs on the LAMP development stack because it’s such a reliable way to build any kind of web app. Many of us were introduced to MySQL when we were newbies trying to learn more about WordPress. This is why MySQL has such a special place in our hearts.

Wrapping up

MySQL is a powerful database management system. Its beloved by people who build websites, because it’s free, open source, scalable, and secure. Now that you know what is MySQL and why it is used so enthusiastically by web developers, you’ll want to check out our guide on how web hosting databases work. Enjoy!