MonogoDB vs MySQL: what are the differences?

MonogoDB vs MySQL: what are the differences?
Written by Debarghya DasNovember 29, 2021
17 min read
Debarghya Das

Junior Front-End Developer

This blog post will explore the key characteristics, differences, benefits, and performance of both databases. Instead of asking which is better, let’s find out when to use MongoDB or MySQL.

About MySQL

MySQL is an open-source RDBMS, which stands for a Relational Database Management System. More specifically, an RDBMS is a program used to update, manage and formulate relational databases. A relational database is a type of database (usually arranged into tables) that allows for recognizing data in relation to another piece of data within the same database.

MySQL is the most popular database system in the world. Released in 1995, it has decades of high-valued reputation and reliability. Moreover, it is fairly easy to use. Since the database schema is pre-defined according to specific conditions and rules, the data is organized in rows and columns, demonstrating the relationships between the various tables' fields.


About MongoDB

MongoDB is also an open-source database but works as a document datastore, unlike MySQL’s RDBMS features. It stores documents within collections instead of tables with relations among them.

When using MongoDB, the data schema is not fixed. It is possible to remove or modify document properties within a collection, which allows for superior flexibility. In fact, documents can even be in the same collection and yet have completely different structures among themselves.


MongoDB vs MySQL: the differences

Let’s examine other differences between MySQL and MongoDB regarding the following attributes:

  • Data schema and capacity;
  • Performance and speed;
  • Security;
  • ACID properties;
  • Query language.

Data Schema and Capacity

In MongoDB, data is displayed in key-value pairs like JSON documents, allowing the database to have less constraints considering the schema design. This can be particularly advantageous for data with potential for fast growth or other changes. Plus, MongoDB does provide a pre-defined structured which can be adopted if preferred.

Regarding data schema, the equivalent doesn't occur in MySQL. Despite the fact that it is feasible to change the blueprint, adjustments are not quite as adaptable and dynamic as in report data sets.

Prior to putting away any information, MySQL compulsorily requires a pre-foundation of how the tables and sections will be coordinated. Adjusting the information outline requires cautiously reconsidering the data set's DDL (Data Definition Language) and DML (Data Modeling Language).

Both databases, relational and document, use DDL and DML concepts. However, in relational databases, establishing the DDL and DML is vital. Contrarily, MongoDB has a more malleable data schema, thus, not being as concerned as MySQL about how data is structured.

Even though it may seem like a big con, this consistency is actually one of MySQL's greatest strengths because it keeps the data structured and clean.

Each MongoDB information base contains assortments, which thusly, are loaded up with records. These archives can incorporate different fields and sorts of data, taking into account information stockpiling of records that shift in content and size.

In MySQL, since the information composition is more obliged, each line inside a table requires similar segments, which can be especially difficult to oversee when working with high-volume data sets. Subsequently, MySQL doesn't deal with huge and complex data sets as effectively as MongoDB.

In other words, MongoDB document database is superior to MySQL relational database when dealing with diverse and large quantities of complex data.

Performance and speed

One of the most common questions when comparing MySQL vs MongoDB is which is faster.

MongoDB can acknowledge more broad measures of organized or unstructured information quicker than MySQL. Notwithstanding, envision a business working with tiny and less assorted measures of information: speed isn't really something to be worried for since different elements (like unwavering quality and information consistency) have the need.

More important than comparing them in terms of speed, understanding the businesses' or projects' data requirements will determine which one is more suitable for your project and its potential to provide better results and performance.

MySQL is an experienced and contemplated answer for guarantee information security and respectability. Because of its unequivocal diagram, MySQL makes dependable data set constructions by utilizing tables that organize information types, making the individual qualities questioned enough and simple to look. Since it expects information to be organized ahead of time, this outcomes in less specialized obligation.

Nonetheless, it can be a disadvantage in some cases, as it might be hard to design a suitable schema for complex data. Definitely, not an option for unstructured data.

On the other hand, MongoDB has a more flexible and faster performance for unstructured data. Document datastores are good when the data schema is hard to design beforehand. However, if the data is diverse, then creating indexes on the data's attributes becomes challenging, which means MongoDB requires frequent optimization of the data schema. Otherwise, it might be risking problems related to data consistency.


MySQL utilizes a privilege-based security model, which requires user authentication and can also provide or deny user privileges on a particular database. Plus, transferring data from the database to the server MySQL necessarily employs encrypted connections between clients and the server, using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) - a security protocol.

MongoDB's security consists of role-based access control that includes authentication, authorization, and auditing. Additionally, if encryption is desired, it is also possible to apply Transport Layer Security (TLS) and SSL.

Even though MongoDB and MySQL provide safe security models, if reliability and data consistency are a business priority, MySQL is the safest choice.

ACID - Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability

In computer science, ACID refers to a set of database transactions' properties that ensure data validity. It stands for atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability.

While MySQL is considered ACID, being ACID compliant for MongoDB is not a priority since it would require sacrificing speed and high availability. In 2018, MongoDB made it possible to sustain ACID multi-document transactions. However, this option is off by default. On the other hand, MySQL's transactions are ACID, which ensures data validity considering transactions properties.


MySQL utilizes structured query language (SQL) while mentioning data from a data set table or a mix of tables. SQL is the most well known and used inquiry language requiring just an information definition language (DDL) and an information control language (DML) to speak with the data set.

On the other hand, MongoDB uses an unstructured query language.

Mentioning information or data from the JSON archives data set suggests that the inquiry ought to determine the properties of the reports to get coordinating with results. MongoDB upholds various dialects(like Python, Java, C##, Perl, PHP, Ruby, and JavaScript) in which inquiries can be assembled.

To perform a query in MongoDB, the following function should be applied: DB.collection.find(). A compound query can establish specific conditions for various fields within the collection's documents using query operators. Query operations (e.g. $and, $or, $type, $eq, etc.) specify the conditions and enable query filter documents. Once the conditions are defined, it identifies which information or record to select accordingly and, further, update, read or delete it.

Nevertheless, MongoDB does not perform JOIN operations nor has an equivalent. With MySQL, JOIN operations (inner, outer, left, right, and cross) are applied to retrieve data from two or more database tables. Simply put, these operations allow relational data to relate by using a single SQL statement.

MongoDB vs MySQL: when to use?

It is difficult to say which data set is better when everything relies upon the setting they are being investigated. Both MySQL and MongoDB are amazing data set administration frameworks that work uniquely in contrast to each other. Accordingly, regardless of whether one of the information bases is the most appropriate choice for a particular business or task, it may not be the best answer for an alternate reason. Furthermore, a few organizations even depend on the two frameworks to handle unmistakable assignments.

One of the very few things MongoDB and MySQL have in common is that they are open source and easy to access. Moreover, both systems provide commercial versions with additional features. Apart from these similarities, at the core of their performance is their relational and non-relational nature.

As a report data set, MongoDB is the most appropriate answer for high-volume conditions, considering it doesn't restrict the sum and sorts of information one wishes to store. It is especially valuable for cloud-based administrations since MongoDB's level adaptability adjusts impeccably with the cloud's nimbleness. Also, it lessens responsibility, facilitates scaling inside a business or project, and provides high availability and fast data recoveries.

Despite the many advantages this system might have, MySQL surpasses MongoDB in reliability and data consistency. And if security is also a priority, then MySQL is widely recognized as one of the most secure DBMS.

Relational databases are the most appropriate option when the type of application demands multi-row transactions (for instance, in accounting and banking systems). In addition to providing safety, MySQL also enables a high transaction rate. In fact, MongoDB focuses on allowing a high insert rate, whereas MySQL supports ACID transactions and concentrates on delivering transaction safety.

Overall, MySQL is highly recommended for businesses, institutions, or projects with a fixed data schema and does not intend to scale much in data diversity, thus requiring easy and low maintenance while ensuring data integrity and reliability.

On the other hand, MongoDB is the most suitable choice for growing businesses or projects with an unstable data schema. This system's non-relational data nature allows documents to be freely used and stored without a structure, making it easy to update and retrieve. MongoDB is often used in projects that require content management, handle IoT (Internet-of-Things), perform real-time analytics, and so on.


MySQL is an open-source relational database, implying that its information is coordinated into tables permitting you to relate a piece of information with different pieces of it. MongoDB is additionally open-source however functions as a report data set. Consequently, it doesn't relate records, and its information composition is unfixed, taking into consideration a more powerful and adaptable data set with a higher ability to embed data.

Before deciding upon the best database system, the specific business or project's priorities should be clear and well-established.

Since MongoDB handles a lot of information better than MySQL, it is the fittest choice for cloud-based administrations, for applications inclined to develop and change, and for conditions described by high information volume.

With MySQL, its fixed and structured data schema provides greater consistency and reliability than most databases. Another great benefit of using MySQL is its superior data security due to ACID-compliant transactions, being the most suitable choice for applications that value this feature.

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Debarghya Das
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