The differences between SQL server and PostgreSQL

The differences between SQL server and PostgreSQL
Written by Debarghya DasDecember 2, 2021
12 min read
Debarghya Das

Junior Front-End Developer

In this appropriate discussion, we will know the main differences between SQL Server and PostgreSQL.

About SQL

SQL is a Structured Query Language, which is a computer language for storing, manipulating, and retrieving data stored in a relational database.

SQL is the standard language for Relational Database systems. All the Relational Database Management Systems (RDMS) like MySQL, MS Access, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Postgres, and SQL Server use SQL as their standard database language.

SQL is a language to operate databases; it includes database creation, deletion, fetching rows, modifying rows, etc. SQL is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard language, but there are many different versions of the SQL language.


About PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system that uses and extends the SQL language combined with many features that safely store and scale the most complicated data workloads. The origins of PostgreSQL date back to 1986 as part of the POSTGRES project at the University of California at Berkeley and has more than 30 years of active development on the core platform.

PostgreSQL has earned a strong reputation for its proven architecture, reliability, data integrity, robust feature set, extensibility, and the dedication of the open source community behind the software to consistently deliver performant and innovative solutions. PostgreSQL runs on all major operating systems, has been ACID-compliant since 2001, and has powerful add-ons such as the popular PostGIS geospatial database extender. It is no surprise that PostgreSQL has become the open source relational database of choice for many people and organisations.


Comparisons Between SQL Server and PostgreSQL

Below is the top 8 difference between SQL Server vs PostgreSQL


  • Basic Diferrence: SQL server is a database management system which is mainly used for e commerce and providing different data warehousing solution.
  • Updatable Views: Views can be updatable even if 2 tables views are updated If the tables have different keys and the update statement does not involve more than 1 table then it will be updated automatically. User can also male use of triggers to update complex views.
  • Computed Columns: SQL server does provide Computed Columns but views are preferred over computed columns. Computed columns have a very limited usage as they are not capable to holding different rolls up.
  • Replication: SQL server can replicate all sorts of data. This can be log shipping, mirroring, snapshot, and transactional and merge etc. and can even have non-SQL Server windows-based subscribers.
  • Support stored procedures and stored functions in different languages: SQL server does support this feature. It can be done with any language which complies with CLR like VB, C#, Python, etc. TO get this done successfully user must first compile the code into all first.
  • Dynamic actions in SQL: SQL server does not support this feature. But instead of this user can use the stored procedure and call these from select statements so it is much more limiting than PostgreSQL.
  • Materialized Views: Yes, it provides the facilities to run materialized views. The functioning though varies depending on where the query is being run. It can be SQL Express, Workgroup, etc.
  • Case sensitivity: By default SQL server is considered to be case insensitive but if a user wants to change the same they can do it by going down to the column level.


  • Basic Diferrence: PostgreSQL is an advanced version of SQL which provides support to different functions of SQL like foreign keys, subqueries, triggers, and different user-defined types and functions.
  • Updatable Views: Views in PostgreSQL can be updated but not automatically unlike SQL server. The user must write rules against different views to update them. Also, complex views can be easily created.
  • Computed Columns: PostgreSQL does not provide computed columns. PostgreSQL, on the other hand, has functional indexes which work just as a view.
  • Replication: Replication in Postgres is in the form of reports and is supposed to be least polished of the bunch. Although there are different third-party options to choose from the ones that are free and not free. PostgreSQL 8.4 or a higher slated version can have built-in replication feature.
  • Support stored procedures and stored functions in different languages: Here there is no need to create a dull first. A user who has created the code can easily see what the code is doing. The server which is downside must host the language the environment is using.
  • Dynamic actions in SQL: PostgreSQL does provide this feature and just by using select statements a user can perform really all operations and retrieve and do all other jobs easily.
  • Materialized Views: Postgres does not provide facility to run materialized views. Instead of this, they have a module called mat views which helps in rebuilding any materialized view.
  • Case sensitivity: By default, PostgreSQL is case sensitive and it is difficult to make it insensitive. Changes can be made in it but they are not exposed and are not ANSI compliant hence making it a delirious job to use it on MS Access, PHP Gallery, etc. where SQL is regarded to be case insensitive.

Key Difference between SQL Server and PostgreSQL

Both are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the major Difference:

  • CSV support: Postgres is on top of the game when it comes to CSV support. It provides different commands like ‘copy to’ and ‘copy from’ which help in the fast processing of data. It also provides helpful error messages. If there is a slight issue with import it will throw an error and stop the import then and there. SQL server, on the other hand, does not support either importing the data or exporting it.
  • Cross-platform: In today’s world for a language or any program to be cross-platform is really very important. With the advent of technology and IT industry, it has become very important to be accessible over Linux and UNIX as they are open source systems. SQL server is a Microsoft product is vendor locked and can be run only on Microsoft systems. Postgres can be used on Linux, BSD, Solaris and also Windows.
  • Procedural language features: PL/PGSQL is a native procedural language provided by Postgres which has different modern features. It supports JSON data type and hence has ultimate power and loads of flexibility included in a single package. In addition to this, a user can easily use Python, Perl, R, Java, PHP with SQL as they are supported as procedural languages in Postgres. MS SQL server also provides procedural language support as an inbuilt feature. But this feature is a bit messy, slow and has poor features. It also has small errors with different bugs always occurring.
  • Regular expressions: Postgres provides a huge number of regex as a basis for analytical work. SQL server, on the other hand, has like, substring, patindex which are not as good when compared to expressions provided by Postgres.


In this SQL Server versus PostgreSQL article, we have seen Both SQL Server versus PostgreSQL are database management devices. They help in dealing with all information appropriately and effectively. Yet, with regards to various highlights PostgreSQL is consistently at the advantage. It is a high level adaptation of SQL and subsequently gives numerous extra highlights. This multitude of elements are free of charge, in contrast to SQL server. Likewise, it is cross-stage and can be utilized with any working framework.

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Debarghya Das
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