There are various types of databases used today in the industry. Some are SQL databases; some are NoSQL databases. To find the best database, we need to understand the difference between SQL and NoSQL databases. This article will explore the differences between SQL and NoSQL with a deep-dive. 

What Is the SQL Database?

SQL is a database language most commonly used for updating databases, executing queries, and managing permissions. Designed for relational database management systems, SQL's major applications include writing integration scripts, setting and running analytical queries, and addition, update, and deletion of data rows and columns in a database.

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What Is NoSQL Database?

NoSQL is a database system that, as it says in the name, does not use Structured Query Language (SQL) to submit queries. By using NoSQL databases, you can store large volumes of unstructured data. As expected, this results in much better throughput, read/write speeds - allowing for scale out of servers horizontally. A very popular NoSQL system is MongoDB, which uses JSON (Javascript Object Notation) to formulate queries.

What Are the Types of NoSQL Databases?

NoSQL databases are categorized into 4 major types. Let’s discuss each type for a better understanding:

  1. Document databases store data in a document, often in something like a JSON document. The values can be of different types, including strings, numbers, boolean, arrays, or objects.
  2. Key-value databases store data in unique key-value pairs, meaning each key is associated only with one value in a collection. We commonly use it for storing user preferences or caching.
  3. Wide-column stores data in the form of tables, rows, and dynamic columns. You can group related columns into column families. Individual rows then make up a column family.
  4. Graph databases store data in edges and nodes. A node represents an entity, like a user, category, or a piece of data. A relationship defines how two nodes are associated.



Key Areas 



Type of database

Relational database

Non-Relational database


Pre-defined schema

Dynamic schema

Database Categories

Table-based databases

Document-based databases


Structured Query Language

Un-Structured Query Language

Complex Queries

Good for complex queries

Not a good fit for complex queries

Online Processing

Used for OLTP

Used for OLAP

Base Properties

Based on ACID properties

Based on CAP theorem


Vertically scalable

Horizontally scalable

Auto Elasticity

Requires downtime in most cases

Automatic, No outage required


MySQL, Oracle

MongoDB, Cassandra


Image credit: couchbase

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The above article would have provided you the differences between SQL and NoSQL databases. Every business will have their preference of databases based on their requirements. Choosing the right database is critical in achieving performance or uptime goals.

If you wish to learn further about MySQL, then check out our SQL certification course.

This SQL certification course gives you all a comprehensive view of all the information needed to work with SQL databases and use them in your applications. You will learn how to correctly structure your database, author efficient SQL statements, and clauses, and manage your SQL database for scalable growth.

If you have any questions, do type them down in our comments section, and our experts will answer them for you promptly!s

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