9 Best Open Source Database Software

Applications and programs require storage for data. A database is a crucial facilitator of every web application because it is the base for storing large amounts of app or web data in an organized fashion.

When choosing a database, consider its cost, flexibility, and the support of hosting providers. An open source database is preferable because it has several advantages.

For example, a free database management system (DBMS) will not cost you a dime, and you have no virtual restrictions on how you can use it. And here’s the icing on the cake; some of the most successful (and popular) database applications are open source solutions.

If you’re looking to move your business or organization to open source solutions, I’ve compiled a list of the best open source database software.

What is An Open Source Database Software?

A database is the collection of information that an application stores and retrieves. The database will sit on your server, with the other backend elements such as the core files of your site and any media you use. Using an open source database for your website can be as beneficial as using an open source content management system (like WordPress).

Moreover, an open source database can free you from proprietary databases’ cost and licensing restrictions, allowing you to focus on developing your awesome application instead of fighting the 3rd party database service.

Best Open Source Database Software

The following is a list of open source databases. However, it is not exhaustive. Many more options are available than can be included here, but I have curated our top picks.

1. MySQL

MySQL is a widely used relational database management system (RDBMS) that can run as a server providing multi-user access to several databases. MySQL is named after co-founder Michael Widenius's daughter, My. 
MySQL Screenshot.

MySQL is a widely used relational database management system (RDBMS) that can run as a server providing multi-user access to several databases. MySQL is named after co-founder Michael Widenius’s daughter, My. 

With its origins in Sweden, most of its development team today works for Oracle Corporation, which acquired MySQL in 2008. 

MySQL has more than 3,500 open source contributors and has been translated into more than 65 languages. 

MySQL became popular with early adopters looking for an alternative to expensive enterprise systems from Oracle, IBM, and Sybase. 

MySQL has since evolved into a versatile tool that developers or businesses of all sizes can use. 

Although MySQL had its roots in high-performance Internet applications, it’s also found success in projects like Drupal and WordPress, which require databases to store user data in real-time. 

Because it uses SQL commands, anyone familiar with Oracle should have no problem getting up to speed with MySQL; however, some users say they feel like something is missing because of the lack of features found in proprietary databases such as Replication.

2. MariaDB

The MariaDB database, a fork of MySQL, is a relational database management system intended to remain free and open-source software under the GNU General Public License. 
The MariaDB Monitor Screenshot

The MariaDB database, a fork of MySQL, is a relational database management system intended to remain free and open-source software under the GNU General Public License. 

It was created by some of the original developers of MySQL who forked it due to concerns over MySQL’s acquisition by Oracle Corporation in 2009.

It can be used as an alternative to MySQL and is especially popular among companies that prefer open source software over proprietary options. 

The software’s core features are broadly similar to MySQL, with most of its additions improving performance and ease of use. 

Because it’s compatible with MySQL, it should also be easy for you to switch between databases if necessary. 

This may come in handy if you need more advanced features than MariaDB offers or want access to support from Oracle.

3. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that emphasizes compliance, portability, and reliability standards.

PostgreSQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that emphasizes compliance, portability, and reliability standards. 

PostgreSQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that emphasizes compliance, portability, and reliability standards.

It was created by Michael Stonebraker and others at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986. 

Credit: https://www.sqlshack.com/working-with-regular-expressions-in-postgresql/

A notable characteristic of PostgreSQL is its support for advanced data types and SQL extensions. Its extensive feature set makes it a popular choice for businesses developing enterprise software. 

PostgreSQL uses Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) for XML output. 

However, some consider using XSLT a security concern because it allows hackers to run custom commands on a machine if they can get access to an XML file’s code.

4. MongoDB

MongoDB is a document-oriented database, meaning that data is stored in JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas (e.g., no pre-defined table structures). 

MongoDB is a document-oriented database, meaning that data is stored in JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas (e.g., no pre-defined table structures). 

Dynamic schemas make it easy to store unstructured or semi-structured data and make querying for things like find me all products where the name contains ‘foo’ simple. 

Another great thing about MongoDB is its ability to scale from small deployments of a few dozen gigabytes up to hundreds of terabytes (or even petabytes). 

This flexibility has made it extremely popular, especially among startups and technology companies.

5. SQLite

SQLite is an in-process library that implements a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine. 
Credit: https://devopedia.org/sqlite

SQLite is an in-process library that implements a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine. 

In other words, it’s a DBMS that does not require the installation of a separate server application, and it does not require configuration by a system administrator. 

This makes SQLite an excellent choice for developers who need to work with databases on mobile devices or within applications deployed across mobile devices, Web servers, and desktop computers. 

The library can be accessed using embedded programming or through one of several client libraries available for various programming languages. 

It was designed to allow both single file and disk-based database files. Support for multiple virtual machines is provided by creating additional database files with different names but sharing the same storage area under a single directory tree.

6. Redis

Redis, founded in 2011, is an open source database utilized by millions of users as both a database and cache.

Redis, founded in 2011, is an open source database utilized by millions of users as both a database and cache.

A list of great things about Redis include that it’s swift, scales well, is easy to install, has an excellent object-oriented data model, and is open source. 

It was created as a response to limitations in Memcached but has since surpassed it in popularity for several reasons. 

The most important advantage over Memcached is less administration overhead because you can do everything via REST. 

This makes getting started with Redis simple, and its flexibility means you can use it in almost any situation you’d use Memcached.

7. Neo4j

Neo4j is a Graph database software based on Java. 
Read: https://neo4j.com/press-releases/query-language-graph-databases-international-standard/

Neo4j is a Graph database software based on Java. 

It can store and query for graph data, including graphs, relationships, edges, and nodes, without converting it into another format like JSON or XML. 

Neo4j has a variety of APIs in different languages, including Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, and C++, and an official web-based Graph Studio that allows you to work with graphs in a user-friendly manner. 

It’s even possible to run Neo4j Server inside Docker containers using their official Docker image on Linux and Windows platforms. 

Graphs are complex data types, but they’re also instrumental, so Neo4j is an excellent tool for storing large amounts of data that may otherwise be difficult to manage using other tools.

8. Apache CouchDB

CouchDB open source database is an evolution of ideas from many different projects, including Google's BigTable and Megastore.
Credit: https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/introduction-to-apache-couchdb/

The Apache CouchDB open source database is an evolution of ideas from many different projects, including Google’s BigTable and Megastore. It’s written in Erlang, so it can be run on various operating systems using a single programming language (like Java). Still, as with all database systems, there are trade-offs. 

CouchDB scales incredibly large because its data model is documents rather than rows and columns. You’ll have to write your software for indexing searches or associating related data. 

Some people call CouchDB NoSQL, although that term has come under fire for creating too much confusion between fundamentally two different technologies: document databases (like CouchDB) and graph databases (like Neo4j).

9. BigchainDB

Unlike traditional blockchain, BigchainDB uses a linked data approach that can be applied across multiple industries. 

This makes it an excellent choice for developers who want to explore how blockchain technology can be used without worrying about underlying cryptocurrency issues. 

What’s more, BigchainDB is flexible enough to work with different consensus algorithms so that users can determine exactly how they want their systems to run.

Summary

To create an app of any kind, you’ll need to use a database. Web apps require at least one database — you may need several to store all the data you’ll be working with across various use cases.

You’ll want to choose an open source database if you’re looking for a flexible and customizable solution.

MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and Redis are all open source databases, popular with web hosts and open source communities.

Pick one that suits best for your project. Good luck!

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