MySQL is a database management system that uses the SQL language to define, update and query the database. SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a database language that’s used to pull, edit, and create information in a database.

Think of a database as a one big filing cabinet where information is stored, such as content, images, records, etc., – but without all the paper. In order to add, retrieve, and process data stored in a computer database, you need a database management system.

The official way to pronounce “MySQL” is “My Ess Que Ell,” not “my sequel.”


Why Use MySQL?

If your website requires MySQL, you’ll have no problem finding a web host since MySQL interfaces with PHP – over 70% of the world’s servers run PHP. Some hosting packages allow you to create additional MySQL databases on your account or even unlimited MySQL databases.

SELECT is the SQL command used to retrieve records – it’s one of the most powerful statements within SQL!

Having more than one MySQL database can be important if you want to create multiple websites with polished, interactive web pages. Your website(s) will generate more data, therefore you will need more room for it to be stored and organized. Storage consumed by MySQL databases shares your disc space quota with the rest of your web files, images, videos, audio, and even emails.

There are many reasons why MySQL is so popular:

  • It’s open source – Open source programs allow communities to access the code under the hood, given them an opportunity to crowd source troubleshooting, support, documentation, customization, and development.
  • It’s easy to use – MySQL is easy to install, relatively fast, and loaded with features, including visual web tools such as phpMyAdmin.
  • It’s widely available – MySQL can be installed on many different platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
  • It’s widely used – Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal all use MySQL, as do many organizations such as Nokia, Google, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • It works well with PHP – MySQL works with PHP (Personal Home Page) to make dynamic pages in your Web site. (*PHP has a native database support from MySQL.).
  • It’s versatile. – MySQL also works with C, C++ and C#, D, Java, Ruby, and Objective C.
  • It’s free – MySQL Is free to download and use!

MySQL is what’s called a relational database management system (RDBMS). A relational database is a system that organizes many pieces information into neat, orderly structures while keeping track of how all those pieces of information are related to each other.

The ability to define relationships is what differentiates relational databases from other types of databases. SQL is the language used for querying and managing data in a relational database system.

MySQL vs. Other Relational Databases

Not all relational databases are created equal. Each database has its own unique method of connecting and transporting information, but what sets MySQL apart from other relational databases is MySQL having multiple storage engines – this allows you to choose which is most effective for your application.

The following table, provided by udemy, includes information about the three popular relational databases, Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server, and how they compare:

OracleMySQLSQL Server
InterfaceGUI, SQLSQLGUI, SQL, Various
Language supportMany, including C, C#, C++, Java, Ruby, and Objective CMany, including C, C#, C++, D, Java, Ruby, and Objective CJava, Ruby, Python, VB, .Net, and PHP
Operating SystemWindows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, OS X, z/OS, AIXWindows, Linux, OS X, FreeBSD, SolarisWindows
LicensingProprietaryOpen sourceProprietary

How To Get Started With MySQL

If you’re new to MySQL, these resources will familiarize you with all the basics, including links to useful PHP code snippets and examples.

SQL Learning Resources

Learning SQL will give you another tool in your toolbox to help make your website better and faster. If you know SQL and understand its fundamental concepts, you’ll be in better control of your data. Check out the resources below to learn the basic elements of SQL and the relational data model.

Technical Support Resources

Help is out there if you need it. Below are a list of support resources to ensure your experience with MySQL is a good one with links to forums and message boards which offer help to a varied skill level.

  • MySQL – MySQL Technical Support Services provide direct access to MySQL Support engineers who can assist users in the development, deployment, and management of MySQL applications.
  • Learning MySQL – This densely packed tutorial (available for download) includes detailed instructions to help you set up and design an effective database with MySQL.
  • MySQL Forums – Forums are a great place to find answers to commonly asked questions as well as suggestions on how to improve your experience with MySQL.