SQLite vs MySQL - Learn the differences between the two SQL database applications

Learn the differences between SQLite and MySQL database applications

Posted on September 10, 2021

Both SQLite and MySQL are relational database management systems (or RDBMS) that use Structured Query Language (or SQL) to retrieve information from their database.

This tutorial will help you learn the differences between SQLite and MySQL database applications and give you some guidelines on when to use SQLite or MySQL for your application.

Let’s start with learning how SQLite works, then we will continue with learning how MySQL works.

How SQLite works

SQLite is a lightweight, open-source RDBMS that does not require an initial setup or configuration to run. SQLite is a server-less SQL database engine, meaning that you don’t need to set up a client/server connection to store and retrieve information from its database.

The SQLite database is directly saved to the disk and the library size is only around 300kb in size.

Because SQLite uses fewer resources than other database applications, you’ll find SQLite databases used in a variety of embedded devices like mobile phones/tablets, gaming consoles, medical devices, and automobiles.

How MySQL database works

Like SQLite, MySQL is also an open-source RDMBS application that’s free to use.

However, MySQL is more advanced than SQLite and you need to create an initial setup before using it. MySQL can have multiple users with different permissions, and you are required to create one super user with access to all permissions during initial setup.

MySQL can be used in Windows, Mac, Linux, or any Unix-based operating systems.

The MySQL database uses a client/server architecture, and the server application size is about 600MB. Each MySQL client can connect to the server to request different data.

The scalability of MySQL is one of its most compelling features, and it’s the most popular choice for web-based applications.

Data type supported by SQLite and MySQL

SQLite has a smaller list of supported data types when compared with MySQL.

The following five data types are supported by SQLite:

  • null - for NULL data
  • text - for text string data
  • blob - for blob type data
  • integer - for storing signed integer numbers
  • real - for storing real floating numbers

On the other hand, MySQL supports a large variety of data types that you can use in your database.

For text or string type alone, MySQL supports char, varchar, text, tinytext, mediumtext, longtext, and many more. You will find MySQL supports even more types for numeric and date and time types.

Database scalability between SQLite and MySQL

The MySQL client/server architecture allows the database system to scale and serve multiple requests from different users simultaneously.

With the addition of permission management, you can grant different permissions to different users so that your users only have permissions that are required for their job.

For example, the members of your website may only be able to INSERT new entries to the database, while administrators may also have permission to DELETE entries from the database.

These permissions can be revoked at any time, so you can easily remove access to the server as people come and leave your application.

Meanwhile, SQLite doesn’t have a user management system embedded in the application, meaning that anyone that has the database copy can access the data inside it.

SQLite is expected to be a local storage database to an application similar to how a phone has its own internal memory disk. This is why it’s not designed for handling multiple users at once.


To summarize everything, SQLite is a file-based SQL database application while MySQL is a client/server based SQL database application.

The goal of SQLite is to provide a local storage for a single application or device that’s immediately accessible, while MySQL aims to be the central database server where multiple applications can store and retrieve their data.

SQLite supports a few data types that are deemed essential for a single application, while MySQL tries to support as many data types that may be required for applications of all sizes.

Finally, MySQL was designed to scale and handle multiple requests from multiple users, while SQLite was designed to serve only one user.

When you need to serve multiple users and store data in multiple types, then you should use MySQL.

But if you want to provide a simple database storage for a single application instance, then you should go with SQLite.

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