Understanding MongoDB and MySQL

MongoDB and MySQL are both Data management tools that can be used to perform a variety of tasks and for many technology solutions. While MongoDB is an open-source database that stores data in JSON documents, MySQL utilises an open-source relational database management system, also called RDBMS) meant for development. Oracle Corporation supports it. MongoDB boasts a NoSQL database and is backed by MongoDB, Inc. The main difference between MongoDB involves having a more vast approach as compared to MySQL’s platform. Let’s dive into a detailed description of MongoDB and MySQL.

How is MongoDB distinct from MySQL?

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL data storage

Each record in MongoDB is referred to as a document. A group/class of documents is called a collection. On the other hand, Each record stored in MySQL is called a row in a table. Rows are records when it comes to MySQL. MySQL uses a table to store rows of a similar type.

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL performance

While assessing the functional performance of both MongoDB and MySQL can be a difficult task, it is also good to compare both the features before using each system. Both the systems work in an entirely tangent manner. Furthermore, MySQL offers an option to reach two different SQL databases with a standard set of SQL benchmarks. It can be a task for MongoDB since relational and non-relational databases have additional features. The subjective nature of both systems makes the process of comparison time-consuming.

For instance, MongoDB uses optimisation for write performance. It features a specific insertMany() API, which you can use for rapidly inserting data apart from prioritising speed over other factors like safety. In terms of MySQL, you need to insert the data row-wise.

Likewise, MySQL is optimised to perform at a high bar across numerous indexed tables. However, MongoDB documents can be used via hierarchical data models. As a result, most data is preserved in a document, thereby eliminating the need to join across multiple other documents. 

To sum it up, MySQL provides a faster platform for selecting a significant number of records. On the other hand, MongoDB performs better at updating or inserting a gigantic load of records.

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL security

MongoDB helps access a role-based control model when enabled with a flexible permission set. Every user is assigned a role here, granting them permission over database operations and datasets. Moreover, every communication is encrypted using TLS. In MongoDB, you can also write encrypted documents on data collections using a master key. This master key, however, isn’t available to MongoDB alone and can only be achieved through data encryption.

Regarding security, MySQL’s encryption model is similar to MongoDB’s. One can also grant users the roles and privileges to perform database operations against specific datasets.

  • SQL vs. NoSQL

MongoDB boasts a NoSQL feature when it comes to databases. It means the predefined structure for incoming data can be adhered to for functioning. At the same time, if your document requires a different format, you can have it done here. Overall, MongoDB offers a diverse bunch of functions. It works dynamically to ensure the best results.

As the name suggests, MySQL uses the SQL for Structured Query Language. You cannot change the schema in MySQL. You can only enter the inputs in the schema offered to you.

To explain it more descriptively, let’s cite an example. No column requires an extra entry in a table where different columns are available for entering name and address. The system will not entertain a new column per the schema. However, you can do that in MongoDB irrespective of the schema. That is why it is referred to as a dynamic schema.

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL user-friendliness

MongoDB features a simple database that provides an option for easy programming. It holds its data in collections and does not need a specific schema. It is to be noted here that all software professionals may not be database experts. When compared with MySQL, MongoDB provides a significant advantage. To get the best out of a relational database, you need to understand concepts such as the principles of normalisation, relational database design, and referential integrity. MongoDB also supports transactions’ ACID(atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) properties. 

In contrast, MySQL is the first choice for users with extensive experience with SQL scripting and designing solutions for relational databases. For example, a banking application needs a robust transactional guarantee and referential integrity.  

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL scalability

MongoDB holds the reputation for being a straightforward system to scale through. It is because MongoDB uses a sharded cluster using shards. A replica set contains a replicated set of a group of MongoDB serving the same data. Doing this ensures effective disaster recovery and high-performance availability. Regarding MySQL, scalability is not regarded as one of its main features. You can either choose from vertical scalability or add read replicas. 

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL flexibility

So far, we know that MongoDB does not boast a schema, making it easier for developers to build and enhance applications over a period. With MongoDB, you can easily create new fields through an aggregation pipeline. One can call this an advantage as databases continue to grow.

Regarding MySQL, databases act slower when migrating schemas and other storing procedures. It depends on schemas that have to be updated.

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL query language

Both MongoDB and MySQL support a rich query language. Like other relational databases, MySQL uses a structured query language. MQL is short for MongoDB Query Language, explicitly designed for easier usage.

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL application

You can use MySQL while preparing a small-scale project within a restricted budget. It is the best alternative for you if you’re dealing with a high transaction rate. Besides, data security is always at a high when it comes to MySQL. If you prefer MongoDB, you can opt for the same, keeping in mind that you will get access to increased data availability with fast, automatic, and instant data recovery. If your services are cloud-based, you can easily opt for MongoDB.

  • MongoDB vs. MySQL data representation

While MongoDB saves data in the form of JSON-like documents, MySQL prefers storing data in the form of table rows. Both these databases are quite different since the storage is done entirely differently.

When to use each?

One of the most crucial differences between both database systems lies in the approach of the technical expert. Let’s look at what suits IT professionals best to understand the distinction between the systems and when to use each database type.

Depending on the experience of the IT professional, MySQL can serve as a boon. It ends up being an advantage as it offers a familiar database. You can expect a more mature and developed relational database system when using MySQL.

On the other hand, MongoDB comes off as an already well-established non-relational database system. One of the primary features of MongoDB is its robust scalability and flexible nature. But this often comes at the cost of safety and security when referential integrity is brought into the picture.


As both databases offer distinct functions, it is essential to know when to use what database type. Besides, both databases come with query language and a set that caters to developers’ best interests. While MySQL can best suit the work of a traditional scripting professional, MongoDB offers a more diverse range of activities. It makes MongoDB affluent, if not superior, more efficient in terms of database characteristics. If you can’t decide which database to choose, you can always refer to this ultimate full-stack collection that covers all the essential technologies and tools required for a full-stack developer. 

Also Read:  MongoDB: A Scalable Database with Powerful Performance