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Top Five Databases to Use with PHP

By Voja Janjic
on September 30, 2015

Although MySQL is the most commonly used database software in web applications, there are many other database systems that are also popular and provide good solutions in certain use-cases. In this article, we will discuss these systems and their advantages and disadvantages.


The Oracle relational database management system is widely used in enterprise information systems. Many big corporations and government agencies are using Oracle’s database software. It can be deployed on Windows, UNIX, Linux and OS X operating systems and represents a powerful, but complex solution. It supports many advanced features, such as partitioning, materialized views, many index types and parallel queries. Also, Oracle provides good database security measures, including brute-force protection and password complexity rules. However, due to its complexity, it is only suitable for large databases. Small and mid-sized companies that have small databases are advised to use one of the simpler solutions.

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL server is a business-oriented database software. It provides enterprise-class data management and business intelligence tools. Unlike Oracle, it is very easy to use, has a lot of documentation and great support. Microsoft SQL server provides great performance for real-time applications, as well as business intelligence processes and data analytics. Also, it provides excellent data recovery support, where in case of a power loss or an improper shutdown, the entire database could be recovered.

On the other hand, SQL server is very costly and can be installed only on Windows operating systems.


IBM DB2 is a database software solution optimized for large databases with high-volume workloads, while remaining a cost-effective system. It is estimated that a company could reduce costs by approximately 30 percent by migrating from Oracle to DB. DB2 can be run on multiple platforms: Windows, Linux and UNIX.

Although DB2 is more cost-effective than Oracle, it does not have as many features and it is slower on large databases.


PostgreSQL is an open-source database management system. It is usually used for online gaming and data center automation applications. Although not as popular as MySQL, PostgreSQL is a no cost, powerful and feature-rich database solution. PostgreSQL is highly programmable and extensible, allowing programmers to easily write custom stored procedures, that can simplify the execution of repeated and complex database operations. Also, one of the main PostgreSQL features is the complete support for reliable transactions. On the other hand, it is not advised to use PostgreSQL if you need fast read operations, as it is slower that the other solutions.


MySQL is the most commonly used database software in web applications. It is a part of the LAMP software bundle that is usually installed on web servers. It is an open-source, low-cost solution that is easy to use, has great support and can be installed on virtually any operating system. However, MySQL has many limitations, such as poor performance scaling and very little functionality related to data warehousing, fault tolerance, and performance diagnostics.