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Key Difference Between SQL and MySQL: A Comprehensive Guide

Published: 16th June, 2023

Anupama Raj

Content Writer at almaBetter

Discover the key difference between SQL and MySQL, explore their unique roles in data management, their unique characteristics and functionalities in this blog.

Behind the scenes of every website, app, or software that handles vast amounts of data, there are two key players at work: SQL and MySQL. These powerhouses may sound similar, but they have distinct roles in the world of data management.

So, what is the difference between SQL and MySQL? SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is like a universal language spoken by databases. It allows us to communicate with and extract information from databases effortlessly. On the other hand, MySQL is like a specialized tool, a specific implementation of SQL that functions as a reliable and widely-used database management system.

SQL, although referred to as a "language," is different from traditional programming languages in that it focuses primarily on managing and manipulating data within databases rather than executing general-purpose programming tasks.

In this blog, we will dive into the fascinating world of SQL and MySQL, and explore:

  • Understanding Database and RDBMS
  • Understanding SQL and MySQL
  • Difference between SQL and MySQL

Understanding the Basics: Database and RDBMS

Before diving into the differences between SQL and MySQL, let's begin with a brief overview of the concepts of a database and RDBMS.

Database: A database is a structured collection of data organized for efficient storage, retrieval, and manipulation. It acts as a repository that stores various types of information, such as customer details, product inventory, or financial records.

RDBMS: An RDBMS, or Relational Database Management System, is a software application that enables the creation, management, and interaction with relational databases. It provides a structured framework for storing and retrieving data using tables, relationships, and SQL queries.

Understanding SQL and MySQL: An Overview

SQL:  SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a standardized programming language used for managing relational databases and performing queries. It serves as a lingua franca for communication with various database management systems, including MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server. SQL provides a set of commands and statements to create, modify, and query databases, making it an essential tool for data manipulation.

MySQL: MySQL, on the other hand, stands for "My Structured Query Language." It is an open-source RDBMS based on SQL. Developed by MySQL AB, later acquired by Oracle Corporation, MySQL offers a comprehensive suite of features and functions for efficient data storage, retrieval, and management. It is widely used across different applications and platforms.

One important distinction to note is the difference between MySQL and SQL Server, where MySQL is an open-source RDBMS, while SQL Server is a proprietary database management system developed by Microsoft.



Differentiating SQL and MySQL: The Table of Distinctions

Let's delve into a table that highlights the difference between MySQL and SQL:

DefinitionSQL is a standardized programming language used for managing relational databases and queries. 
MySQL is an open-source RDBMS based on SQL, widely used for various  

relational databases and queries applications.


Type of System

| SQL is a programming language. | MySQL is a specific implementation of SQL, functioning as an RDBMS. |
| Database Compatibility |

SQL is compatible with various database management systems such as MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, etc.

| MySQL is a specific implementation of SQL, commonly used alongside the MySQL database system. |
| Data Manipulation and Query Language features |

SQL provides commands and statements for data manipulation and querying.

| MySQL offers a comprehensive set of data manipulation and query language features. |
| Licensing | SQL does not have its own licensing terms as it is a standardized language. | MySQL is an open-source RDBMS, meaning it is free to use for both personal and commercial purposes. |
| Advantages |

  • Open-Source.
  • Data security.
  • High Performance.
  • Data Security.
  • Complete workflow controls.


  • No need for coding.
  • High speed.
  • Portability.
  • Multiple views of data.
  • Interactive language.



In conclusion, we have explored the captivating world of SQL and MySQL, and uncovered the essential answer to the question, "What is the difference between MySQL and SQL?" SQL, the universal language of databases, provides a standardized framework for managing and manipulating data across various database management systems.

On the other hand, MySQL, an open-source RDBMS based on SQL, serves as a specific implementation that offers advanced features and scalability. MySQL is commonly used as a back-end database solution, powering the storage and retrieval of data for various applications and websites. We also looked into the difference between SQL and MySQL server. So, the next time you encounter SQL or MySQL, remember their unique roles and functionalities.

Frequently asked Questions

What is SQL?

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a standardized programming language used for managing and manipulating relational databases.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open-source Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that implements SQL as its language. It provides a powerful and widely-used database management solution.

What is the difference between SQL and MySQL?

SQL is a language used for managing databases, while MySQL is a specific implementation of an RDBMS that utilizes SQL as its language. MySQL is one of many database systems that support SQL.

Is MySQL a type of SQL?

MySQL is not a type of SQL, but rather a relational database management system that uses the SQL for managing and manipulating the data within the database. SQL is a language used for communicating with and querying relational databases, and MySQL is one of the many RDBMSs that support the SQL language.

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