What is the difference between SQL and NoSQL?

In projects, we generally use two types of databases i.e. SQL based database and NoSQL based database. Developers often get confused when to use which database. So, in this blog, we will learn the difference between SQL and NoSQL and we will also find which type of database should be used when. So, let's get started with a quick revision of SQL and NoSQL database.

What is SQL?

SQL or Structured Query Language is a language that is used to have communication between the user and the database. It is used in the databases that use some structured data. Relational databases use SQL for making changes in their databases.

Learn more about SQL from here.

What is NoSQL?

NoSQL or "Not Only SQL" or "Not SQL" is used in that type of databases where there is no requirement of a fixed or structured database. Here there is no fixed schema. It is generally used in real-time web applications. Some of the companies that are using NoSQL are Facebook, Google, etc.

This language is made to remove the difficulties that were faced while using the SQL. So, you can store structured, unstructured or semi-structured data with the help of NoSQL.


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  • SQL is used for relational databases and NoSQL is used for non-relational databases.
  • In SQL databases, we have a predefined database schema and data is stored in the form of tables. But in NoSQL, the databases are document-based and data is stored in the form of key-value pairs or graph-based.
  • SQL databases are vertically scalable and NoSQL databases are horizontally scalable.
  • The SQL database uses ACID property while the NoSQL database uses BASE model.
  • The NoSQL database is used for hierarchical data storage while the SQL database is to store related and structured data.

When and where to use SQL and NoSQL?

  • When you are using the RDMS, then you should use SQL and if the database is not related as in case of RDMS, you can use NoSQL.
  • If you are following the ACID property then go for SQL, otherwise, you can use the BASE model of NoSQL.
  • If you want to execute some joins or complex queries then you can use SQL.
  • If you are having some hierarchical data, then use NoSQL because the SQL databases are not suitable for hierarchical data.
  • For having a flexible database, you can use NoSQL in place of SQL.

That's all about SQL and NoSQL. Hope you learned something new today.

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