In this article, we will discuss what MySQL and MariaDB are, their differences, and why Cloudways chose to move to MariaDB from MySQL.

Additional topics are also included for a better understanding of this article, so choose from the below topics:

What is the Database?

A database is a structured, organized set of data. A web database is a database application designed to be managed and accessed through the internet or electronically from a computer system. In computing terminology, a database is a software that stores and organizes data. Think of it as a file cabinet where you store data in different sections called tables. When you need a particular file, you look into that specific section (table) and get the file (data) you need.

What is the DBMS & Database Manager?

DBMS refers to a Database Management System, a software or set of software programs to control the retrieval, storage, and modification of organized data in a database. MariaDB is a ubiquitous example of DBMS. Database Manager is part of DBMS, which handles data organization, retrieval, and storage. A database manager creates a bridge or links two or more files together and is the foundation for developing conventional business systems. On the contrary, a file manager works with only one file at a time and is typically used interactively on a computer to manage personal and independent data and files.

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open-source database management system that allows you to manage relational databases. Here, free and open-source means that you can use this tool without paying anything, and you can also change its source code and tailor it based on your requirements. It is an Oracle bracked RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) based on Structured Query Language (SQL). It was initially released on May 23, 1995, by a Swedish company called MySQL AB, founded by Michael Monty Widenius, David Axmark, and Allan Larsson.

MySQL is a full-fledged database server, and client tools are available on various platforms such as Linux, macOS, Unix, Windows, etc.; it can be installed easily on a server and a desktop pc. It is also a critical LAMP stack component, including Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

The SQL language is used for accessing and managing content in the database, and the reason for its popularity is fast processing, flexibility, and reliability, but now MariaDB is becoming a popular choice. MySQL and MariaDB are critical fragments of almost all PHP applications, such as Magento, WordPress, etc. But now MariaDB is becoming a world’s choice, and the reasons are explained below.

What is MariaDB?

MariaDB is an advanced and compatible drop-in replacement for the equivalent MySQL version. It is also free and remains an open-source RDBMS (Relational Database Management System), which means that MariaDB can be used without paying anything, and changes can be made in the source code to meet the requirements. It was created by the original developers of MySQL and was first released on 29 October 2009. MariaDB is a database server, and client tools like MySQL are available on various platforms such as Linux, macOS, Unix, Windows, etc.

Data is turned into structured information in a wide array of applications by MariaDB, and it is used because it is blazingly fast and reliable when it comes to accessing and managing content with a rich ecosystem of plugins, storage engines, and many other utilities for a wide variety of use cases. MariaDB provides an SQL interface for accessing data. The latest versions of MariaDB also include GIS and JSON features. MySQL and MariaDB are critical fragments of almost all PHP applications, such as Magento, WordPress, etc. But now MariaDB is becoming a world’s choice, and the reasons are explained below.

Which Database Versions Do Cloudways Support?

Cloudways currently has MySQL 5.5, MySQL 5.6, MySQL 5.7, MariaDB 10.0, MariaDB 10.1, MariaDB 10.2, MariaDB 10.3, MariaDB 10.4, MariaDB 10.5, and MariaDB 10.6 supported. However, newer servers and servers deployed after January 12th, 2022, are available with Debian 10 distribution and MariaDB 10.4 as a default database. You can always upgrade to the latest database version, e.g., MariaDB 10.6, as per your requirements.

There is a certain limitation: if you use the specific MySQL version, you can only upgrade to specific MySQL and MariaDB versions using the Cloudways Platform. We have explained the same in the below table.

Database Version

Upgradable to

MySQL 5.5

MySQL 5.6, MySQL 5.7, MariaDB 10.0, MariaDB 10.1, MariaDB 10.2, and MariaDB 10.3.

MySQL 5.6

MySQL 5.7, MariaDB 10.1, MariaDB 10.2, and MariaDB 10.3.

MySQL 5.7

MariaDB 10.2 and MariaDB 10.3.

MariaDB 10.0

MariaDB 10.1, MariaDB 10.2, and MariaDB 10.3.

MariaDB 10.1

MariaDB 10.2 and MariaDB 10.3.

MariaDB 10.2

MariaDB 10.3 and newer

MariaDB 10.3

MariaDB 10.4 and newer

MariaDB 10.4

MariaDB 10.5 and newer

MariaDB 10.5

MariaDB 10.6 and newer

MariaDB 10.6

It will be upgradeable to any new MariaDB version once available on the Cloudways Platform.

Difference between MySQL and MariaDB

Here, we will compare MySQL with MariaDB to understand why Cloudways moved to MariaDB. The MySQL developers forked MariaDB for future enhancements and development.


MariaDB is a drop-in replacement of MySQL, which means that MySQL users can move to MariaDB without having compatibility issues. MySQL core components are tables, roles, constraints, stored procedures, and views.

A table consists of rows, and every row contains the same set of columns. MySQL uses keys to identify rows/records in a table, and foreign keys are used to assure successful links between two related tables.

Since MariaDB is a fork of MySQL thus, the indexes, database structures, command-line tools, and syntax of the queries of MariaDB are the same as MySQL, which results in no alteration to be done at the application level to use the MariaDB, which also means that data and table definition files are fully compatible. Also, MySQL connectors will work with MariaDB without any alteration, and the client protocols, APIs, and structures remain the same too with MariaDB.

Thread Pooling

To understand what thread pooling is, one needs to think of two or more slots able to handle new processes; as soon as one is available, a new instruction takes its place for processing. It does not mean that there is an infinite number of processing slots, as this would be counterproductive, yet a new instruction can be handled as soon as any slot is available. With this knowledge in mind, let’s look at how both MySQL and MariaDB can handle simultaneous instructions. MySQL has a feature of thread pooling available in the enterprise edition but not in the community free version, but MariaDB has a thread pooling feature available in the free version as well. MySQL community version works on one thread per connection, which means that multiple connections are not supported on a single thread; therefore, in MySQL number of connections is directly proportional to the number of threads, which leads to slow query results and average performance. On the other hand, MariaDB offers a thread pooling facility where a pool will have open threads in which a new connection can pick up and query the database, so MariaDB does not open a new thread for a new connection, which results in faster query results and better performance.

Storage Engines

MariaDB also offers a groundbreaking feature of Storage Engines, which are pre-installed, such as InnoDB, CSV, Aria, etc. In contrast, MySQL does not provide storage engines, but it can be installed afterward manually. A storage engine is used to create, read, and update data from a database by the Database Management System (DBMS).

Current Development and Security Upgrades

Oracle Corporation does the current development of MySQL; therefore, its development decisions are not publicly available. In contrast, MariaDB development is publicly available, reviewable, and debatable. MySQL makes security releases once in two months, whereas MariaDB simultaneously follows industry standards by releasing its security upgrades and announcements. The latter also shares information about all their security vulnerabilities.

Cloudways chose to move to MariaDB, considering these significant improvements. So, if you are still using the MySQL database, you can easily upgrade to MariaDB using the Cloudways Platform.

That’s it! We hope this article was helpful. If you need any help, then feel free to search your query on Cloudways Support Center or contact us via chat (Need a Hand > Send us a Message). Alternatively, you can also create a support ticket.

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