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Website Databases: MariaDB vs MySQL in 2022

When it comes to choosing a database for your website, there are many great choices to pick from. MySQL and MariaDB are two of the industry leaders, and are trusted by literally millions of websites worldwide. But how do you decide between them?

At CanSpace Solutions, our default for standard hosting clients is MySQL, and clients with VPS fully managed hosting solutions or dedicated servers can choose between MySQL and MariaDB based on their preference.

How They Compare

MySQL is very much the “default” relational database. It’s included by default with WordPress installations, as well as Linux distributions including Ubuntu. 

MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, which means that it started as an exact copy and has diverged over time in order to provide some enhancements. This was done at the time MySQL was acquired by Oracle, whose Oracle Database was at the time MySQL’s main competitor. MariaDB’s creators have intentionally kept it in sync with MySQL releases to ensure continued compatibility. At this point in time, MariaDB still works as a direct, drop-in replacement for MySQL databases.

MariaDB Enhancements

Notably, MariaDB supports up to 200,000 database connections, which is key for large e-commerce sites and other websites that make extensive use of their databases. Meanwhile, that level of connections is only available in the MySQL Enterprise edition and comes with higher costs.

MariaDB also includes more options of database engines, including the following that are not supported by MySQL: 

  • XtraDB
  • Memory Storage Engine
  • MariaDB ColumnsStore
  • Aria
  • Cassandra Storage Engine
  • Connect

In terms of compatibility between the two systems, MariaDB’s data files are generally binary compatible with those from the equivalent MySQL version, including filenames and paths that are generally the same. Data and table definition files are also binary compatible, and MariaDB’s client protocol is binary compatible with MySQL’s client protocol.

For a list of MariaDB’s incompatibilities, click here.


The levels of support available for the two platforms are roughly comparable. Support for MySQL is available through Oracle, while support for MariaDB is available via the platform’s robust online community. Both offer a premier level of support that gives even more hands-on support for those with more robust needs.

At CanSpace we support both MySQL and MariaDB, and our VPS and Dedicated Server clients can specify which database server they want installed.

Do you have more technical questions about whether to choose MySQL or MariaDB for your website? We’re here to help you make the right choice! Contact us today!

CanSpace Team

CanSpace Solutions is Canada's leading domain name registrar and web hosting provider. Keep an eye on our blog for expert information on domain names, websites, and running a business online.