SQL vs MySQL: Key Difference Between SQL And MySQL

sql vs mysql

Are you considering pursuing a career in big data, business analysis, or database administration? If that’s the case, then you’ll have to understand what SQL and MySQL can do for you.

However, choosing between SQL vs MySQL can be tough. The choice between the two can be a bit tricky for those who are new to both databases. The good news is that you can use them both simultaneously. You can use SQL and MySQL by adding a plugin to your website. On the other hand, you can also connect these databases to your website, giving you a lot of versatility when creating your site.

The terms “SQL” and “MySQL” are often used interchangeably, but they are two different things. SQL is a query language for managing data, statements, and queries. It was developed in the 1970s and is widely used in many databases, especially relational databases, due to its efficiency in dealing with large amounts of data. 

On the other hand, MySQL is software that communicates with the server, whether it’s a blade or a rack server. It is used to create, read, update, or delete databases and tables. However, it can also execute SQL commands across various databases. So, without further ado, let’s first know what SQL and MySQL are and then move to their key differences.

An Overview of SQL

SQL is a programming language that is used to operate your database. For all the databases, SQL is the basic language. Furthermore, there are minor differences in the syntax amongst different databases. SQL stands for Structured Query Language.

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According to ANSI (American National Standards Institute), SQL is the specific language for operating a relational database management system.

On the other hand, SQL is used to update, access, and manipulate data in a database. Its design allows for managing data in an RDBMS, such as MySQL. The SQL language is also used for controlling data access and modifying database schemas.

The benefits of using SQL are:

  • Faster Query Processing
  • No Coding Skills
  • Standardized Language
  • Portable
  • Interactive Language
  • Multiple data views

An Overview of MySQL

MySQL was developed in the mid-90s; at that time, it was one of the first open-source databases available on the market. But today, there are many alternative variants of MySQL. However, the differences between the variants are minor because they use the same syntax. 

MySQL is an RDBMS ( Relational Database Management System ) that allows organizing data in a database. MySQL is pronounced as “My S-Q-L,” but it is also called “My Sequel.” It is named after co-founder Michael Widenius’s daughter. MySQL provides multi-user access to databases. This RDBMS system is used with the combination of Apache Web Server and PHP on top of a Linux distribution. As a result, MySQL uses the SQL language to query the database.

The benefits of using MySQL are:

  • Comprehensive Workflow Control
  • On-demand flexibility and scalability
  • Eminent Performance
  • Open-source
  • Data Security
  • Complete Transactional Assistance

The Key Difference: SQL vs MySQL

Now, since you know the basic overview of both databases, let’s look at the key differences between SQL vs MySQL.

  • SQL is a query language. However, MYSQL is database software.
  • SQL is used to access, update, and manipulate data in a database, whereas MySQL is an RDBMS that keeps the data in a database organized.
  • SQL is a language used to operate your database, while MySQL was one of the first open-source databases available on the market.
  • SQL is a Structured Query Language, and MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) to store, retrieve, modify, and administer a database.
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Also, if you are interested in Python and SQL, then here is the difference between Python vs SQL

Key Difference Between SQL vs MySQL In Tabular Form

Difference between SQL vs MySQL what do you expect? In a nutshell, SQL is a Structured Query Language. On the other hand, MySQL is an open-source database product.

ParameterSQL MYSQL
DefinitionSQL is a Structured Query Language. It is useful to control relational databases.
MySQL is an RDBMS to modify, store, retrieve, and administrate a database using SQL.
TypeSQL is a query language.
MySQL is the database software.  
PurposeTo query and operate a database system.
Allows data handling, storing, modifying, and deleting in a tabular format.
It would be best to learn the SQL language to use it effectively.
Not very complex as SQL.
Support For Connector
SQL does not provide connectors.
MySQL offers a tool called ‘MySQL workbench’ to develop databases and design.
UpdatesThe language is fixed, and the command remains the same.Get frequent updates.
UsageSQL commands and codes are used in various DBMS and RDBMS systems, including MYSQL.
MYSQL is used as an RDBMS database.

SQL vs MySQL: Salary Expectation

The salary of a SQL developer

There is a wide range of salaries for SQL developers. They start from $55,000 up to $150,000 plus. In the United States, SQL developers can make up to $98,860 annually, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The role of a SQL developer is to create and maintain databases. Many companies employ them to maintain their databases and optimize their queries. The SQL developer is responsible for ensuring existing databases are functioning well, and the company analyzes their databases.

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The salary of a MySQL developer is:

A MySQL developer’s salary is $60,000, working in a small, diverse office. People who work hard and prove their worth can earn up to $90,000 a year working in a small-to-medium-sized company as a MySQL developer. On the other hand, the average salary of MySQL developers is $109,423, and they can expect to receive excellent benefits and bonuses! 

Google Trends: SQL vs MySQL

As you can see on this graph, SQL is marked as blue, and MySQL is marked as red. It shows the “ups and downs” of both search terms in the form of blue and red lines.


As per Google trends, this graph shows the data for the past five years worldwide. So, the popularity of SQL is higher than MySQL. But it does not mean that SQL is better than MySQL in databases. Both have their cons and pros over each other. If you want to know what database should you learn SQL vs MySQL then here’s a quick review of that.

Should I learn SQL vs MySQL?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re different! SQL is a programming language that you can use to run queries on data and manage databases. SQL is a widely used language. MySQL is a relational database management system that stores and retrieves data. Both of these tools are useful for store management and growing your business. 

While SQL has more tools to help with your query and organize data, MySQL is specifically used for storing and retrieving data. There are many career paths for people with SQL skills, which will be valuable for a long time. You must learn the standard query language or SQL to work on any database management system. Therefore, it is better first to learn the language and then understand the fundamentals of the RDBMS.


MySQL and SQL are two distinct databases, with a few differences in their work. However, both are open-source, meaning their code is free for anyone to look at and change. As a result, this is a powerful benefit for those who want to customize their database to their business needs. If you need an easy way to look at your data, it may be better to use SQL. It’s a more user-friendly database, and it’s great if you need a simple solution that doesn’t need special tweaks.

On the other hand, MySQL is best for a more customizable database. It may be a bit more complicated for a beginner, but it can grow with your needs as your business grows. That means it depends on your needs and what you want at that moment. 


Q1. Which is better MySQL or SQL?

It is totally difficult to say which is better between SQL vs MySQL. The server of SQL is more secure than MySQL. On the other hand, in SQL, no external data can be manipulated or accessed. In MySQL, one can easily modify and access the database files during runtime. 

Q2. Is SQL needed for MySQL?

No, SQL and MySQL are different relational database management systems that support different platforms and programming languages like C++, Python, PHP, etc.