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PostgreSQL vs Oracle – What’s the Difference? Which Should I Use?

This article will explain the differences between PostgreSQL and Oracle Database, and help you to decide which you should use in your project (The answer is PostgreSQL).

Choosing the right database for your application, whether it’s a webapp, mobile app, or desktop application is vital. Changing database backend mid-development could be a costly (in both your time or money) and frustrating experience.

Trying to decide between other databases like MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, SQLite and MSSQL? Check out our other guide here.

Oracle Database

Oracle Database, otherwise known as Oracle DBMS, is a commercial relational database system produced by Oracle Corporation. Being a commercial product, it costs money. Oracle Database is geared toward storing large amounts of data in a traditional table structure (tables and columns), providing high transaction speed and high data redundancy. Because of this it is used in mission-critical environments like financial services, and in websites that most query huge amounts of data in short time, such as eBay.

You’re most likely going to want to use Oracle if you are an established business with big data requirements, and high uptime and reliability needs that can be met by a commercial entity with paid-for customer support to help you resolve issues.


PostgreSQL is a free and open source relational database management system (RDBMS). More specifically, it is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS). An ORDBMS behaves much like a traditional RDBMS – storing data in tables and columns – but adds support for objects, classes, and inheritance, and more complex relationships.

If you’re learning SQL, building an app or an API, analyzing and storing data – or really building anything that needs to store structured data, PostgreSQL is a great choice for your database. It’s used by students, data scientists, garage developers, small companies, big companies – pretty much everyone. It has fast become one of the most popular database servers. PostgreSQL is low cost and scalable, so you can start small and develop using PostgreSQL on your laptop, and then move to online hosting from small-scale to distributed, high availability options.

PostgreSQL is incredibly popular and well supported through its online community. Paid support is also available for a small fee from a variety of vendors. Integrations exist for all popular programming languages and frameworks, including PHP, Python, and JavaScript.

So Which Should I Use? PostgreSQL or Oracle?

Both Oracle Database and PostgreSQL run on Linux.

Simple answer – if you’re having to ask the question, PostgreSQL is probably the database solution to choose of the two. Unless you are a large company looking to implement a really, really big system, Oracle is probably overkill (and too expensive). PostgreSQL is a free, scalable database that can act as the backend for any project, small or large, so there’s room to grow.

If you get to the point where you need (and can afford) Oracle Database, I can only congratulate you on your success.

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I'm Brad, and I'm nearing 20 years of experience with Linux. I've worked in just about every IT role there is before taking the leap into software development. Currently, I'm building desktop and web-based solutions with NodeJS and PHP hosted on Linux infrastructure. Visit my blog or find me on Twitter to see what I'm up to.

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