What’s the Difference Between MariaDB and PostgreSQL?

What’s the Difference Between MariaDB and PostgreSQL?

MariaDB and PostgreSQL are open-source relational databases that store data in a tabular format. MariaDB is a modified version of MySQL, and it was made by MySQL’s original development team. PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system that offers more features than MariaDB. PostgreSQL offers materialized views and partial indexing for faster read performance. However, MariaDB offers greater flexibility and fault tolerance at scale.

What are the similarities between MariaDB and PostgreSQL?

Both MariaDB and PostgreSQL are mature, open-source database systems that offer high availability, concurrency, and consistency in data storage. Here are some specific similarities between the two.

Data model

MariaDB and PostgreSQL are relational database systems that store data in a tabular format as rows and columns. They both support primary and foreign keys and a range of data types and formats. Each offers robust data modeling and relationship construction between different information tables. Both MariaDB and PostgreSQL use indexing to support query performance, so you can rapidly query in an optimized way.


MariaDB and PostgreSQL have several mechanisms to extend their functionality. For example, developers can use both systems to create custom functions in various programming languages. You can use these user-defined functions (UDFs) to perform specialized operations.

You can also use stored procedures and triggers to run set actions when you meet certain conditions. For instance, you can use them to enforce data integrity depending on specific events in the storage environment.

Language and syntax

As relational database management systems, MariaDB and PostgreSQL use SQL as their standard language. Across both of these systems, you could use most of the same SQL commands and achieve the same outcome.

They both support advanced SQL features like window functions and common table expressions. You can create views of smaller data subsets that you can take from multiple tables. These additional features increase the ability of these systems to make complex queries.

Architectural differences: MariaDB vs. PostgreSQL

Although MariaDB and PostgreSQL have some similarities, they also have several key differences that set them apart.

Data types

MariaDB provides an extensive range of data types, including integers, floats, strings, and dates. Alongside this, MariaDB supports ENUM, SET, and spatial data, as well as a LONGTEXT column that helps to store unstructured data.

The PostgreSQL database also offers an extensive selection of data types, including floating-point numbers, integers, strings, dates, arrays, and Booleans. PostgreSQL also supports Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs), JSON, and JSONB for unstructured data.

Indexing and partial indexes

Due to MariaDB’s columnar storage and concurrent processing, it can query a large volume or rows without needing indexes. However, it does support B-tree indexing by default. It has four main indexes: primary keys, unique indexes, plain indexes, and full-text indexes. 

PostgreSQL offers more extensive indexing options such as B-tree, Generalized Search Tree (GiST), space-partitioned GiST (Sp-GiST), Block Range Index (BRIN), Generalized Inverted Index (GIN), and hash indexes. Beyond those, it also provides partial indexes and supports mutual inclusive indexing, so you can use multiple indexes simultaneously. 


MariaDB supports asynchronous replication using the MariaDB replication protocol. It maintains data copies on primary and secondary databases. After changes occur, the primary database system asynchronously logs changes to the replica databases. MariaDB also allows multiple primary databases to replicate to a singular replica database, helping to improve data consolidation.

PostgreSQL uses both asynchronous and synchronous replication. Asynchronous replication logs changes from primary databases to replica databases. Synchronous replication commits changes from the primary database system to secondary databases. This process occurs before the transaction completes, which helps to boost data consistency and integrity. 

Columnar storage

In row-oriented data storage, data blocks store values sequentially for each consecutive column making up the entire row. In column-oriented, or columnar, storage, each data block stores values of a single column for multiple rows.

While MariaDB doesn’t support columnar storage in its core, there are storage engines that support this feature within MariaDB. From update 10.5.4, you can use storage engines like ColumnStore that support columnar storage for the MariaDB Server. 

PostgreSQL offers columnar storage through an open-source extension called cstore_fdw.

Performance: MariaDB vs. PostgreSQL

MariaDB and PostgreSQL offer different performance benefits depending on the use case.


Both MariaDB and PostgreSQL have advanced query optimizers that aim to run queries efficiently. Speed varies depending on the complexity of the query, the availability of relevant indexes, and the effectiveness of the optimizer's query plan selection.

In some performance benchmarking tests, PostgreSQL outperformed MariaDB by several percentage points.

However, MariaDB uses a cost-based optimizer (CBO) in newer versions, which can lead to improved query planning and faster data access.


MariaDB offers more options for vertical scalability, where you increase infrastructure capacity as workload increases. It has pluggable storage engines, such as InnoDB and ColumnStore, that can take advantage of hardware enhancements to improve performance and scalability. MariaDB also offers the Spider storage engine for sharding and horizontal partitioning of data across multiple servers.

PostgreSQL offers more options for horizontal scalability, where you distribute data over multiple nodes to improve performance. It provides various replication methods, including streaming and logical replication alongside logical sharding through table partitioning.

Data typing

MariaDB offers a very flexible approach to data typing. You can automatically correct the data type to match the destination. You can create additional rules, such as whether the system accepts the data instantly or triggers an alert. If you are using many different types of data input, the flexibility MariaDB offers is useful.

PostgreSQL does not offer the same degree of flexibility. It has strict data integrity checks in place. If data does not match the destination type, the system shows an error and prevents you from inserting that data. 

When to use: MariaDB vs. PostgreSQL

MariaDB is useful if you want more flexibility. It offers a number of effective storage engines, so you can adapt the database system to your needs. If you want transaction support, columnar storage, or high throughput, you can customize your system to do it all.

PostgreSQL is the better choice if you want advanced data modeling. You can support complex data types, define custom data types, create extensions, and focus on specialized data requirements. Its indexing capabilities also give better performance at scale for analytics workloads. It is well suited to applications that need stability, responsiveness, and reliability.

Summary of differences: MariaDB vs. PostgreSQL




Data types

Range of data types including LONGTEXT for unstructured data.

Range of data types including JSON data and UUIDs for unstructured data.


Has B-tree indexes and four other indexing types.

Has a large selection of indexes and also offers partial index options. 


Asynchronous, semi-synchronous, and delayed replication.

Several replication methods such as asynchronous, synchronous, parallel, streaming, and cascading. 

Columnar storage

Offers ColumnStore from 10.5.4 that allows columnar storage.

Does not have columnar storage in its engine, but you can install cstore_fdw.


Cost-based optimizer in newer versions leads to improved query planning and performance.

Has demonstrated faster read and write performance in third-party benchmarking tests.


More options for vertical scaling.

More options for horizontal scaling.

Data typing

MariaDB offers flexibility with advanced features for matching data types.

PostgreSQL is stricter when it comes to data typing.

How can AWS help with your MariaDB and PostgreSQL requirements?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has many offerings that can support your work with MariaDB and PostgreSQL.

Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) is a collection of managed services that makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale relational databases in the cloud. Choose from seven popular engines, two of which are dedicated to PostgreSQL and MariaDB.

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for PostgreSQL supports PostgreSQL versions 9.6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. Similarly, Amazon RDS for Maria DB supports MariaDB Server versions 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6.

Here are ways you can use Amazon RDS right away:

  • Deploy production-ready PostgreSQL and MariaDB databases with cost-efficient and resizable hardware capacity in minutes
  • Reuse code, applications, and tools related to your existing databases
  • View critical operational metrics like compute, memory, and storage capacity utilization

Amazon Aurora

Additionally, Amazon Aurora is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that provides the following features:

  • built-in security
  • continuous backups
  • serverless computing
  • up to 15 read replicas
  • automated multi-Region replication
  • integration with other AWS services

Aurora combines the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open-source databases. You can easily migrate your MariaDB and PostgreSQL workloads to Aurora to experience three times the throughput of your current setup.

Get started with PostgreSQL and MariaDB on AWS by creating an account today.

Next Steps with AWS

Start building with PostgreSQL

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Start building with MariaDB

Learn how to get started with MariaDB on AWS

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