MySQL vs MariaDB: What Should You Use for WordPress?

mysql vs mariadb WordPress

When setting up a WordPress website, choosing the right database management system is crucial for optimal performance and reliability. Two popular options that often come into consideration are MySQL and MariaDB. Both are open-source relational database systems, and they share a common history, but they have subtle differences that might influence your decision. Most web hosting providers offer MySQL as the default database management system for WordPress, but you can also consider using MariaDB. In this blog post, we will explore what MySQL and MariaDB are, their advantages, and compare them to determine which one is better suited for WordPress.

What is MySQL and What are the Advantages of MySQL?

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MySQL is a widely used open-source relational database management system. It has been around since the mid-1990s and has established itself as a standard in the web hosting industry. Some key advantages of MySQL include:

Proven Stability: MySQL has a long track record of stability and reliability, making it a trusted choice for large-scale applications and mission-critical systems.

Robust Community and Support: MySQL has a massive user community, which means there are plenty of resources, documentation, and support available for troubleshooting and learning.

Compatibility: Many web applications, including WordPress, have been built to work seamlessly with MySQL, ensuring easy integration and smooth operations.

Performance: MySQL is known for its efficient handling of read-heavy workloads, making it well-suited for websites with high traffic.

What is MariaDB and What are the Advantages of MariaDB?

MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, created by the original developers of MySQL due to concerns about the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle Corporation. It is fully compatible with MySQL but also includes some additional features. Some advantages of MariaDB are:

Enhanced Performance: MariaDB boasts several performance improvements over MySQL, including better query optimization and more efficient storage engines.

Active Development: MariaDB is under active development with regular updates and improvements, ensuring that the database system stays current with the latest technological advancements.

Security: MariaDB includes additional security enhancements, making it a robust choice for applications that prioritize data protection.

Open-Source Commitment: MariaDB remains true to its open-source roots and is governed by the MariaDB Foundation, providing a strong guarantee for its future availability.

How Does MariaDB Compare to MySQL?

Since MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, the two database systems share many similarities. Both use the same command-line tools, APIs, and connectors, making it relatively easy to switch between them. However, some key differences set them apart:

Storage Engines: MariaDB includes additional storage engines like Aria, XtraDB (a drop-in replacement for InnoDB), and ColumnStore. These engines offer specific optimizations and features not found in standard MySQL.

Performance Improvements: MariaDB has shown improved performance in some benchmarks compared to MySQL, mainly due to its more advanced query optimizer and better thread pool implementation.

Community Support: While MySQL has a larger and more established community, MariaDB’s community is growing rapidly, and it benefits from the contributions of both MySQL’s original community and new members.

MariaDB vs MySQL: Which One is Better?

Determining which database system is better depends on your specific needs and requirements. If you prioritize stability, compatibility, and an extensive support network, MySQL might be the safer choice. On the other hand, if you seek enhanced performance, improved security features, and a more actively developed system, MariaDB could be the better fit.

What Should You Use for WordPress?

For most WordPress users, either MySQL or MariaDB will work just fine. Since MariaDB is fully compatible with MySQL, switching from one to the other is relatively straightforward. If you are starting a new WordPress project, consider giving MariaDB a try, as it brings additional performance enhancements and security features. However, if you have an existing WordPress site running on MySQL and it’s performing well, there may be no urgent need to switch.

How To Change Databases From MySQL To MariaDB

Migrating your databases from MySQL to MariaDB is a relatively straightforward process, as MariaDB is designed to be fully compatible with MySQL. However, it’s essential to take some precautions and backup your data before proceeding with the migration. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change databases from MySQL to MariaDB:

Note: Before proceeding, make sure you have a recent backup of your MySQL databases. This will allow you to restore your data in case of any issues during the migration.

Step 1: Install MariaDB:

If you don’t have MariaDB installed on your server, you’ll need to install it first. The process varies depending on your operating system and distribution. Here are some common commands to install MariaDB on different systems:

For Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install mariadb-server

For CentOS/RHEL:

sudo yum install mariadb-server
sudo systemctl start mariadb
sudo systemctl enable mariadb

Step 2: Stop MySQL Service:

Before starting the migration, stop the MySQL service to avoid any conflicts during the process. The command to stop MySQL service varies based on your operating system. For example:

For Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo systemctl stop mysql

For CentOS/RHEL:

sudo systemctl stop mysqld

Step 3: Export MySQL Databases:

Next, you’ll need to export your MySQL databases using the mysqldump command. Open a terminal and run the following command for each database you want to migrate:

mysqldump -u [username] -p [database_name] > [database_name].sql

Replace [username] with your MySQL username and [database_name] with the name of the database you want to export. The command will prompt you to enter your MySQL password.

Step 4: Create MariaDB Databases:

Now, create the corresponding databases in MariaDB. Open the MariaDB client using the following command:

mysql -u [username] -p

Replace [username] with your MariaDB username, and it will prompt you to enter the password.

Once you’re inside the MariaDB client, create the databases:

CREATE DATABASE [database_name];

Exit the MariaDB client by typing exit.

Step 5: Import Data into MariaDB:

With the databases created, it’s time to import the data from the MySQL dump files into MariaDB. Open a terminal and run the following command for each database:

mysql -u [username] -p [database_name] < [database_name].sql

Replace [username] with your MariaDB username and [database_name] with the name of the corresponding database.

Step 6: Update WordPress Configuration:

If you’re using WordPress, you need to update the wp-config.php file to reflect the changes to the database. Open the file in a text editor and locate the following lines:

define('DB_NAME', 'your_mysql_database_name');
define('DB_USER', 'your_mysql_username');
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'your_mysql_password');

Update these lines with the new MariaDB database name, username, and password:

Save the changes and close the file.

Step 7: Restart MariaDB:

Finally, restart the MariaDB service to apply the changes:

For Ubuntu/Debian:

sudo systemctl restart mariadb

For CentOS/RHEL:

sudo systemctl restart mariadb

That’s it! Your databases should now be successfully migrated from MySQL to MariaDB. Make sure to test your website and applications thoroughly to ensure everything is working correctly. If you encounter any issues, you can always revert to your backup and troubleshoot the migration process accordingly.


Both MySQL and MariaDB are excellent choices for hosting a WordPress website. They share many similarities, but MariaDB offers some notable improvements, especially in terms of performance and security. When making your decision, consider your project’s specific requirements, compatibility with other applications, and the expertise of your development team. In the end, the choice between MySQL and MariaDB will largely depend on what works best for your WordPress site’s unique needs.

Deepanker Verma is an experienced WordPress developer who has been working on WordPress for more than 12 years. On TheWPGuides, he writes about WordPress, WordPress development, and WordPress plugins.

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