The key differences between Firebase and MySQL:  

  1. Architecture: Firebase is a NoSQL database that stores and syncs data in real-time (a real-time document store); MySQL is an open-source relational database management system based on the domain-specific language SQL.  
  2. Data Handling: Firebase handles large data sets effectively; MySQL is a good choice for complex data.
  3. Language Support: MySQL supports more programming languages than Firebase, including Ada, C++, Python, and others.
  4. Price: Firebase has free and paid-for versions; MySQL is open-source and free. 
  5. Reviews: Firebase has a customer review score of 4.5/5 on the website G2. MySQL has a lower customer review score (4.4). 

SQL or NoSQL? That is the question. Successful companies need a reliable, robust database. However, with so many technologies on the market, you probably don't know where to start. Firebase and MySQL are two database technologies built very differently. Firebase is a NoSQL database; MySQL, as the name suggests, is a SQL database. 

So which should you choose? We compare Firebase vs. MySQL in this comprehensive review. Learn more about features, user scores, pros, cons, and more below.

Recommended Reading: SQL vs. NoSQL: 5 Critical Differences

Table of Contents

  1. Features Table
  2. What is Firebase?
  3. What is MySQL?
  4. Firebase and MySQL Differences
  5. Support and Training 
  6. Pricing
  7. Conclusion

Firebase vs. MySQL: Features Table

Firebase

MySQL

User scores on G2.com

4.5/5

4.4

Price

From $24.99 per month (free version available)

Free (open-source)

Free trial

No

N/A

Developed by

Google

Oracle

Languages

Java, JavaScript, Objective-C

Ada, C, C#, C++, Delphi, Java, PHP, Python, and more

APIs

Android, iOS, JavaScript, RESTful HTTP

ADO, JDBC, ODBC

Skill level 

Intermediate

Intermediate 

What is Firebase?

Firebase Realtime Database (Firebase) is a cloud-based NoSQL database that syncs and stores data between users in real-time. Users collaborate across various devices and create serverless apps. Developed by Google and launched in 2017, Firebase quickly syncs data via Android, iOS, and JavaScript SDKs, allowing for expressive queries that scale with the size of the result set. Users who don't require real-time data syncs might still benefit from the one-time reads feature.

What is MySQL?

Developed by Oracle, MySQL is the world's most popular open-source database. It works with the following server operating systems: FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, Solaris, and Windows. It is a relational database management system (RDMS) based on the domain-specific programming language Structured Query Language (SQL). Unlike Firebase, MySQL is an open-source database. Users can deploy MySQL in the cloud or on-premises.

As a RDMS, MySQL classifies data into various tables based on related data types. Programmers use SQL to transform and extract the data from the RDMS. When implemented into an operating system, MySQL manages users, network access, and other components of a computer storage system. 

Customer Story
Customer Story
Keith connected multiple data sources with Amazon Redshift to transform, organize and analyze their customer data.
MongoDB MongoDB
Amazon Redshift Amazon Redshift
David Schuman
Dave Schuman
CTO and Co-Founder at Raise.me
They really have provided an interface to this world of data transformation that works. It’s intuitive, it’s easy to deal with [...] and when it gets a little too confusing for us, [Xplenty’s customer support team] will work for an entire day sometimes on just trying to help us solve our problem, and they never give up until it’s solved.
TRUSTED BY COMPANIES WORLDWIDE

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Firebase and MySQL Differences

There are various differences between Firebase and MySQL:

  • Firebase uses NoSQL; MySQL uses SQL.
  • Firebase is horizontally scalable; MySQL is vertically scalable. 
  • Firebase uses key-value, wide-column, graph, or document stores; MySQL is table-based. Firebase has dynamic schemas to facilitate unstructured data; MySQL has predefined schemas. 

In the end, it comes down to how you organization manages data. MySQL's predefined schemas determine the structure of data before you use it, which can be restrictive. But MySQL also makes defining and manipulating complex data a simple and worthwhile process. It’s also better than Firebase for multi-row transactions. Conversely, Firebase can be a good choice for large data sets because NoSQL scales data horizontally, and it is faster than MySQL by some margin.

Recommended Reading: What is NoSQL?

Support and Training 

Firebase

  • An online community
  • Learning pathways/tutorials 
  • Blog
  • Firebase Summit (annual event)
  • Meetups
  • Podcast
  • Firebase Alpha Program (for early access to Firebase products)

MySQL

  • MySQL Developer Zone (documentation/server manuals/tutorials/articles)
  • Forums
  • Mailing lists
  • Bugs database
  • Training and certifications
  • Consulting services

Customer Story
Customer Story
Keith connected multiple data sources with Amazon Redshift to transform, organize and analyze their customer data.
Amazon Redshift Amazon Redshift
David Schuman
Keith Slater
Senior Developer at Creative Anvil
Before we started with Xplenty, we were trying to move data from many different data sources into Redshift. Xplenty has helped us do that quickly and easily. The best feature of the platform is having the ability to manipulate data as needed without the process being overly complex. Also, the support is great - they’re always responsive and willing to help.
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Pricing

Firebase

Firebase has a complicated pricing system. There's a free tier with limited features (the Spark plan) and a pay-as-you-go tier (the Blaze plan). In the simplest terms: 

  • The Spark plan is free.
  • The Blaze plan starts from around $24.99 per month.

MySQL

  • As an open-source platform, MySQL is free. 

Conclusion

Firebase and MySQL are two databases that arrive at the same destination, bu take different routes to get there. As a cloud-based NoSQL database, Firebase handles large data sets effectively. As an open-source RDMS, MySQL is more than capable of taming complex data. Ultimately, MySQL is the cheaper of the two and offers more language support, and Xplenty's data integration platform optimizes the entire integration process, with no code required.

If you're looking for a powerful ETL solution to benefit your organization, schedule a demo with our customer support team and experience the Xplenty platform for yourself.