The Most Popular Databases 2019

We’ve looked at the Most Popular Programming Languages for 2019 and Which Frameworks are used most? based on the Stack Overflow Annual Developer Survey 2019. We’re now investigating the world of Databases –  from which are the most popular to which are most loved, dreaded and wanted – and how the database market has changed over the last year.

Increasing demand for processing huge quantities of data has led to databases being more critical for companies than ever. The advent of AI, machine and deep learning, GDPR regulation and data governance have put data at the top of most companies priority list.

The typical DBA role has therefore started to evolve into that of a data professional and even data scientist especially as the volume of data requiring manipulation increases daily with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).  We are also starting to see the shift from centralised big data to new categories of database that can work with data increasingly coming from mobile and IoT devices such as SQLite.

Security for data especially in the cloud has become vital as DBAs are increasingly having to tackle cybersecurity issues as online storage grows and data attacks occur more frequently.

It isn’t all adding to the DBA workload however and improvements in DevOps and Containers are thankfully spreading the workload to other teams now especially where embedded databases in containerised microservices can provide better performance.

Why is MySQL still at the top?

It’s the database that is used most by web developers and it’s free for non-commercial users.  It is great for companies that are on a budget, want lots of functionality, a good range of interfaces and need something reliable yet flexible enough to work with other databases.


PostgreSQL increased in popularity 62% last year and by 3% this year to firmly cement its no. 2 position in the database rankings.  It is a firm favourite for web databases and companies with small budgets who want to choose their own interface and use JSON. 

It is free and has great features including easy data portability, management of structured and unstructured data, multiple interfaces and can be used on most major platforms and environments.  It is easily scalable and can deal with terabytes of data whilst providing a high level of performance and therefore it is likely that its popularity will increase even further over the next few years.  Whether it can take the number one spot next year is debatable but users love it or are keen to use it, dread it less than MySQL and the choice between Oracle and Open Source is often an easy one to make.

SQL Server

This database management engine is fast and stable, available on both Linux and Windows platforms and can work on cloud-based servers and local servers simultaneously.  It’s owned by Microsoft and is ideal for companies that work with a range of Microsoft products as it works well with many of them.  It’s market share increased fast because Microsoft pushed SQL Server with their Windows Servers and also included AI over Azure.

SQL Server also has some great features including visualisations on mobiles and the ability to change and track performance levels which can potentially save time and money


This has leapt by 10% in popularity this year which is probably no surprise as it is easy to use, portable and integrates directly with applications.  It is a serverless self-contained database engine and is great for development and testing so if you want a ‘lite’ solution for applications and just want something small scale then it is great.  If you need a powerful database that can cope with much higher loads then MySQL is much better suited to your needs

Databases to watch


Redis is slowly gaining in popularity and it seems that those who use it love it and many want to start using it.  It is an open source NoSQL data structure server/key-value store that is relatively new in the database world having been first released in 2009 but is quickly gaining market share now.  It has increased 36% in popularity over the last year and is loved by its users according to Stack Overflow.

It is typically used for session (cache) management and messaging queues as it gives a structured way to store data in memory that is much faster than its competitors.  It is especially useful for microservice architectures with scalable cloud hosting, data that doesn’t need long term persistence and the ability to communicate across platform, cross server or across application


MongoDB is a free database that is more of a document store rather than an RDBMS, although it works well where data isn’t relational and some of its competitors struggle.  It is fairly static as far as popularity goes although there seem to be a few more users loving it this year.

It is fast and easy to use, supports JSON and NoSQL documents and the schema can be written without downtime.  It is designed to be highly versatile due to its large selection of drivers that connect to any programming language.  It can also be used for applications that use structured and unstructured data.  

Is Stack Overflow right?

Not necessarily!  They take their data from a survey while DB-Engines Rankinguses a completely different methodology using a number of factors such as website and social mentions which ranks Oracle as the main player for the last 6 years (MySQL?) – or does their methodology pick up Marketing campaign spend more? 

Special Thanks to  Explore Group  For this post

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