Navicat Blog

What Is SQLite and How Does It Differ from MySQL? Nov 2, 2021 by Robert Gravelle

SQLite and MySQL are equally popular open source Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS). Both are fast, cross-platform, robust, and feature-rich. Yet, beyond these similarities, the two databases are dissimilar in several important respects. Since you are probably more familiar with MySQL, this tutorial will list SQLite's most important features, as well as dissimilitudes to MySQL, all with the goal of steering you towards the product that will best suit your needs.

Storage and Portability

SQLite was designed and built with storage and portability in mind. This is apparent when viewing it's main design features:

  • Built with the C language.
  • Implements an embedded, server-less, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine.
  • Does not have a separate server process (unlike most other SQL databases).
  • SQLite reads and writes directly to ordinary disk files.
  • All tables, indices, triggers, and views, are contained within a single disk file.
  • The database file format is cross-platform and may be copied between 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

The SQLite library is about 250 KB in size, while the MySQL server is about 600 MB. Moreover, no configurations are required, and the process can be done using minimal support.

Before copying or exporting a MySQL database, you need to condense it into a single file. For larger databases, this can be a time-consuming process.

Security and Ease of Setup

As alluded to in the previous section, SQLite requires little to no configuration, making it extremely easy to set up. On the other hand, MySQL requires significantly more configuration as compared to SQLite. As the same time, MySQL also has more setup guides available to help with this.

SQLite does not have an inbuilt authentication mechanism. Hence, the database files can be accessed by anyone. Meanwhile, MySQL comes with many inbuilt security features. This includes authentication with a username, password, and connection over SSH.

Multiple Access and Scalability

SQLite does not include user management functionality and so, it is not suitable for multiple user access. MySQL has a fine-grained user management system which can handle multiple users and grant various levels of access.

In terms of scalability, SQLite is well suited to for smaller databases. As the database grows the memory requirement also increases, SQLite's performance will degrade. Adding to this issue is that performance optimization is more difficult to achieve when using SQLite. On the other hand, MySQL is easily scalable and can handle very large databases, including tables with billions of rows!

Database Administration

The are a number of free and commercial grade graphical database administration tools for both SQLite and MySQL. For SQLite, there's SQLite Administrator. It helps you to create, design and administrate SQLite database files. The SQL code editor helps you to quickly write SQL queries and includes features such as code completion and highlighting.

MySQL's free graphical administration tool is MySQL Workbench. It's a unified visual tool for database architects, developers, and DBAs. MySQL Workbench provides data modeling, SQL development, and comprehensive administration tools for server configuration, user administration, backup, and more. MySQL Workbench is available on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

For more professional applications, there's Navicat for SQLite, Navicat for MySQL, or Navicat Premium. Navicat's powerful and comprehensive GUI provides a complete set of functions for database management and development. Helping you optimize your workflow and productivity, you can quickly and securely create, organize, access, and share information.


SQLite is an effective solution for developing small standalone apps and for smaller projects which do not require much scalability. Meanwhile, MySQL is the superior option when you require access for multiple users with strong security and authentication, as well as for larger datasets.

Navicat Blogs
Feed Entries
Blog Archives