Relational vs non-relational databases: What to choose for your project?

If you are not aware of the relational and non-relational database differences, we have got you covered. Today we want to break down the main pros and cons of both to help you discover the best solution for your particular project.

The database is not a crucial aspect of web development if you are making a simple website with limited functionality and interaction. If you are looking for a complex web project development, we believe that this article will help you get a clear understanding of what is a go-to solution for you.

What is the purpose of the database in web development?

To put it simply, when your website requires to gather and work with some data, even if it is only registration information, that is where the database becomes a required part of the project. The more complex your data, the more important database development becomes. For example, if you have an e-commerce platform your web application will require to process every line of the stored products and process the user interaction with them.

So, now we have discovered the importance of the database in web development, let’s take a look at the two types of them and discover the main pros and cons of both.

Cloud database

Relational or non-relational database: what to choose for your web development project?

Basically, you can store the data in a structured or document-like way. Depending on the way of the project requirements, it is a must to identify how the data should be kept.

Structured data means that it is organized into rows and columns. Which gives you an ability to keep it as a table or multiple with clear storage and organization, as a result.

Document-like is when you store all the related data to a single item in one single document. This means that you will have an array of documents with all types of structured data.

Relational Database: When to choose?

Generally, relational databases are implemented by using SQL – the Structured Query Language. If you are going to use such type of a database, it is a must to carefully develop the architecture of it before adding any data. In most of the cases, relational databases are the most expensive ones when it comes to a development process due to the general complexity of it, which makes it the main con of the relational ones.

Despite a complexity disadvantage, it is still the best choice for a database with well-structured data requirements for complex web development projects. In most of the cases, the SQL database is a go-to solution for e-commerce projects.

Examples of SQL databases: PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite 

Non-relational Database: When to choose?

Non-relational database or NoSQL work with semi-structured data, instead. In comparison to the relational database which can be represented as a table, it is more of a folder with different types of information. As a result, it can process any type of data without any architecture modifications. NoSQL databases are usually cheaper and have easier maintenance compared to SQL ones.

However, despite being an easier maintenance solution it still has its drawbacks too. Data administration can be complicated for such type of DB and will require some extra efforts and flexibility on processing. Still, it is a good solution when you have different types of data to be handled, like on social web platforms, for example.

Examples of NoSQL databases: MongoDB, DynamoDB, Redis


The choice between SQL and NoSQL database may seem difficult, but in general, it strictly depends on the type of data that is required to be processed for your project. If you work with well-structured, more or less constant data – an SQL database will be a better choice, while NoSQL can be a go-to solution in case of all available data as files storage requirements.

If you still not sure what is best for your particular project – get a free quote from an experienced development team.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Subscribe to us