MySQL vs. MariaDB¶
MySQL is seen as the standard web application database. MySQL AB has started the project in 1995. In 1998, Sun Microsystems bought the company.
Since MySQL has been taken over by Sun Microsystems (itself later bought by Oracle), its development has slowed down. Bugfixes have been taking a long time and the quality of the documentation has dropped. The future of MySQL is not clear, as it competes with Oracle's own database solution.
The original MySQL developer have started a fork (derived project) called MariaDB. Community members, as well as large vendors, contribute to its development. They also incorporate improvements from another MySQL fork, Percona Server. Bugs are resolved quickly and transparently.
MariaDB is fully binary-compatible with MySQL. Not only it benefits from added features, but it is also faster. Large companies, including Wikipedia, Red Hat and Google (who also actively contributes development) have switched over to it.
Starting with MariaDB 10 the difference in performance is even larger. This version has introduced new backwards-compatible storage engines: Aria as MyISAM replacement with table recovery on crash and XtraDB (originally from Percona Server) as faster InnoDB alternative. Other features include Cassandra NoSQL engine, Galera Cluster replication technology, encryption and user roles (similar to PostgreSQL).
MariaDB is, unlike MySQL, not dual-licenced. Features only available in commercial MySQL editions MariaDB offers for free.
You can find more information at the official website:
We recommend using MariaDB instead of MySQL especially in case of large projects, where perfomace optimization is paramount.