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2021’s Most Popular Databases

What was the most popular database in 2021? And what do you need to know to use it? If you’re learning SQL, you’re in luck. This year’s most popular database uses SQL. But the list doesn’t end there. Read our article and find out the 5 most popular databases this year.

My list was based on the latest research of one of the most important platforms in the IT world: Stack Overflow. Their annual survey reflects market trends and the behavior of both everyday users and professional developers.

Read the whole article and you’ll get a little bonus at the end!

Most Popular Databases in 2021

Another year, another Stack Overflow Survey, welcome as always. This annual survey allows you to peek inside the coding community. With this information, you can learn about the attitudes, tools, and environments that shape contemporary software.

Why do we trust the Stack Overflow Survey? It’s been done for years now, and they take great care to provide important information. Moreover, it’s constantly being improved. In 2021, the survey was based on answers given by 83,439 developers from 181 countries. It's fair to say that this is a truly global study.

2021’s Most Popular Technologies

Let’s start with a look at technology in general. In programming, web programming is still king. JavaScript is the most popular language, with 64.96% indicating they know/use it. Right behind it is HTML/CSS, with 56.07 percent. Then we have Python (48.24%) and SQL(47.08%) rounding out the four most popular languages.

2021’s Most Popular Databases

Source: Stack Overflow Survey

An increasing number of people are turning to Python, but almost half of the respondents chose SQL as one of the most popular technologies. Can you blame them? It’s the best choice when it comes to data management, engineering, and reporting. It’s no coincidence that the standard language for relational databases is so highly valued by professionals.

If you still are on the fence about learning a programming language, give SQL a go. It’s not that difficult, and learning SQL can be helpful in a variety of jobs. Read all about it here. You can thank us later. ;)

But, what about specific database technologies?  Stack Overflow has the sweet data on that as well.

Best Database Technologies in 2021

Well, well, well. I see a few familiar faces. If you read The Most Popular Databases in 2020, you’ll remember the names. This year, the podium belongs to MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite. The big difference in 2021? SQLite took third place!

2021’s Most Popular Databases

Source: Stack Overflow Survey

Here’s the ranking:

1. MySQL

2021’s Most Popular Databases

Déjà vu? A bit. But it’s still no surprise. MySQL offers an efficient set of features. It’s the top choice for small and very large companies, and everyone in between. Why? There are a few factors.

MySQL doesn't strain the average desktop system, but it can still quickly retrieve data. It’s easy to install. And the MySQL community is very responsive. This means you can get in touch with other professionals very easily. As it is a free and open solution, many community members join forces to improve the solution.

However, looking at the numbers above, MySQL lost a bit of popularity. That's not the case for PostgreSQL.


2021’s Most Popular Databases

PostgreSQL is open-source, free to use, and community-driven. What’s more it’s filled with useful features and is very extensible.

If we take a look at the “Loved vs. Dreaded” and “Wanted” sections of the Stack Overflow report, you can see why this is a popular database. 70% of respondents love it. 18% of developers expressed their interest in developing it. And, of course, many tech leaders use PostgreSQL.

Perhaps you want to join in and help develop this awesome tool. With a bit of practice, you can! Just take some time to learn SQL as your first step. Being a part of such an amazingly helpful community is pure awesomeness. Read this article to find out more.

3. SQLite

2021’s Most Popular Databases

Look who's moving up in the world: SQLite. It’s open-source, free to use, and the choice of many mobile app developers. This might explain why it’s gaining popularity year by year. Moreover, this lightweight solution (Oh, I get the name now! I see what they did there) can run almost anything that supports C.

An SQLite database is made up of plain files, making it highly portable. It’s simpler to set up. The list of benefits goes on and on. In brief, SQLite is best for jobs that combine SQL queries and the ability to store data. If this got your attention, you should know that you will be able to write top-notch queries after you complete our SQL A to Z track.

Do you know how to work with SQLite and just need a little help with specific problems? Check out our SQLite cookbooks. Go ahead and copy the SQL queries, alter them, and use them in your projects. You're welcome!

4. MongoDB

2021’s Most Popular Databases

Coming in at fourth place, it’s MongoDB! This is the only one in the top five that doesn’t work with relational databases. It’s based on NoSQL, a type of database that was developed in the mid-2000s. It’s a document-oriented solution that’s normally used for high-volume data storage.

With MongoDB, queries can be made to return certain files within documents. But it’s not always easy to use, apparently; in the Stack Overflow survey, 40% dreaded working with MongoDB again. Is it that scary? Hard to say.

5. Microsoft SQL Server

2021’s Most Popular Databases

This one is a bit of a surprise: It dropped from third place into fifth.

An over 30-year-old industry standard that’s compatible with other Microsoft products, SQL Server has been the choice of many companies. This of course means that many database administrators and developers have some experience with it. It also means that many SQL Server jobs are available. As to why it’s a good idea to learn SQL Server, check out Jakub’s article.

2021 Popular Databases: BONUS ROUND!

Look at you – you’ve reached the end of this article. As promised, here’s a small bonus from the survey. If you got this far, this means you are thinking about data seriously. Maybe you’re even ready to learn SQL. As we can see from the survey, 40% of professionals learn from online courses or certifications; 59% learn from other online resources.

2021’s Most Popular Databases

Whether it's data science, data engineering, data management, or data analysis, has got you covered. Even if you’ve never coded before, you can start today. And in just a few minutes, you’ll be writing your first query.

If you are interested in databases, you should read this blog often. It is a huge source of knowledge. Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any articles!

Well, those were the most popular databases in 2021. In a year's time, we'll look at the responses from the pros in the Stack Overflow Survey – and I'm sure the relational database language of SQL will rule again! And you will have a whole set of skills to use one of the top database technologies.